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

Tahoe Backpacking Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
11 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.

hiking
15 days ago

Me and my wife did this trail this Saturday. There are big rocks on the trail, then after sometime there is gravely trail. It is hard with normal shoes because you have to put every step very carefully on the rocks so as not to slip. There is small waterfall at around 1 mile which is good to chill for a bit.

BONUS: Climb the rocks on the side of the waterfall and follow the stream, there is another pool filled with water worth seeing and dipping in. All in all a good experience.

PS. Do not park your car until you reach the parking lot at the trailhead, you might get lucky and find a parking right there. I saw some sedans climbing up that one lane road that leads up to the trailhead parking, so do not worry if you are not sure if your car will make it (I seriously though the road was small enough and filled with potholes that small sedans/hatchbacks cannot make it but I was wrong)!

hiking
21 days ago

We went with our 3 boys and we only made it about 2 miles in. But if you stop about 1.2 miles in you will pass a small waterfall. There’s a red fire department bin, take this small trail to the waterfall. You can take a quick dip near the waterfall. However, my 6 y.o. discovered another awesome part of the waterfall! If you keep climbing up the rocks near the waterfall (if you are facing the waterfall it would be your 10 o’clock), It will lead you to the top of the waterfall. Follow the water upstream and you’ll find a small lagoon like area w another smaller waterfall. There’s a rock in the middle that you can use to jump off. A small secret spot that my family and I enjoyed. Many photo opportunities. One warning, we did see a small water snake under one of the rocks there but it didn’t bother us so we didn’t bother it! Other than that, uber chill spot off this trail but well worth the climb!

hiking
23 days ago

Great trail beautiful scenery and a very nice lake ☺️

hiking
23 days ago

I was glad reviewers mentioned to keep driving until you get to the parking lot. We had almost lost hope with all the cars parked on the road making it very hard to pass drivers going the opposite direction. But we got to the parking lot and found the trail head easily.

The trail is covered with large rocks, then small rocks for almost a 1/2mile going up hill making for an unstable walk. And with all the rocky and gravely paths I noticed I had to concentrate on each step taking from being able to look around while walking so we stopped more often than I normally do when hiking cause I would slip each time I took to long looking up to enjoy the views.

Early/late morning the trail is mostly sunny. But mid afternoon it becomes more shady. Except once you pass the Soda Springs house it is up hill (with rock steps) and all sunny. And it almost seems like you won’t get there. And then after a few summits you reach it.

Note; I wouldn’t bring kids past the second creek crossing and seeing two dogs on the path, it was clear, their paws were hurting.
Took us 3hrs from Lily Lake to Grass Lake (including a 40min lunch, along w/a dip in the water) and 1hr back to the parking lot.

hiking
23 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
24 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!

This trail has become one of our favorite trails in the El Dorado/ Tahoe area. The views from the Hemlock and Smith Lake are amazing (there was even some snow on the northeast side of the lake, where the granite wall prevents the sun from reaching).
The full trail (back and forth) is 9.8 miles instead of 5.5 miles as originally reported (we had a tracking device that recorded the distance and altitude gain; and if you check the full map here and add the distances, you'll see that it's close to 5 miles one-way).
As mentioned before, the trail is well-visible until a certain point (up to where it splits with the Twin Lakes 16E12); from that point on, it's essential to have some guidance (the AllTrails map works great), keep an eyes on the stacked rocks too.
On our way back, we saw some commotion due to someone getting lost (there are too many splits) and the Rangers and El Dorado Police had to be called (when we got back to the parking lot, we heard that they had found the guy).

If you are going on a weekend, chances are that the parking lot by the trailhead will be full. Don't park by the cabins or by the road or you will get a ticket. Park at one of the two Wrights Lake parking lots.

hiking
26 days ago

Beautiful trail and lots of history along the way. My sister and I learned lots about that area by just reading the post along the way. We did bring the pup but would HIGHLY recommend booties. Our pup always hikes in her boots and on this trail it was necessary because of all the loose rock. Also found some cool swimming spots near the waterfall!!

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

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail, lots of different rocky terrain. Wouldn’t recommend bringing a pup without booties. Our dog’s pads got all torn up :(. Would bring bug spray if going to Susie lake, lots of mosquitos in the marshy stretch.

hiking
1 month 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.

backpacking
1 month 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.

We left the trail at 4.3 miles and climbed north up to the ridge then west over one false summit and another bump or two to Deadwood Peak. I’d call it an easy class 2 route though the climb was definitely strep and strenuous at times. (The track for this hike shows a shorter, more direct, and I think easier route to the summit than we took.). On the small summit there was a pile of rocks but we did not notice a summit marker or journal box. From Deadwood we did the easy 1/3 mile walk over to the next unnamed high point to the west, which according to summit journal notes, appears to sometimes get confused for the 100’ higher Deadwood Peak. We then descended back to the Grouse Lake Trail from the saddle between there and Deadwood. This was a very nice hike with spectacular scenery and impressive wildflowers in mid July. Remote and lightly traveled compared to most hikes around Tahoe. Though not an OGUL peak, Deadwood is a challenging, scenic and very worthy climb. Highly recommended.

Pretty crowded, but that is most places this time of year.
Easy hike. Gorgeous flowers everywhere!
3 stream crossings that can be crossed by rocks and avoiding wet feet.
Mosquitos will eat you alive, even with bug spray, but they thin out depending on the hour.
Parking is limited and fills up. Vault toilets at the parking lot, no water.

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!!!

Loved this hike. Waterfalls, streams, big beautiful rocks and 2 amazing lakes. Gets a bit steep. Bring bug spray there are so many mosquitos. I’ll do this hike again!

1 month ago

Well I know there is a debate on whether or not you can/should drive up to the trail head and you could if you go slow but I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you like to bottom your car out when hitting pot holes and large rocks. I have a Honda Civic and parked in a small lot right before it turns into a dirt road and hopped in my friends huge truck to get there.

But! The hike was amazing and we did it for a sunset hike because the views where incredible once you hit the top part of the incline! We didn’t reach the lake because we found the perfect spot to watch the sun set (approximately 1.75-2 miles from the trail head) see pictures

hiking
1 month ago

Worth the 3+ mile drive to the parking area where there is lots of parking. Hiked with our dogs and passed few hikers on our way out, a few more on our way back, but no other dogs. We hiked out to grass lake. Only part of the trail that was a little tricky was the creek crossing where it wasn’t obvious. But if you look to the left you see the logs across the creek and it picks up the trail there. Amazing views.

hiking
1 month ago

not sure i liked this hike. loved all the flowers but trail was not described well by all trails. lots of boulders to navigate and granite to maneuver up and down. Lost trail and never made it to the Lake. I hike a lot but not sure this was for me.

Awesome views! Worth the drive.

7월초, 8,000피트 이상의 산길에 올라서면 꽃향기에 취해 걸을 수 있어 좋다^^
Deadwood peak, 그 위에 올라서면 Round top, 4th of July lake, Blue lake etc the area of south lake Tahoe의 아름다움과 산세의 웅장함을 모두 느낄 수 있으리라.
It's one of the best hiking!

great trail good hike pretty country

Good hike and the lake was beautiful to see at the end

I would definitely rate this as hard, especially because the trail from Hemlock to Smith is marked as "primitive." I found it hard to catch the spot where you take a hard left up into the rocks. I wasn't sure if I was off trail, so I sat down until I saw someone else arrived who used their GPS to find the trail. After being at the top I came back down to find two hikers lost in the same spot that I was. Just keep an eye out for stacked rocks to the left to find that final steep ascent.

The parking lot at the trail head was open as of 7/7/18. The wildflowers were incredible! And the water running down beside the first part of the trail was serene. I dunked in at Smith Lake and felt so refreshed. Will be coming back soon to see it again.

Wildflowers are blooming everywhere right now. Don’t forget bug spray!

moderate trail I love the waterfalls

This hike is spectacular, however we took a wrong path and ended up hiking 12 miles when we finally made it back to the car. The trail is pretty easy in most places, but there are some pretty steep inclines. My 75 year old friend made it all the way. I would definitely do this hike again.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

loved it was awesome views will do it again

Load More