Explore Lake Tahoe - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Lake Tahoe Map
1 day ago

Great trail for any visit to Tahoe. Beautiful lake views through the trees and some beaches along the way.

Beautiful hike. We went during the week, and the trails were nearly clear. Mild to moderate intensity, but amazing views. Saw a lot of wildlife Just past Emerald Bay. We plan on coming back to hike the rest of the lake.

2 days ago

Since it is still early in the season, Vikingsholm is not yet open for tours. So for those who want to extend their visit to this part of lakefront Lake Tahoe, I would recommend this 1 mile out-and-back trek. Even though the Rubicon trail extends for miles in either direction, you don’t need to hike the whole thing to give yourself a different vista from where all the tourists gather. You can leave the crowds behind the well-paved section and breathe some hiking bliss into your system for not a whole lot of additional time or effort. The terrain is flat, and would have been categorized as an easy hike if not for some parts of the single track that you hike on are still slippery with snow (as of 4/22). But the views are so worth it. We got good weather so the aquamarine hues really showed through the clear lake water.

Awesome views of the lake on the whole trail. Leads down to a beach.

Spent Black Friday doing this hike with very little other hikers. We encountered quite a bit more snow than we expected and should have brought snowshoes, so word to the wise, the snow is very deep in November. Nicely marked trail, beautiful views of Marlette Lake. Pack a lunch and enjoy the little peninsula that stretches out into the lake.

Nice easy hike, as with all hikes in this area it can get busy on weekends and during the summer. Don’t be surprised to see people hiking in flip flops. You do walk over large boulders so finding the trail in this section can be a little tricky, especially if there’s snow on the ground. Beautiful view of Cascade Lake and side view of Cascade Falls.

13 days ago

Did this trail starting at Emerald Bay above Vikingsholm. Ample parking available ($5) fee if starting from this lot; an 0.5 mile walk down a wide road brings you to the Rubicon "trailhead." Additional parking available at nearby Eagle Falls Trailhead.

Having completed a number of short, snowy treks, I wanted to complete my Tahoe trip with a longer hike without crowds. On a Tuesday in April with sketchy, remarkably windy weather, there were few people on the Rubicon trail. The crowds thinned out substantially, opting to explore the Vikingsholm area or head up to Lower Eagle Falls. Some remained at the viewpoint near the parking lot.

Rubicon Trail runs parallel to the shoreline of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe. At first, the trail periodically switches between singletrack and wide, with sporadic sections of gravel dotting the path. This continues until the Emerald Bay Campground. From there, the trail is primarily singletrack and adopts a more rugged demeanor. Though it's a mostly flat trail, there are intermittent sections of elevation gain and decrease. The heart of the trail seldom ventures more than 20 feet above the shoreline.

If any landscape can be considered objectively beautiful, this is it. Even on a cloudy day with fierce winds, Lake Tahoe retained its aquamarine hue with exceptionally clear water. Patches of snow along the shore contributed a unique wintry essence. Though the views of Lake Tahoe are vast and lack the immediate punch of a waterfall or alpine lake-and-mountain, it provides perhaps the most serene area in Tahoe. There are some small sandy strips and rugged shoreline access that allow calming breaks from hiking.

As of 4/10, there's sparse snow on the trail, mainly on the western portion of the trail. The Emerald Bay area is devoid of snow. There is snow/ice on narrow portions of the trail, however, that require some care to pass. It's completely doable in hiking boots or running shoes. Some (very) minor seasonal flooding and streams appear on the trail infrequently; this should clear up by the summer months.

If hiking from the D.L Bliss Trailhead (North), either hike through Lower Eagle Falls or don't bother with the Emerald Bay section at all. The Rubicon trail is ironically the least scenic in Emerald Bay, as some forest cover and wide paths detract from the trail's beauty. In short, there's little to see that isn't visible in the western portion of the trail. Lower Eagle Falls, however, is powerful and serves as an impactful reward to a tranquil hike. If you make it to Vikingsholm, there's no reason to not continue up to the falls.

Rubicon Trail offers the premier coastal hike on Lake Tahoe. It can be mixed with the nearby alpine Eagle Lake, paired with Cascade Falls, or culminated with a seasonal cruise to complete a full Tahoe day. Regardless of the weather, it's difficult to go wrong with this trail, and should be seen as a safe winter/spring alternative to more questionable conditions.

14 days ago

Bayview Campground closed for season, reopening in late May. Parking available at Inspiration Point and just off Highway 89. Walk through Bayview Campground adds 0.3 miles to the route; it's blanketed in packed snow as of 4/9.

Having seen Cascade Lake dotted with surrounding snow from Highway 89, I wanted to photograph it from the west (rather than north or northeast). I hadn't yet done a sunset hike in Tahoe and, even though the trail's orientation is geared towards a sunrise, Cascade Falls seemed like an inviting trek. Its short distance and negligible elevation allowed me to get on the trail less than an hour before sunset.

The first portion of the trail goes through Bayview Campground, at least during the winter. Even with the recent warm rainfall and prevalent sunlight, an icy blanket of snow covers the campground, aided by the wooded surroundings. This should mostly melt by May. I saw cross-country skiers in the campground, a concerning premonition as I expected the trail to be mostly snow-free. The path winds its way through a covered forest, easily discernible as footprints are firmly indented in the snow.

The first half of the hike is uneventful without views. However, the trail presently narrows and the landscape opens, ascending sharply up a snow-covered rock. This provides the first view of Cascade Lake. The trail narrows further along the rock face, protruding rocks and steps aiding icy footing until the trail becomes relatively exposed. As of 4/9, there's little snow remaining on the latter section of the trail; the snow/ice that remains is easily passable with hiking boots.

As the trail approaches the falls, it gradually disappears into the rocky landscape. You're free to find a route to an optimal viewpoint. There's no single "best" outlook- there are multiple, some of which offer a view of Cascade Lake primarily, others which allow you to view the falls from a side, and one or two that provide both. In the summertime, trailblazing to Snow Lake seems like an inviting full-day endeavor.

This trail provides arguably the best view-to-effort ratio of any trail in Tahoe. There are two main attractions: a Cascade Lake view just off the trail at 0.6 miles, and Cascade Falls itself. Especially during the waking or waning hours of the day, Cascade Lake is unbelievably vivid and the roaring falls somehow serene. A less crowded alternative to Eagle Lake, the Cascade Falls Trail is a wonderful opportunity to spend a 30-60 minute slot.

Keep in mind that, even though this is called "Cascade Falls Trail," there's never a head-on view of the falls as with Glen Alpine, Eagle, or Horsetail Falls. That aside, it's a great winter/spring trek with unrivaled views of Cascade Lake with the calming atmosphere a roaring waterfall provides.

mountain biking
18 days ago

Great trail...very good climb for the kids and Easy to follow.

20 days ago

Did this from Spring Creek trailhead via North East ridge.. which is half the mileage(~5 miles round-trip) and same elevation(~3.3-3.5K), so a lot harder, but totally worth every step. Had a very clear/sunny day and had to wear snowshoes all along.

elevation gets very high but beautiful hike!!

30 days ago

One of the best hiking spot in the Tahoe area. The last couple miles before reaching the summit kicks ass forreals. The view is definitely worth it though. Hiked this 3x.

1 month ago

beautiful views, got a little warm in February! Love the calming sound of the falls.

on Rubicon Trail

1 month ago

Amazing trails. Beautiful view

Right now (feb 19th) snow shoes are needed from spooner summit down to the lake. Wind blown snow drifts present. Beautiful regardless.

Amazing views once you get to Rubicon and head towards Emerald Bay. Bit slippery in parts with the snow so make sure to wear appropriate shoes.

This was a nice hike with a variety of terrain: quiet wooded trail (North/Northwest), steep and rocky (West), and paved road along nice cabins (South/Southeast). As others have noted it can be hard to follow in places. Specifically about half way around the West side we lost the trail and you eventually find a paved road going past the firehouse and other cabins. Also about half way around the East side you leave the road and walk through some private property to again find the trail. It’s really helpful to have an offline map downloaded on your phone to stay on track.

There was a little bit of packed snow and ice in places but otherwise conditions were very good.

Loved this hike, but it was definitely an advanced hike, and the trails are hard to follow or know where to even start. You really need to do your homework on this one so that you know where you are before you head up the mountain.

Did this yesterday, 2/18/2018. The trail starts off slow along the stream. Then at the base of the waterfall there's not much of a trail, go your own way, It's a rock scramble up the side of the waterfall. Not too difficult, but very fun. Then you reach the first lake/pond. There was snow up at this elevation. Great views of the valley, Pyramid Peak, and Ralston Peak.

The way down though... huge pain scrambling down the waterfall. I got stuck twice where I had to then scramble back up about 100' the come down a different route. I tried coming down literally along the waterfall. Bad idea. I suggest going over to the waterfall for some photos, but then go lateral back away from the waterfall. Dont try going down the waterfall.

2 months ago

Great backpacking trip! Although trail is hard to find at times! Beautiful at top!

It was a great hike today not much snow!

beautiful! went a few days ago and once you get passed Spooner lake the snow can get deep. I still wore hiking boots and did fine. snowshoes would've been helpful

2 months ago

At the moment, this trail is snow-covered almost the entire way up. But the snow is firm enough that we were able to make it all the way to the lakes in regular hiking boots. Highly recommend making it to Upper Angora Lake, which I think is prettier than Lower.

I'm not sure I would love the hike without the snow because it is mostly paved road, but the snow made it lovely (and a good workout!) when I went yesterday.

2 months ago

Such a beautiful and tranquil place! It took me 1.5hrs to hike 2mi. Not because it was difficult- by any means- but, because I kept stopping to soak in the beauty of the environment! Listening to dogs splash in the water, ducks quacking, birds chirping, dip my toes in the cold lake water and filled my lungs with fresh mountain air! It was amazing. Not too many people, either. The trail itself was all parts snowy, muddy, dry, contained puddles, etc. I did this hike in tights and hiking shoes. Definitely recommend if you want to have quiet day hike.

Spectacular view with fresh water coming right out of the mountain

2 months ago

I went around the lake on 1/28/18. I was hopeful about the snow from a couple days prior but had to take my snowshoes off after about 10 minutes. There’s not enough snow for them to be necessary. This lake is a gem, you don’t have to hike long before seeing amazing views! Definitely recommend!

3 months ago

3 months ago

Great hike / snowshoe if you're up for an adventure and don't mind route finding to make it happen. The views of the SIerras from the top are impressive as are those of the adjacent peaks / ridge lines which look incredible in snow. Little tricky to follow the established route and it differs a bit from what you'll see in most maps currently.

Current conditions: Snow starts a few hundred feet into the trail and becomes consistent around 1,500' up. The final climb was partially covered and required careful attention to avoid postholing around the rocks -- descended down the backside for deeper snow. Slopes were pretty solid in the morning (just shy of needing to put on traction) but soft by noon for turns or snowshoes.

Route: Park right past the highway sign a few minutes outside Strawberry (*may not be acceptable with snow on the road*) and walk up a few hundred yards to reach the "trailhead" which is little more than a footpath in the dirt. Take note of where you cross the stream as it's tricky to track on the return.

Great trail, easy to follow, not too steep. Fantastic views.

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