Explore the most popular birding trails in Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hike is pretty easy, just a long walk.

Dusty but easy family and dog friendly trail with nice viewpoint of Lake Tahoe at top and on descent.

A relatively easy hike. The trail was kind of hard to spot near the end but otherwise it had great views of the lake with the falls at the end.

IMPORTANT EDIT:

"To get to the trail you can start at the Fountain Place Trailhead and follow the Armstrong Pass Connector trail to Armstrong Pass, then take a LEFT (not a right) on the Tahoe Rim Trail to begin the ascent of Freel Peak."

Nice and easy hike to Cascade Falls. So many great views along the way.

hiking
6 days ago

While there are no guarantees that you'll see bears, this is the one trail in my life where I have seen more bears than any other place.
Every October people flock here to see the salmon run, with hundreds of fish in certain spots, and the potential to see black bears enjoying their autumn buffet.
We came on October 13th this year, but were a little dissappointed there were few fish. It is usually the middle of October. Maybe we were too early.
Either way, this is a fun family activity, with the trail to Baldwin and Kiva Beaches, along with the rainbow loop seeing the cool autumn sun shining through the yellow aspens.
This year, the aquarium was closed for construction.
The trail is easy, and can fit handicapped walkers, along with elderly and young children.
Beware of the crowds.

Overall, a must-do activity if you're in South Lake Tahoe.
- Mike & Angel, EarthTrek Gear

10-15-18 The parking lot is closed. Park off the highway and the trailhead is 1/4 mile. Bathrooms were unlocked, but have no running water. Outstanding hike. Tons of room to explore at the end of the trail. Waterfall was small at this time.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful hike.
Gorgeous views of Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe.
Trailhead easy fairly to locate (at the very back of bay view campground), not a lot of parking especially on a busy weekend.
Trail to the general ‘falls area’ is short but narrow and pretty rocky.
Once you reach the general ‘falls area’ there is no defined trail, lots of space to wander.
Lots of rushing water in the spring, only a trickle in the fall but there are some beautiful fall trees.
Dog friendly.

Beautiful!!!

Pretty poor trail markers. I would recommend going clockwise to have better luck staying on the trail. I read another hikers recommendations about having to scramble up some rock and step through some plants. I did that too and got totally completely off the path. If you stay on the path it is completely unnecessary to rock scramble and get scratches on your legs. It’s pretty around the lake but pretty a bit frustrating to keep seeing dead end signs on the roads and have to back track your route.

Easy hike on a fairly busy trail, but the meadow is always gorgeous and the lake is a worthy destination. There were several large groups (noisy groups) and plenty of mountain bikes on the day I hiked, but I still give this hike 5 stars for the scenery.

Easy hike with a great pay off of beautiful scenery at the end. I would probably categorize this hike as "easy" rather than moderate, as evidenced by the many hikers we saw who were more of the tourist variety and several younger children. It is longer, however, so perhaps that is why it's rated as moderate. Overall, it was great way to spend a Sunday!

need better trail markers nice hike you gotta do it

You need a high clearance vehicle to navigate the dirt road to the trailhead. Good trail with nice views of Lake Tahoe.

on Echo Lakes Trail

hiking
15 days ago

Echo Lake is one of the best easy hikes in Tahoe but past Upper Echo Lake is not my favorite because it has lots of scree which makes it challenging to keep your footing while enjoying the view. Ankle support is a must on Upper Echo Lake section. Views are tops & lakes are plentiful past Upper Echo. Heavily trafficked. Lots of climbing on rock steps. Not much shade so avoid in July.

hiking
15 days ago

Pretty short and easy. The views of the lake are amazing. We did this hike the first weekend of October. The sound and views of cascade falls are beautiful. It probably took us 20 minutes one way, maybe less. You can explore further than the falls if you want, but the falls are a great place to stop and have a snack. Even if you’re not a hiker or someone who keeps active, this hike is fairly easy and the views are well worth the travel.

We didn’t realize parking is available in the campground right in front of the trailhead. Although there isn’t an abundance of parking there, it is available. There are signs indicating where parking for the trailhead are allowed. Just FYI for anyone thinking you have to park on the road outside of the campground.

The view from top is great!!!! Good hike for anybody

Had an excellent day along this stretch of the Rim Trail. Went to the top of Freel Peak, although it didn't look as though it was taller than Jobs Sister. Maybe they should re-measure. Star Lake is beautiful, several people had set up camp nearby and looked quiet pleasant. Loved it!

*beautiful fall walk.
*plenty of water for the dogs.
*another person described this hike as flat, then uphill, flat, then uphill....it is nice that way- and the uphills feel effortless rather than strenuous.
*saw a fox.
*lakes were lovely.

Great trail this time of year, only passed a couple groups of hikers. Perfect dog friendly hike

hiking
20 days ago

Nice hike. Path starts out flat and even then turns Rocky. My adventure took me about 1.5 hours total but I stopped at the water and explored for a good 45 minutes. I hear it is better when there is more water but there was still a sloping stream to explore. Very peaceful if not crowded. I went on a Monday morning and it wasn't too crowded and I found parking.

Lovely trail on Sunday Sept 30. Perfect fall temps. Aspen and low growth are turning yellow. Me and my friend ran up to Round lake then back down to turn off to Dardanelles. The grade is a nice easy climb totally runnable up and down. A little rocky in some places but can really cruise. Took us about 3 hours to do a little over 12 miles and 1900 feet of climbing. Both lakes are gems. Just beautiful.

Cool fall weather, light traffic on the trail – several small groups of backpackers. Crag Lake was a picturesque place for a mid-hike break and lunch. While we were eating, heard sudden yelling from a couple who were also on the shoreline eating about 20 yards away. We rushed over, they were yelling to scare off a bear. Unfortunately, all happened too quickly to get any photos.

Beautiful trail. The aspens were turning - lake was low.

Great hike. Nice elevation climb but not too hard for kids. Amazing views and cool rock formations at the top. I carried by 3 month old in a carrier.

I like to only report the positive things about any trail. A few of us hiked to Scott’s Lake to take pictures of the fall colors yesterday (Sept. 25, 2018) and it was beautiful with all the changing colors, especially the Aspen. I used my Garmin to create a track, but I don’t think there is a way with All Trails to import it. The hike is close to 3.5 miles (7miles RT) from the parking area at Big Meadows to the lake with about 985 feet of gain. It’s not a hard and there is still a couple of water x-ing that have enough left for dogs to get a drink. At about 3/4 mile there is a post sign to direct you to the lake. Veer left. I gave it a 5 cause it is everything I want in a fall hike. If I want something harder then I chose other hikes or something easier and closer to home then I chose a suitable hike for that. It was a great day with friends and to see the fall changes in the Tahoe Aspen.

*easy easy.shady.
*beautiful views at top.
*nice get away when you have only a few hours.
*bring water for your dogs.

29 days ago

great hike.

Did this hike on 09/19/18 Great hike. My advice is to start at the trail head and move counter-clockwise around the lake. The beginning of the hike wasn’t too daunting. About 1/4 in though the path is extremely overgrown and parts you’ll need to scale rocks up and down, so be sure to wear good shoes and maybe long pants and long sleeves to protect your skin from rubbing against plants. Towards the halfway mark you’ll end up in a Standford Sierra Camp. We rested here for a bit and even managed to refill our water using their water refill station. Now I believe this is only supposed to be for campers, so proceed with caution if doing that. We also stopped there for a quick lunch as well.
Moving along you’ll end up next to a fire station and a small chapel. The chapel is quaint, but if it’s open it will also be a nice spot to rest. If you keep going, you’ll end up in Fallen Leaf Marina/Lodge. This is another very nice spot to rest, it has a cafe and clean restrooms. Had I known this was here I would have eaten lunch there versus packing one in (less to carry is always good).
After that, about 1/4 of the trail is on paved road, so make sure to step aside for cars. With the exception of two cars, most noticed us and gave us a courtesy wave when passing. This part might have been my favorite since I love looking at houses lol. After that, you’ll have to “trespass”. Honestly, just stay on the path and don’t venture beyond property markings. The last 1/4 if the hike or so isn’t the best maintained, so again, long pants and sleeves to protect your skin.
Overall, decent hike. Would do it again, the views were fantastic.

Lookout for: burned hollow tree and the lone standing fireplace.

a good portion of the trail is paved road on the one side, but otherwise it was a lovely, not terribly trafficked trail on the 4th of July weekend.

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