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.

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I’m always looking for trails to take our horses on and this is not one of them. Mostly an easy hike with the exception of 2-3 granite areas that would be nearly impossible on horses. Too many hikers for my likes as well.

trail running
1 day ago

There is nothing moderate about this hike! It’s definitely an easy one! Perfect for trail running and great for dogs with water along the way and plenty of shade. Reward of beautiful lake at the end! Highly recommend.

This is a moderate trail only if you are agile and fit. I have a fit dog, Shepherd, and it was a scramble for him with a couple of spots where I had to lift him to get him over some rock and log obstacles. It is NOT suitable for horses by any stretch of the imagination. There are some semi-steep portions of this trail that are more rock than trail, littered with volleyball sized rocks along sloped granite faces in some places and precarious dead fall bridges in others. If you don't do rocks or high steps, this is not the trail for you. Horses would not be able to negotiate these obstacles safely, regardless of whether you dismount or not. If you have little ones it will be a scramble for them too. We went in mid-November so the bogs, marshes and intermittent streams were dry or frozen allowing us to avoid the bugs. If you are looking to back country camp be aware that there are a lot of dead standing trees that are potential widow makers. Also be aware that regardless of fire conditions, the amount of deadfall and standing dead trees in the area make this bowl a tinder box.

It was a great hike. We thought is was more like 9 miles. nice and shady. grant views of cable lake and emigrant lake was awesome. had a lunch at lake then headed back. we felt it was moderate skill.

hiking
14 days ago

Hiked to Grass Lake. Quiet trail - only saw a few other hikers on the path. Extremely rocky which can slow the pace. Definitely recommend keep the map with you because the trail can be a little hard to follow at times. Grass Lake was peaceful - light breeze but relaxing.

This was an excellent hike from beginning to end. We began at Caples Lake and followed the trail along the lake until it veered up to toward the historic Emigrant Lake. I arrived to this weather worn Lake imagining the Mormon Emigrates hitting this wall of rock. It was fishbowl staring up at the back of Roundtop and Stagecoach across the Lake. We bushwhacked up to the Stagecoach Trail for another beautiful full vista view of both Caples Lake and Emigrant. I imagine the Mormans did the same and continued East to Utah? We on the other hand went West on the trail bushwhacking our way back down this steep terrain guided by the ski structures that eventually lead us the the “Emigrant Road SLCA” . It was breathtaking. The trees marked with these signs leading us back to the Lake for our final two miles back to our vehicle. I will hike this again. But I will bring a fishing pole.

hiking
22 days ago

Great trail. Rocky and flat in the beginning. Beautiful views at Grass Lake. Quick easy hike that one can finish within a few hours.

Beautiful trail with amazing views

Be sure to watch for cairns otherwise the trail is hard to see.

hiking
30 days ago

This was an okay hike for me. No amazing views on the trail except for at the lake itself since you're in the forest majority of the time. There are some small Aspen groves, which makes this hike better because fall foliage is always awesome. The trail is pretty easy to navigate and the weather was rather pleasantly cool today.

Great little trail. Be sure that take a picnic lunch and swimsuits!

backpacking
1 month ago

very nice not to difficult to get to. kids can do this hike. as for the road to rough it is but don't listen to the GPS. take Crabtree rd the two intersect.

We did a two night trip here. We hiked to Grouse lake, which according our gps is 4.1 miles. It is a climb but all and all not to bad. We made our camp here. Gorgeous lake with brook trout jumping. The next morning we hiked up to Hemlock and Smith. My gps said 1.3 miles from grouse, Total elevation gain from Wright’s lake was 1704. Both were full of trout. All these lakes are worth the effort. The last section to smith is very steep, hard to find and follow the trail and has loose rock. The view to the west is amazing! I would consider the trail a mod/hard depending on your fitness. I’m 52 in ok shape and carried a 28 lb pack. It took me 2.5 to Grouse. From grouse to smith took about 45 minutes but some of that was looking for the trail at smith. One way the hike is approx 5.4 so total 10.8. Hard on the knees going down. Hiking poles are your best friend here

hiking
1 month ago

This is my favorite trail that we hiked this year! I would definately do it again! It was strenuous but not to hard and so beautiful.

backpacking
2 months ago

Camping here was pleasant, but only because we were able to find a spot away from the crowds as there were probably 7 or 8 other groups of people camping here. The lake was swimable and drinkable (with filter), but kind of scummy compared to other Sierra lakes I've visited. If your primary goal is swimming, I would look elsewhere. The hike itself, although short, was enjoyable and offered surprisingly diverse scenery. The trail was easy to follow, but would be a bit more difficult if there was snow. Our hike began with a hail storm at the trailhead haha, but it was clear skies and sunshine after that blew through. Despite the fire ban, one of the groups camping here (a dozen large young men with fishing poles) decided to have a large fire. It was disappointing and frustrating to witness. Please obey the restrictions in place. You don't have to burn things just because you're camping.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike. Easy to find the trailhead. The trail is well used and easy to follow. Already frost in the morning.

About 3 miles one way, with the usual detours. A beautiful little lake.

From Smith Lake, we continued upward and climbed Crystal Range summits Agassiz Peak and Mt Price. My track is not the easiest way to do this, but it got the job done in a very eventful 10 hour hike. Our boulder hopping route to the notch on the ridge above Smith Lake was OK, but we would have been better served by then dropping down some into the Lyon’s Lake drainage instead of trying to traverse around the head of the canyon higher up. The large boulders up there made the walk extremely difficult, so we ended up dropping down anyway, but still not far enough to make for an easy passage through the head of the drainage. Climbing up the east side we did OK by staying low in grassy chutes and quickly made the ridge with a clear view and path to Agassiz and Price. We headed over the meadow to the low point on the ridge between the peaks, and once there decided to first bag Agassiz to the south. This was another mistake as the boulders high on the ridge were massive and the going up there very slow. A better approach would be to stay low on easier terrain until directly below, or maybe even a bit beyond, the peak then go straight up to it. We did make it our way, though, or at least to a few feet below the high point where we took a pass on the class 3 summit block. From there we dropped off Agassiz the way we should have come up, then by comparison, the half mile north to Mt Price was an easy class 2 walk in the park. From the summit of Price the views of Lake Aloha and so many other Desolation Wilderness lakes and peaks were spectacular and the sky was as smoke free as it had been in weeks. Our route for the return trip was OK though we initially aimed a little too high for the notch above Smith Lake when we might have done better staying lower on the Lyon drainage longer where the walking was easier. Another way to reach these peaks is to simply hike the drainage north from Lyon’s Lake then climb up the east side, as we did, to the large meadow west of the Price-Agassiz ridge. This hike would start at the Lyon’s Lake trailhead on Wright’s Lake Road and would be a few miles longer, but likely an easier hike. As it was, our route was 11.5 miles and 3638’ of gain. There’s no easy way to reach these peaks, but as the spectacular backbone of Desolation Wilderness, they are well worth the effort.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail was nice and relatively easy. Itself the trail would only be 2-stars. The treat was coming across the soda spring and circa 1900 resort at Glen Alpine Springs with cabins and other buildings designed by Maybeck.

Great hike. You hike with good view of Caples Lake for almost 2 miles and then head in and the hike is pretty up and down throughout with mostly tree cover and not a lot of unshaded areas. Nice wildflowers and a few streams. Trail pretty easy to follow out and back. Hiked on Labor Day and there were a few hikers up and down but not too busy considering the holiday. Take a lunch and relax once you reach Emigrant Lake or alongside Caples Lake when you get back down.

on Lake Margaret Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this as a day hike with some friends and the kiddos, ages from 6-14. All had a great time and loved it. It’s a relatively easy hike now the kids are older and would be a good hike for an overnight with kids to get them into backpacking. The trail does split of to the left fairly early on (about 1/2mile) along the small river with a fallen tree as bridge, at this point there were no markers to say where the trail went and could be a little confusing. Other then that the trail is easy to follow and really fun! Lake was cold and refreshing! Not too many beaches but enough rock to share. We’ll be back!

Walking on rocks the entire time, not very scenic. This has to be one of the worse in Lake Tahoe

on Lake Margaret Trail

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago

Great trail beautiful scenery and a very nice lake ☺️

hiking
3 months 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
3 months 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.

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