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

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I always forget about the bouldery portion after the train tracks- strenuous but then eases up on the knees after that. The higher lake is definitely worth getting to, less crowded.

Tough hike but very rewarding. Visited the three lakes and Lake Salmon on the way back. I’m glad I wore ankle high hiking boots over the rough, rocky and rutted trail.

I love this trail! I've hit it in skis, snowshoes, and hiking boots. Good times all around.

hiking
3 days ago

Lost the trail a bit on the way up, but was a pretty lake

Although this trail is (said) easy, it was not easy for me. First of all, there are very little shady areas, so, if you came here on HOT days, the temparature climes up due to the rocks. One of my dogs had hard time and I had to carry him on the return. I, myself, was really tired of going up and down rocks. It was not a pleasant walk at all. The lake was filled with people and there was no place comfortable for me to sit down and enjoy the lake. I will not come back here. One good thing was I met a really really nice young man who offered to carry my dog on the return and also showed me the way to go back. It was not easy to follow the signs for coming and going. without his help, I might have been stocked in this camp ground without camping equipment. I did not get his name. But, if he reads this comment, he would know who I am. AGAIN, thank you for your help. I wish I got his name.

backpacking
7 days ago

Came here instead of Aloha Lake because we couldn’t find a permit. Absolutely gorgeous, totally manageable hike leading to an absolute playground. Round Lake itself is a tiny Oasis with an absolutely gorgeous view of the entire Tahoe Valley if you’re willing to do a little climbing. Despite camping relatively close to the lake we experienced no bugs, the weather was perfect, and we even caught a little meteor shower. What more can you ask for?

Make sure you check out the other Lakes too.

Awesome short hike to a beautiful little swimming hole ! Definitely more incline on the way back than on the way there .

hiking
9 days ago

Do you need a permit to backpack overnight here? It would be great if AllTrails had a section with permit requirements for each trail.

Kicked my butt trail. Nice elevation change. Wish the smoke wasn’t there right now. A lot of the normal views were not visible but the hike was a lot of fun and I’m so glad that people have kept the trail so clean.

hiking
14 days ago

Not easy, I’d say more moderate with all of the hills. Great swimming hole. Beautiful hike.

hiking
15 days ago

Although this hike is short I would not classify it as easy simply because of the terrain. I hike 15+ miles all the time and the rocky terrain of this hike made it a bit more moderate. Awesome hike back to a beautiful lake though! We loved it! Also, the off-trail portions of the hike are lined by stacks of rocks which makes it easy to know you are going the right way. Definitely doing this again and making a day of it or maybe even camping overnight.

Super nice and diversified trail! We did it as a half day hike (a little bit under two hours to the highest lake). In my opinion more a MODERATE then a hard hike (there for sure is a rocky section tho). The first 0.5 mile of the trail is a little tricky to follow, I was glad I brought my phone for GPS. Bring your dog and plan on taking a dip in the lake(s)!

I agree that it is a hard hike, especially coming back down. If you have a knee issue, use poles to soften the impact on the rocks, tree roots and just altogether steep and rugged trail terrain. The lakes are worth all the hard work to reach them. Middle Loch Leven is about 6 miles RT, but don’t get fooled by the shorter mileage. It’s still tough go. I have thought to make it a shuttle by putting a car at the Salmon Lake TH & hiking out by way of Salmon Lake & in at the Loch Leven TH. This would make hiking out less strenuous on folks with knee problems like I have.

hiking
20 days ago

Great summer hike, it was more on the moderate side. Steep rocky terrain with the elevation made it much more challenging than expected. Beautiful scenery and the lake was great for a swim. Definitely will be going back again.

This trail kicked my butt! Thankfully I went with a group who knew the trail, otherwise I never would have been able to stay on track. There are portions where you’re climbing/hiking over big slabs of rock and I still have no idea how they knew which way to go. I’d definitely recommend having this mapped out before losing service (although my phone worked the whole time). The views were beautiful at the top, but this is definitely strenuous; it was uphill the entire way. My group hiked up to the second lake because it wasn’t much further and it was worth it. We stopped there and had lunch, got in the lake, and then went back. Be prepared to work hard and bring lots of water because you’ll need it! The way down was a little rough too just because it’s very steep and my poor knees felt the impact the next day. Overall- great workout and beautiful lakes.

hiking
21 days ago

Great trail beautiful scenery and a very nice lake ☺️

hiking
22 days ago

beautiful hike. my 79 year old dad found the trail a little tough though, lots of rocky sections. also is more like 5+ miles, 5 according to the sign and 6 according to my GPS.

hiking
23 days ago

In response to the review "no facilities and services", I don't think you should have to expect any since it's only 2.3 miles in, it's dispersed camping, and there are facilities within 2 miles each direction from the trailhead. Trail is easy to follow if you use the AllTrails app; I literally just took a snapshot of the trail since I don't have the pro version. If you think you're getting off trail - yes, it may get a little confusing going over the rocks - look for the stacks of stones and the dirty part of the rock where people drag their shoes through....you don't need mountaineering experience. Anyway, nice trail, not much elevation gain. We camped there 2 weekends ago from a Saturday to Sunday and still only saw 3 or 4 other campers. Only advice is to please not camp close to the water even though someone else has cleared space to. The campers closest to us were only 15 ft from the water, did not leash their 2 dogs, and had a campfire. They were friendly enough, and quiet, but still...RESPECT THE RULES OF THE FOREST!

Beautiful lake, fun to swim, few mosquitoes and leeches. Great trail to get your kids into backpacking!

mountain biking
23 days ago

Do not attempt on a mtb. I couldn't find any info saying it's not allowed. You'll find yourself carrying your mtb 80% of the time and that's from RR tracks and down. Was not fun.

Great, easy going trail! Trail was very easy to follow. Expect to see a lot of traffic on the trail but everyone was polite!

backpacking
28 days ago

We came to Lake Tahoe hoping to do a 1-night backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness. Permits for the easy hikes were sold out.
So we tried Big Meadow / Round Lake trail.
Best decision.

My favorite 1-night starter backpacking trip I’ve ever hiked.

I lead groups on outdoor treks. This trail was fantastic. We had a first time backpacker, as well as some seasoned trekkers, and this loop satisfied them both. It fits a short schedule. 2 and half hours one way with loaded backpacks and multiple breaks.

Saturday night trip.

Plenty of parking. No backcountry permits required. Easy to start.


The trail starts with a terraced incline leading up to Big Meadow, which is an impressive midway spot. Continue a gradual incline along aspens and fir to the top of the ridge, with nice views of the Tahoe Rim Trail and Sierra backcountry. The peaks still had some spots of snow, mid-July. Beautiful. Yet trails were dry.

Then a quick descend into a basin with a small incline up to Round Lake.
The lake is surrounded by interesting rock formations. So much to explore.
Small warning, the ground is rocky with a natural cement aggregate like soil so finding a flat camp spot can be tricky. But we found one, if you continue on the left side of the lake about half-way you may see our spot.
This lake is good for rock Jumping, photos and more. Cool areas to explore. The right (west) side is better for swimming and diving.

The area is quiet, yet had a few other backpackers that made us feel safe enough yet away from crowds.
We could hear a bear crunching through the woods late at night, but no issues or encounter. We felt fine with the handful of other backpackers scattered around the lake.


Bring your swimwear
Bring good shoes
Don’t miss the sunset

One of our hikers had some slight soft knees and the trekking poles came in handy for the whole hike.

This hike is a must for Tahoe area backpackers. Also would make a good half-day hike

backpacking
28 days ago

Took my kids up to the middle lake for two nights. The lake was beautiful and perfect for swimming with some great jumping rocks. Trail was rocky and steep at times. Did it in running shoes and regretted not having hiking boots. We were tired so decided not to head up to the upper lake, also heard it was pretty crowded up there. The lakes were beautiful but the rocky trail was tough on the feet. Would do it again!

hiking
29 days ago

Best hike so far. Easy trail for the most part. We didn’t have any problem following the blazes like some reviewers. This hike has a lot; wildflower meadows, forrest streams, evergreen groves, mountainous ridge top views and of course the secluded lake. Not too many people there on Thursday afternoon but might get crowed on the weekends.

whoever rated this as easy is out of their mind. I walk/hike 5-7 days a week, and usually 3-7 miles. this hike should be rated as moderate. you go up the mountain and then all the way down on pretty rocky and steep terrain. it was a very pretty hike and the lake was perfect.

backpacking
30 days ago

This was a very strenuous hike carrying 50lb backpacks to camp. Three log crossings and lots of rocky and steep granite sections. Trail is not well marked in sections, especially at the end. The scenery is beautiful though and the lake was very peaceful and quiet to camp at. Note, there are no facilities or services whatsoever from the trailhead to the lake.

awesome short hike. great for a quick getaway with some friends and a couple of beers (pack in pack out). ☺

backpacking
1 month ago

Up hill to lake..lake seemed to be dead ( no fish) pretty but better hikes

Great hike, but hot this weekend (Mid July). Bring lots of water. Plan to swim or bring a float to enjoy the beautiful lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike! Trail is well marked except at end when you hike up a granite boulder when you near the lake. Go to the left here. Wildflowers were beautiful and lake not too cold to swim in!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail, but you have to drive on about 6 miles of an unpaved fire road, so make sure you bring the appropriate vehicle. My ‘04 RAV4 did the trick, but any less clearance than that would’ve been rough. I had thought that any trail rated easy would’ve been toddler appropriate. It wasn’t. We hiked the whole way with my 18 mo in the hiking carrier. It was rough in some spots due to climbing on fairly steep granite. But doable. Salmon lake isn’t one I would want to swim in, but there is lots of fish. Lovely, remote. We were the only ones there, and we had a nice hike.

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