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So hard!!! A lot of climbing straight up rocks. But GORGEOUS and a great workout. Highly recommend.

Amazing trail

on Cascade Falls Trail

1 day ago

Much of trail is rocky so need to be agile

The reviews were confusing before I went. That's because there are two ways to get to the lake. Many ride the gondola to High Camp, which allows you to hike to Lake Shirley, w young children. If you do the actual climb from the bottom, (CCC alumni here) it is tough. Do not attempt if you are not in shape.
If you make it to Lake Shirley, you may as well keep going up to High Camp. It's 3.82 miles to High Camp from the trailhead at the bottom with close of an 2,000 elevation gain. Caught the last gondola ride before close. The gondola is dog friendly, Which was a huge plus. Definitely will do this again in the fall.

Great hike. We were headed to campers flat for an over night. We did encounter a mountain lion in the rock field before the creek prior to Middle Velma. We did see a ranger the next day on the way out and he confirmed that there was one in the area. It was a great weekend and recommend this to anyone. Bring water and/or water filter. If your in good condition this is a fun hike if not you may have a time of it. Remember - enjoy the journey.

Easy hike. Great for the kids.

It was a great hike. Took my 8 year old and while it was shorter, the hills made it a great workout. She made it just fine! Beautiful view, go early to avoid crowds.

3 days ago

Beautiful hike
We crossed the river at the beginning and stayed on the side to avoid the people as it was pretty crowded

Did this as a day hike with a stutdy 9 year old and a daypack from Eagle Falls starting at 8am in mid July. Steady climb for about 2 miles with great landscapes. As you descend towards the Velma lakes the trail crosses a stream, which I could imagine being easy to miss or inaccessible with higher flows. The trail gets within 200-300 yds of Middle Velma, you have to scramble through boulders to get to the shore which isnt too tough. Tried to fly fish the lake in a few spots but saw nothing. Heard the park service is clearing fish from these lakes to restore Yellow Legged Frogs, fwiw. Bring insect repellant. Passed many backpackers who had overnighted at Dicks, Fontanellis and elsewhere.

Easy, lovely trail. Views of the lake and once you reach the falls you can get right up to them. Plenty of space to hang out by the falls and enjoy the views or even picnic.

Last weekend (7/7-7/8) backpacked from the Bayview Trailhead to Middle Velma for the night. Great hike! Definitely a steep incline going up, but beautiful views and flowers along the way. Be sure to stop at the lookout halfway up the initial incline for a stunning view of Emerald Bay. We took a detour to Dick’s Lake (not on this map), then continued on to Middle Velma to camp. Once we got to Middle Velma, we had a beautiful view, great swimming, and a warm evening. Bugs didn’t come out until sunset. Beautiful hike back down— recommend poles. Definitely a great weekend trip!

Great hike we have older children they loved it beautiful views

This trail is excellent.. We are not expert hikers neither do we hike often but it very doable. It starts off with a climb up so don’t take off at great speed pace yourself.. My husband has a bad knee but was able to do the whole hike., he did wear a strap. The views are wonderful. It was a Friday morning we started off at 10.30am got to Emerald bay for lunch walked up to Eagle Falls just behind the beach and we returned back to DLBliss at 5.30 pm after a short stop to dip our feet in the lake. I would highly recommend this hike....it is arduous and probably longer than I anticipated when we set out but so worth it. A great day.

Great views it’s worth it when you get to the top

It was not an easy hike. Some parts were of course but scaling the 300ft wall to get to the other section was a bit of a leg burner. We did get to the lake and we were hiking in 88 degree weather. So with that we were more than happy to jump in the lake. I would recommend this hike waterfalls and beautiful landscaping just bring water it can get warm out there. loved that we did it.

This is an amazing hike. Today was my third time. Two times have been successful to the top, and one was thwarted by snow. My husband, myself and two boys did it three years ago (they were 10 and 7), on a slightly overcast day in July. Temps were probably in the 70's. My husband and I attempted it in late April, and there was still too much snow to get to the top without snowshoes. The hike itself is really not that difficult, but a couple variables will really up the difficulty... On a hot, sunny (no relief from any clouds) day, it's quite difficult to get to the summit. Our group included two very fit grandparents in their mid 60's, two boys now 13 and 10 and a fit 43 yo. The last section past Shirley Lake was tougher than I remember, and if I could do this again, I would not bring my parents beyond the granite slope/boulder portion. If you live in altitude, it may not be an issue. If you live closer to sea level, perhaps take caution to go on a day where it's a bit more overcast, and make sure to bring plenty of water and food. The members of our group declined food, and if i knew what I know now, sandwiches at Shirley lake would have been mandatory!

6 days ago

Nice hike with beautiful views! I’m decently fit in my mid-20s and found this hike to be on the easier end of moderate. We started the hike at Vikingsholm and did an out and back to the end of the trail. The hardest part of the trek is the walk up the Vikingsholm access trail. Emerald Bay is easily accessible off trail and made for a refreshing dip at the end of the hike!

Beautiful views! The hike will take your breath away!!!

great trail a bit tough. not for weak of heart. last section needs help. slippery steep gravel road

this is not a trail for every one

Not as bad as you think. some technical sections but we did it with our 3 year old daughter. Took it slow plenty of water to play in. 2000 feet vertical to get to the top, but free ride down, and only 10 bucks to swim in the pool.

A perfect hike with popsicles at the end! We started up at the day parking area near the campgrounds. Loved the varying terrain and vegetation. Absolutely gorgeous views of Emerald Bay. It was warm so we stopped to swim on the way down and back up from Vikingsholm. We saw at least four Osprey nests throughout the hike as well.
And for the bonus round...once we got down to the Vikingsholm park center they had snacks and popsicles for sale! Sweet. After our snacks we took the extra .2 mile hop up to see Lower Eagle Falls, do not miss it!

Everything you could want in a hike. Woods, waterfalls, pools, lots of dogs, wildflowers, a swimming hole, and extraordinary vistas. Definitely worth continuing to High Camp and taking the gondola down. Beautiful!

One of my favorite hikes. It’s challenging as much as it is breathtaking. Every section of the hike brings something new whether it be hiking through a flat, forested area or climbing rocks alongside a series of cascading waterfalls or scaling a huge granite side of a mountain. A lot of people underestimate this hike. Be prepared for it to take at least 3 hours and bring plenty of water and snacks.

10 days ago

Arrived at the trail head at 9:30 AM. There was plenty of parallel parking near the trail head. There are no restrooms at the trail head, so it was good thing we stopped at the rest area on Donner Summit. Nor is there water.

From the start it was steeper than expected. It was also warm for July morning. For an alpine trail there isn't much shade. As others have said, the first .5 mile is the steepest then it lessens. The total climb is about 2 miles. We saw lots of dogs on the trail.

If I did this hike again, I would do it when it was cooler - maybe start earlier or go earlier/later in the season. And bring sun gear (wide brim hats, SPF clothing) and drinks with electrolytes.

10 days ago

This was a great first trip of the year!! We hiked all the way to Hidden Lake, more peeps at lower lakes. The wind was crazy a couple nites, but it kept the relentless mosquitoes away. As we hiked out on the 6th we passed at least 30+ peeps hiking up. We did pass several dogs OFF leash and a couple on leash. Great family hike, backpacking trip

10 days ago

Great hike. Lots of interval climbing, super fun...super exhausting.

Lovely early summer hike up a rocky steppe and along a rushing mountain stream, capped by a beautiful waterfall.

As others have suggested, instead of turning around at the lake we continued the final mile or so to High Camp at the top. Be prepared if you intend to do this as it does add about 800 feet in additional elevation gain to the climb. Trail was steep and technical, but well-marked, with plenty of good views. The first mile or so is more wooded and follows the stream rather closely, with plenty of waterfalls and pools to enjoy. The terrain gets rockier and steeper in the second leg, and becomes more exposed- make sure you have plenty of water and take frequent breaks. The lake is a good spot to stop for a while. The final stretch up to High Camp is unpaved road, which means loose gravel and steep inclines, and it's completely exposed to sun and wind. It's a bit of a bear to get up but is entirely worth the views of lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. There are all manner of activities in High Camp, and the gondola ride back down is indeed free. It deposits you right in the village, so you can go straight from the top of the ridge to enjoying a meal with friends in about ten minutes. Had a fantastic time on this trail, it's tough but rewarding.

Incredible hike through treed areas, along a creek, up a rock face, and past lots of wildflowers. Strenuous because of the scrambling and steepness (at times) but there are lots of kids on the trail including ours that did great. Continued past beautiful Lake Shirley to High Camp, stopping for some snow ball play. Swam at the pool and played then took the tram back down.

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