Explore the most popular forest 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.

Hiked to the top Saturday, May 12th. Had to walk to extra miles round trip to pass the barrier from the first parking lot to the actual trailhead. Started at 7:50 a.m., summited at 12:45 p.m. and finished around 3. This was our first time out on this trail so we weren't sure where the peak was and we lost track of the path when we started up this deep snow field. We clambered up loose rocks for a while and after consulting with GPS ended up back in the snow. Mountain boots/crampons/ice axe not necessary. We got by fine in solid hiking boots and lightweight pants. Glissading down the shallower hills was fun.

hiking
23 hours ago

Very pretty - very easy for a first hike. We did it when I had a fever and cold so didn't explore much but it was manageable. Parking is fairly limited. Go early.

Wonderful hike! Parking is limited

Beautiful trail, easy hike.

I love this hike! It's a pretty strenuous hike but so worth it! The views at the top are spectacular!

hiking
2 days ago

We climbed the trail on 5/13/18. The gate was locked closed so that added a couple of miles to the hike. There was some snow on the trail in spots we hiked about 2000 feet up from the trail head and had to turn around because the snow got very deep. It was a great day with amazing views.

Lovely trail! There’s a nice change from rocky to meadow to forest to lake throughout, which keeps it exciting. Not a lot of great vistas for the most part, but I found the meadow charming, some nice mountains were visible after a while, and the lake was gorgeous. It was a little wet this time of year (mid-May) - I’d recommend waterproof hiking boots if you’ve got them, but I got by fine in my tennis shoes for the most part, just had to do a little scampering on rocks adjacent to the trail when I came upon puddles in the meadow. Further up it got a tad muddy, but I didn’t see any consistent snow until the last half mile or so. It got cold FAST once I got close to the lake - I almost turned back before I realized how close I was. 70+ degrees in the parking lot but the water was still partially frozen. Bring layers!
Also, note that there are two different trailheads that leave from this parking lot - you want the one that’s downhill, further away from the bathrooms. I almost went on a completely different adventure!

hiking
4 days ago

Did it two days ago. Wonderful trail! Very good elevation gain. We hiked about half mile after Cathedral Lake, then stopped at about 8400 ft. due to snow. Great view of Tahoe, Fallen Leaf and Cathedral Lake from the top. On the way back the Floating Island Lake was as green as an emerald. Highly recommended. Plan for about 6 hours or more if you plan to the very top.

The hike back is a workout if you don’t hike a lot. However the views were worth it! Road construction by the entrance with a one lane road so be careful.

Great trail, but beware as there is a lot of rock climbing along the edge of the mountain. Be extra careful if it is raining and definitely wear boots! If you make it to the end, you can try and climb higher for better views!

Wonderful trail! Great view of the lake, beautiful rocks, boulders and trees all along the trail. Easy trail. It's also part of PCT and TRT!

7 days ago

The super rocky path kept two kids, even one who complains on all hikes, engaged and happy. Parking difficult with the campground closed for season and road construction. Come early. Awesome view. Wear appropriate footwear and layers. We'll be back.

So this is definitely an awesome spot for about a mile in each direction from the trailhead. But it’s extremely hard to hike around the entire lake. I did it but following the trail to the left landed me trespassing. I walked about 2 miles on a paved road in a neighborhood. Someone stopped to ask me how I got there. Then I had to walk through a summer camp to get back to the trail. It was clearly marked from that point until about the 6 mile range in where it became overgrown and difficult to navigate. I wouldn’t recommend this as an all the way around the lake hike due to the trespassing, paved road, poorly marked trails and frankly in the summer it will be too overgrown to complete. But it was a super beautiful lake!

hiking
17 days ago

This trail starts easy. Before the hard climb starts there is a beautiful lake at the base of the mountain it is a good meet up point for hiking with people with different speeds. The view from the top is stunning and well worth the hike. Spent 1 hour at the top exploring all the different side. Well worth the hike. It took my friend and I 6-7 hours.

hiking
17 days ago

Worth the hike for these views

Been going here every year since I was in 1st grade. I love it there and I am also looking forward to another trip. Great fishing and greats views. If you are up to it you can even hike to the peak.

hiking
21 days ago

I was there yesterday. I had to walk about two extra miles in order to get to Mt. Tallac Trailhead, because the access road was closed for traffic. That is why my trip was about 13 miles long. I started around 11am and I was back to my car around 5.30pm. The summit was pretty cold and windy, and the temperature was about 10F. I would recommend an ice axe and micro spikes for your safety. I truly enjoyed glissading on my way down from the summit.

Mt Tallac is a majestic mountain.

Long because of the snow and somewhat challenging.

With the snow in late April.

We started at 1:30AM and got to the summit at the 10am. Took our time for the most part and needed crampons and an ice axe for the steeper portions. There’s a lot of scree as well, so you’ll probably end up taking off your crampons and hopefully it’s a bit warmer and you wouldn’t need the crampons to finish the summit.

We also glissaded down which cut a good 2 hours. Cool views.

Still snow now. Gotta come back in the early summer to go the later half of the trail .

Nice little hike. Well maintained and marked to cool view. We just saw a few people and some discarded dog waste bags (eww). Otherwise a great moderate short hike.

22 days ago

Amazing views. Must hike through snow half way in.

Pretty good trail challenging but the waterfall was great. April 25, 2018

Unfortunately he road was impassible and we could not get there. April 26,2018

Nice easy hike, as with all hikes in this area it can get busy on weekends and during the summer. Don’t be surprised to see people hiking in flip flops. You do walk over large boulders so finding the trail in this section can be a little tricky, especially if there’s snow on the ground. Beautiful view of Cascade Lake and side view of Cascade Falls.

hiking
1 month ago

Bayview Campground closed for season, reopening in late May. Parking available at Inspiration Point and just off Highway 89. Walk through Bayview Campground adds 0.3 miles to the route; it's blanketed in packed snow as of 4/9.

Having seen Cascade Lake dotted with surrounding snow from Highway 89, I wanted to photograph it from the west (rather than north or northeast). I hadn't yet done a sunset hike in Tahoe and, even though the trail's orientation is geared towards a sunrise, Cascade Falls seemed like an inviting trek. Its short distance and negligible elevation allowed me to get on the trail less than an hour before sunset.

The first portion of the trail goes through Bayview Campground, at least during the winter. Even with the recent warm rainfall and prevalent sunlight, an icy blanket of snow covers the campground, aided by the wooded surroundings. This should mostly melt by May. I saw cross-country skiers in the campground, a concerning premonition as I expected the trail to be mostly snow-free. The path winds its way through a covered forest, easily discernible as footprints are firmly indented in the snow.

The first half of the hike is uneventful without views. However, the trail presently narrows and the landscape opens, ascending sharply up a snow-covered rock. This provides the first view of Cascade Lake. The trail narrows further along the rock face, protruding rocks and steps aiding icy footing until the trail becomes relatively exposed. As of 4/9, there's little snow remaining on the latter section of the trail; the snow/ice that remains is easily passable with hiking boots.

As the trail approaches the falls, it gradually disappears into the rocky landscape. You're free to find a route to an optimal viewpoint. There's no single "best" outlook- there are multiple, some of which offer a view of Cascade Lake primarily, others which allow you to view the falls from a side, and one or two that provide both. In the summertime, trailblazing to Snow Lake seems like an inviting full-day endeavor.

This trail provides arguably the best view-to-effort ratio of any trail in Tahoe. There are two main attractions: a Cascade Lake view just off the trail at 0.6 miles, and Cascade Falls itself. Especially during the waking or waning hours of the day, Cascade Lake is unbelievably vivid and the roaring falls somehow serene. A less crowded alternative to Eagle Lake, the Cascade Falls Trail is a wonderful opportunity to spend a 30-60 minute slot.

Keep in mind that, even though this is called "Cascade Falls Trail," there's never a head-on view of the falls as with Glen Alpine, Eagle, or Horsetail Falls. That aside, it's a great winter/spring trek with unrivaled views of Cascade Lake with the calming atmosphere a roaring waterfall provides.

hiking
1 month ago

Road conditions up to the official trailhead are questionable; no snow removal during the winter months. Parking is available both at trailhead (currently closed) and alongside the road. Ice and snow remain on last 0.5 miles of road as of 4/9.

As others have stated, the trail begins on a rocky path. The rocks are cobble rather than pebbles or boulders. After warm rainfall and above-freezing spring temperatures, this trail was flooded under ~6 inches of water for a short section. Waterproof boots worked well. After Lily Lake, the trail is a mixture of cobble and paved, wide enough for an ATV but not quite a 4x4 trail. The immediate surroundings are poor compared to other Tahoe hikes.

Since there was significant snow accumulation over 7,000 feet, I turned back at Glen Alpine Falls rather than heading up to Grass Lake. Others have noted there's little to see after the falls. I didn't travel far enough to verify this, but based on satellite and heatmap, this seems correct. Assuming you park before the Lower Glen Alpine Falls, located right past the fire station, there are three main attractions.

The first is Lower Glen Alpine Falls, which can be reached by car and is a popular tourist attraction. Some call it the most popular waterfall in Tahoe (debatable, since Lower Eagle Falls commands attention). The second is Lily Lake, a swamp-like flooded basin that beautifully reflects Echo Peak. Lastly, the true Glen Alpine Falls, around 0.5 miles up the trail, is a rushing fall at the base of Tallac. Beyond that, there's Grass Lake an additional two miles further.

Even though the waterfalls are beautiful and Mount Tallac is always a surreal sight, this trail is little more than a decent outing. Paved portions and operational cabins/houses detract from the backcountry feel. Similarly, the two-mile section of relative uninterest combined with a wide track falter when compared to vicinity hikes, especially Aloha and Ralston. Keep in mind that I didn't hike the full trail, though, so take this review with a grain of salt.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this from Spring Creek trailhead via North East ridge.. which is half the mileage(~5 miles round-trip) and same elevation(~3.3-3.5K), so a lot harder, but totally worth every step. Had a very clear/sunny day and had to wear snowshoes all along.

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best hiking spot in the Tahoe area. The last couple miles before reaching the summit kicks ass forreals. The view is definitely worth it though. Hiked this 3x.

A nice trail to get away from the hustle/bustle of the casinos and stretch your legs after skiing.

Super easy walk to Picnic Rock. Great view of the Tahoe basin. Take a picnic and enjoy the sunny view. Good snow shoe hike in the winter. Could be 5 stars but copious amounts of dog poop require constant attention on the trail and detracts from outdoorsy atmosphere.

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