Best trails in Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California

9,643 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California? AllTrails has 97 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 57 moderate trails in Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit ranging from 1.4 to 32.5 miles and from 6,233 to 9,527 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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Map of trails in Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California
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Top trails (97)
#1 - Cascade Falls Trail
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1213)
Length: 1.4 mi • Est. 44 m
NOTE: This trail may be closed for the season during winter months. This is a great short, moderate/easy hike to a beautiful waterfall within Emerald Lake State Park on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The trailhead is located off of Highway 89 north of South Lake Tahoe across from Inspiration Point. There is a small parking area with limited parking. The trail navigates through forest and over stone steps. There are many vantage points with excellent views of Cascade Lake, Emerald Bay, and Lake Tahoe along the way. Although there is not a lot of elevation change, there are challenging spots along the trail with large rocks/small boulders to navigate. Once at the falls, it is a good place to eat lunch, relax, and take in the views. The surrounding large granite rock outcroppings are impressive. There are multiple pools you can put your feet in. This is one of the more popular hiking trails Emerald Bay State Park and parking fills up quickly. Make sure to get there early to secure a parking spot. The best time to see the falls is in spring/early summer when Cascade Creek is roaring from the snowmelt that feeds it.Show more
#2 - Floating Island and Cathedral Lakes Trail
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(293)
Length: 5.5 mi • Est. 2 h 42 m
#3 - Tamarack Lake
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(302)
Length: 7.4 mi • Est. 3 h 35 m
Delightful secluded lake on Tahoe Rim Trail. Trail is short, but the climb is rocky. There is often a water taxi available at Echo Lake for some of the journey back. Please note that the water taxi does not run when water levels are low. Don't let the modest distance/gain to Tamarack fool you. This is such a rocky climb you can wear out just trying to keep your footing, especially if not used to hiking at almost 7,800 ft. Views of Echo lakes and surrounding peaks are incredibly breathtaking, with flowers, aspens, pines, critters. Tamarack Lake is a perfect destination for beginners, small children, or the 1st overnight hike trip. Horses are allowed but trail is very rocky, with large boulders & many smaller, loose rocks covering the trail (hard on dog paws). The water taxi is great fun, but waiting for it may add up to an hour to your hike. Thrilling when the boat slows in narrow channel between upper & lower Echo lakes. Continue on the Tahoe Rim Trail past the signed turn to Tamarack, you'll reach Lake Aloha just past the meadows -- worth the longer, more strenuous hike. Permits are required to hike in the Desolation Wilderness (n/c) & are available at both upper/lower Echo lakes.Show more
#4 - Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, and Eagle Lake Loop
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(188)
Length: 11.7 mi • Est. 6 h 33 m
A trek through Lake Tahoe's Desolation Wilderness past several lakes including Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, Fontanillis Lake, and Eagle Lake. This hike provides a great tour of some of the best features of Desolation Wilderness. It is great for a 2-day, 1-night backpacking trip on a weekend or for a long day hike. All lakes along this hike are spectacular and are great for swimming. There are a number steep sections, particularly near the beginning and end of the hike, but the views make up for it. For a customizable summer weekend backpacking trip, this loop is a solid choice. With six lakes along the route, you don’t need to decide in advance how far you want to go, just start hiking from the Bayview Trailhead and see how you feel as you go.! This loop is challenging in terms of elevation, but it’s a good choice for newer backpackers. If you wind up getting tired early, there will be a lake nearby waiting to raise your spirits and the trail is easy to navigate. The views, the opportunities for swimming, and the ability to spread out away from other campers make this a weekend worthy trip you will love. Get there early to ensure that you get a parking spot, and print out your free permit in advance. Overnight permits are subject to a quota from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend to September 30, and must be carried with you. Permits can be reserved up to six months in advance. Outside of the quota season, permits can be booked and printed on the day of entry. Dogs are welcome, but need to be under control. Campfires are prohibited in Desolation Wilderness and group sizes are limited to 12 people or less. Camping is dispersed camping and there are no facilities. Show more
#5 - Angora Lakes Trail
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(272)
Length: 1.2 mi • Est. 38 m
Note: the road to this trailhead is subject to seasonal closures. Although you can drive into the lake itself, this small out-and-back hike will give you more reason to relax in the cool water of Angora Lake once you arrive. $10 parking feeShow more
#6 - Eagle Rock Trail
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(401)
Length: 0.7 mi • Est. 27 m
#7 - Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake via Tahoe Rim Trail
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(367)
Length: 8.4 mi • Est. 3 h 51 m
#8 - Big Meadow to Round Lake
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(352)
Length: 6.0 mi • Est. 3 h 13 m
Note: be mindful of traffic as the the trail is shared by hikers, mountain bikers and horses. If biking, please do signal your presence. Show more
#9 - Incline Flume Trail
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(404)
Length: 4.3 mi • Est. 1 h 52 m
This is only an out and back section of the entire Incline Flume Trail.Show more
#10 - High Meadows to Cold Creek Trail
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(271)
Length: 8.1 mi • Est. 4 h 15 m
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