Explore Lake Tahoe Vaca - 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 Vaca Map

Great hike with beautiful views. The trail is well marked. The lake was amazing and had several great spots to fish or relax in the sun.

5 hours ago

nice vistas

14 hours ago

As indicted elsewhere, huge view-reward at trail's end. Cardiovascularly easy. Terrain can be challenging with poor knees or compromised stability. But by all means, worth having a go of it.

Was a ice & easy trail. Me, my husband, kids, & our dogs had a blast.

As sad earlier- short and sweet. Was good for my kids (3 and 6)

2 days ago

One of my favorite hikes. Unbeatable views.

Beautiful, very challenging hike. Thankful for my good, supportive hiking shoes with tread. Also found a walking stick to be extremely helpful both with the steep ascent and descent. Glad it’s a ‘short’ hike or I might not have made it all the way up! Glorious views, worth it if you’ve got it in you! Trail disappears about 2/3 of the way up and increases in underfoot instability. Unlike a review above, I found the cairns, rock stacks, very helpful to follow. I feel very accomplished after this hike that took me about 4.5 hours to complete, not including the exploration and break at the peak.

8 days ago

Great trail, wonderful views, but it is not a Loop Trail. There is a small loop at the very top of the trail but that doesn’t make it a loop trail. We got a really good workout on this trail.

Beautiful trail! Take the gondola down :) worth it!

*very nice hike.
*beautiful scenery, and great fun finding all five lakes.
*at the first lake a mama bear and her cub went for a swim.
*plenty of dog water too.

Love this hike! A big thank you to whoever has marked the way with blue paint :). It has some difficult parts, but I really enjoyed the varying terrain and the views are gorgeous! It also isn’t bad that you can finish it off with a cocktail and hot tub at the top if you so choose.

13 days ago

This was no fun without the tram. It was a hot day and it's a rocky hike. The tram had stopped running on 9/3/18 so we didn't get all the way to the top, which was disappointing. Also, the waterfall and the creek were dry. Beautiful views along the way. Bring lots of water as it's very hot and truly a challenging trail.

Went for the second time this year, to get back to those incredible panoramic views on the ridge and at Ellis Peak. Glad we did it, and I want to just help everyone be aware of the false summit. I fear that too many get to that point and think that's it.

So, I'm posting some photos from the place you might be tempted to go up to you left to the false summit up to the actual summit. Basically, when you see a peak, don't turn left there to go up the side of it. Instead, follow the path straight ahead, as prompted by the two little rows of parallel rocks on the ground which try to coax you to keep going, plus the little stack of rocks just past it. See the first photo I'm posting. The rest of the photos show what it looks like on the short way up to the real summit, and if course the summit itself.

There were no dirtbikes or any other bikes; just a fair amount of friendly hikers. It was a great day, and we were so glad to be on the trail by 10:30 or so.

16 days ago

Great hike! Definitely on the harder side, but well worth the climb.

Accessing the trailhead was fairly easy. the last 2.5 miles or so is dirt road, but the majority of this road is well maintained. It was really only the last quarter mile that was really bad. My Ford Fusion definitely dragged bottom a bit, so for power profile cars I would recommend stopping short and parking a little ways back from the main trailhead parking area

The trail itself was beautiful with many amazing views. The last part of the trail, maybe 1/2 a mile from Lake Penner is the steepest portion and gets a little rugged; but is likely manageable for kids 4+

Other reviewers have mentioned an accumulation of human waste and toilet paper around Lake Penner. I did not encounter too many campers around Lake Penner (there were far more campers around some of the other lower elevation lakes along the trail) and did not see the same accumulation of waste mentioned in other reviews. That being said, I did not traverse around the entirety of the lake, so cannot tell you what it is like around the entirety of the lake. However, I did not come across a single piece of trash on my way in or out and actually thought the trail was well kept given the number of people I encountered.

Unfortunately, Patrick’s review is right, this area is just too impacted. There is a fair amount of toilet paper scattered about the area, as well as other trash. It’s too bad, because it was a great hike and the views are amazing.

Amazing hike. Difficult but very rewarding at High Camp!

Have to do this once a year! Memorable!!

Wonderful hike!! If you start at the bottom, hike up to the summit and ride the Tram down for free!!!

18 days ago

Short and sweet hike with stunning views at the top. Worth a quick stop!

trail running
19 days ago

I love running by the river. Sealed path is nice to get in a rhythm and enjoy.
I ran it as a there and back (about 14-15 miles). WARNING if you do and start in squaw the last two miles will be up hill. I didn't realize until it was too late

Beautiful day, no clouds, no wind... s o l a c e . . .

24 days ago

I like this hike as it is dog friendly. Traffic can range from light to heavy so if you’re a solitary hiker, it’s safe (use your own discretion). I easily found 3 of the 5 lakes but had trouble finding the other two. Sunscreen, a hat, and water are a must. I forgot my water bottle at the house and went ahead and did the full hike and was fine, but I don’t recommend it. I would have explored further had I packed it. My dog had a great time swimming in the big lake. Good for hikers of all levels.

this was an awesome trail and the lakes were awesome.

Has everything you could want. Panoramic views, scrambling up rock slabs, and a lake to swim in.

28 days ago

Great hike - challenging, but not unbearable. Great views!

28 days ago

Nice hike to view of Lake Tahoe at the end. We hiked it in summer, it’s about 30degrees slope with a mixture of sand and boulders with a bit of scrambling at the end. Definitely recommend wearing shoes with tread.

28 days ago

Really beautiful hike that offer some forest areas and open sunny terrain too. We definitely got more sun than shade during the hike so make sure to wear sunscreen and bring lots of water. The hiking wasn’t difficult, just very strenuous. Make sure to keep an eye open for the markings spray-painted on the rocks. Not super easy to keep the trail in the beginning of the hike, especially in the Summer when the river isn’t flowing at all. The lake was a nice spot to take a break and go for a swim. It’s at about 3/4 of the way up so not too much more to reach the top. The tram is free to ride back down. It took us about 3 hours to get to the top and that’s with hanging out at the lake for about 20 minutes and a little Cliff Bar break right before. Would def recommend this hike! Looking forward to doing it again.

28 days ago

Our group hiked this wonderful trail on 20 August 2018, and I can tell you that the signature waterfalls and pools are completely dry. Other hikers familiar with this trail said water is usually present into June, sometimes July. Even without the waterfalls the hike is spectacular. From Shirley lake it's easier and quicker to continue up to the top then take the free tram down than to climb down to the trailhead.

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