Explore the most popular fishing trails in Tahoe National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

8 days ago

Tough trail in parts with steeper climbs and downed trees, but worth it for beautiful views of the American River.

great family hike we all had a fantastic time outstanding views

27 days ago

Breathtaking !!! My fave place soo far.

Great loop, but the back side of the trail from the dam to the day use area has alot of fallen trees and debris on alot of the trail. about 1/4 mile in from the dam a huge fallen tree has taken out almost all of the trail. After that though pretty smooth sailing. Park at the boat launch and take trail to the right all paved for about a mile and a half good out and back if you dont want to do the whole loop.
Over all great trail, would recommend and do it again.

Definitely take I80 to the Foresthill exit- longer ride but much more relaxing. We walked the entire lake and it’s almost 5 miles (not the 3.5 that we were expecting). The trail starts at the bottom on the boat ramp. The unpaved trail still needs a lot of tree removal and trail repair. Stay on the paved trail and go in/out unless you want adventure! Very beautiful and quiet.

Went on an overnight out and back backpacking trip, camping about 7 miles in, near a creek crossing on Deadwood Ridge. The trail was definitely challenging but had no other redeeming qualities, other than a nice creek to rest at early on the trail. The trail is well shaded, but because of that there are few opportunities for good views. The trail was well graded and appreciated at first, but I found it to be monotonous after crossing El Dorado Creek, relentlessly marching up the side of the mountain. In addition, the trail going up towards the ridge was very narrow. There were few places to take a break. On the ridge, there were few good places to camp. I would not recommend the place I camped (creek crossing along ridge), I was running out of daylight. If I had more time I would have backed up a half mile and camped at the water pump. If you want to camp closer to the trailhead, there is at least one good spot (probably more) along El Dorado Creek.

I did not encounter any bears on my trip. That was a good thing because I forgot to put all my food in the bear canister. The food was not touched.

Some folks have mentioned parking issues but I had no problems parking at the end of the pavement, about 0.2 mile before the trailhead.

This trail is best for trail runners. Lots of elevation change and consistent grades. If I was trail running I would rate it 4 stars. I would not recommend for backpacking except as an early season shake-out.

This listing is pretty mislabeled. This is a part of the Western States Trail and this portion should be labeled Michigan Bluff to Last Chance. Since you are going in and out of 2 canyons I would also label as Hard. Especially if you're backpacking and have a pretty heavy pack.
Here are some things we learned: There is no parking next to the trail head. We parked next to the old cemetery and the Michigan Bluff monument. We left our car for 3 days and it seemed fine. We talked to some locals when we got back to our car. They thought we were just going out and let us know about several locals recently losing dogs to mountain lions.
BRING BEAR SPRAY. It is also a good idea to have a bear bell and make plenty of noise on the trial. We saw a lot of trail runners out so the trail is well traveled. You will also do a lot of stream crossing depending on how much it has rained recently and how much snow is still melting.
Trail breakdown: 2.5 miles in is entirely downhill and takes you to the first bridge and river. Almost 6 miles from the trail head and just before Deadwood Cemetery you will find a decent place to camp. For an even better place to camp and a little more walking, head on to an established spot between Deadwood and Devil's Thumb. There is a great area with a picnic bench and water pump with potable water (if we had gotten an earlier start on day one we would have camped here). Ditch your pack at the water pump to lighten your load and make your way to Devil's Thumb. A closer look shows that it is not one big rock but many rocks. Head down the canyon from Devil's Thumb to get to the swinging bridge. Lots of switchbacks but the pay off is worth it.
What we did:
Day one: hiked in and camped right before Deadwood.
Day two: packed up and ditched packs at Deadwood. Made way to water pump and filled up. Hiked all the way down to the swinging bridge and had lunch. Made our way out of the canyon back to our belongings. We then hiked down to Eldorado Canyon (aka 2.5 miles from trail head) and made our camp near river in an established spot.
Day three: hiked out.
Things I wish I had known:
-how steep the trail was
-the amount of mountain lion and bear activity in the area
-how bad the ticks are
-the different points of entry for the trail and the relative location of established camping spots
I know this review is long, but I'm hoping it helps someone who is looking at this trail.

Loved it! Super easy!

Great trail. Very peaceful. They are currently doing some tree cutting, so part of the trail is blocked off. Trail goes around the entire lake.

1 month ago

I would rate this hike as better if the sun hadn’t dried everything out so much already when it’s only March. I started my hike at 1200 and it was 74 degrees outside, so I suggest you guys start this hike out early in the morning. I would definitely agree with the hard rating, it’s consistently steep downhill all the way down to the bridge and coming back up hill is doable but it takes a while. I walked down for 30 minutes and drank half my nalgene water and decided it was time to hike back up and to finish it on another day. The directions given were great and led me right to the spot. There was still a couple small patches of snow on the drive up there which was beautiful, and there are bathrooms there at the parking destination. The view from the parking area is the best view out of the whole hike, truly was beautiful from there.

2 months ago

It was an amazing beautiful hike! Took me roughly an hour going down to the bridge. Make sure so bring lots of water, good shoes, and maybe grab a walking stick to help down. It was roughly 65 degrees and it was perfect out (its March). Lots of butterfly’s out and cool rusted bikes and cars to find. The way back up IS HARD!! All incline, took about an hour and forty mins to go back up. But very rewarding climbing the entire mountain & a gorgeous part of the river.

3 months ago

Be prepared to sweat on the last mile back. The elevation gain is insane (close to 2,000 feet). A sunny, cool day in February was perfect for this hike. I couldn’t imagine doing it in the heat except there is a STUNNING water hole about 1.5 miles into the hike at the suspension bridge that would be nice to cool off in. The water was incredible. We only hiked from the trailhead to the bridge and back. It was more than enough and I feel very accomplished. I’d recommend this hike to anyone who is up for a challenge and enjoys beautiful views.

Peaceful trail, beautiful. It is not always accessible if has snowed. Easy for kids & beginners.

The only reason this hike/walk didn’t get 5 stars was due to the drive required to get here. Long, lots of sharp turns and bends, hard on the car, only room for one car at times. But the lake is wonderful, path fantastic! Clearly marked, well maintained. Just a great way to spend a day off!

Nice and easy for a New Year's Day hike!

4 months ago

easy drive with clear roads. saw two other couples the 2.5 hours we were there. one driving down on the jeep road/path and one walking down. basically had the place to ourselves. kids had a blast with the snowball fight. stunning views that look like a fake background drop. easy hike.

5 months ago

Amazing hike that's great for when you not only want to totally escape from the city but when you also seek a challenge. Like the other reviews say, it's very steep. It's like a 2500 ft. descent to start, and it killed my toes because they kept getting jammed up in the front of my shoes going down such a steep grade. Going up was actually easier! It took me about 40 minutes to get down to the bridge, I continued past the bridge about a 1/4 mile and had to turn around because it was getting dark, and it then took 1 hour to get back up. So plan on a 2 to 3 hour hike depending on how much farther past the bridge you decide to go. All in all it was worth the views and the quietness, but I'll only go again when I want to really challenge myself, because it was certainly a tough hike!

P.S.... definitely wear pants and bring repellant.. you'll thank me later!

I only went in about 3.5 and then headed back up the mountain cause I didn't want to be out there in the dark but still a great hike! Beautiful views, will have to go and do the entire thing!

Really cool area. Very scenic and easy to do. The whole trail loop is paved and is short. Other unpaved trails branch off from this trail that lead to more isolated areas. The reservoir has regular camping sites as well as car camping sites. Easy to fish out of and there are plenty of sites to choose from or go more off trail and find your own spot. Great for dogs.

road biking
7 months ago

we took this trail specifically to bike. It is right next to the road, so being aware of that is important. despite that, it is beautiful along the river and there are places to stop and enjoy the view. I would not recommend this for walkers/hikers. It is pretty dominated by bikes and the path isn't super wide. if you jog or run you can keep up with the flow. it was just workable enough for our six year old to handle on his bike, although being on part of the busy road due to construction gave us some pause.

mountain biking
7 months ago

This is the longer option for those interested in taking in some of Tahoe City, the lake, and both the Truckee River and Squaw Valley bike trail systems. It's a great ride! You go through town a bit then head over the dam and downriver taking in the splendid sites of the Truckee River. Eventually we came to the Squaw Valley entrance and continued up to the ski resort where a jeep race was mustering. It was cool, an all-women event, racing jeeps overland and back country down to San Diego. You return the same way.

7 months ago

This trail is very steep and long. NOT for the faint of heart. Its has some beautiful views and some cool mining equipment off the trail but is definitely difficult due to the grade of the trail. Would not recommend for beginners.

8 months ago

Very rocky road to upper Sardine Lake watch your step. Great views well worth the short hike. No crowds during this September hike.

Great trail but there is a landslide near the dam side if the lake.

8 months ago

Well, we followed the directions below, from one review, but missed the part about parking, and crossing the road! We didn't have wifi nor cell service so weren't able to see the map. We still had a good hike on the PCT!

9 months ago

We've camped at Sardine Lake for years and always make the hike up to Upper Sardine Lake. Saw this hike on All Trails which extends the trail past the dam at Upper Sardine. The trail at this point is difficult to follow and requires a little rock scrambling. We go past the dam but did not take the trail to the end as it was not marked.

9 months ago

Loved this trail wasn't to difficult or hard to find. A few people tried to make it part way with their 4x4 and I applaud them, a few did make it and were rewarded with some amazing camping spots. Wish I would have brought my inter tube to float The views are AH-mazing!!

9 months ago

The Trail:
Be advised, this trail is not for the faint of heart. Very steep, often constant and sharp declines in elevation going down and back up. I wasn't in the best of shape as far as endurance goes when I braved this trail but I was still somewhat athletic and this trail wore me out cold. Had to carry my 70 pound dog out the last half mile because he gave out before we did (he was fine, just pooped and stopped walking). Trail is mostly clear, but can be overgrown in some areas.

The scenery:
Gorgeous elevation scenery as you go down and up the trail. Great panoramic photography potential at the top and certain viewpoints along the way. Once you reach the river it is beautiful. Lots of rocks to climb on. I climbed up the bridge at the bottom (do so at your own risk) to get some good photos. Overall a very visually-appealing trail.

Bring LOTS of water. Camelbaks of 2 liters or more if you are out of shape are recommended, you will drain lots of water climbing this trail. We brought three large Nalgene bottles for three people, and one for the dog, and depleted ours by the time we got to the bottom. Dog had water the whole way but we had to go without coming back up because we weren't well prepared.
Wear proper trail shoes (not flip flops like I did, though I had no idea what we were getting into. Boy did my calves hurt the next day).
Additionally, bear in mind it isn't uncommon to encounter horseback riders on this trail. We passed two riders coming up while we were going down, horses were friendly and indifferent, but if you aren't sure how your dogs will react to horses, please mind your leash manners. Not a whole lot of room to move pets out of horsebackers' way, so a leash is a must!

Some areas off the trail can be explored but if you're hiking with with a pet, they may need to be hoisted. Something to keep in mind when hiking with large dogs.
Watch out for horse poop.

Pack List:
Mosquito Repellant
Climbing gloves for any rocks you might want to climb at the bottom.
2L+ Camelbak and 2 liters of water in bottles at LEAST.
Leash (if hiking with pets)
Good trail climbing shoes.

Lovely walk along a mostly paved path. Had a hard time finding the start of the trail, but we followed some folks who looked like they were making their own path, from the top of the parking lot. Then we realized the trail starts down by the boat launch (so we got an extra mile in with all our backtracking

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