Explore the most popular horseback riding 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.

backpacking
7 days ago

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

My favorite place!

hiking
10 days ago

Nice walk up to the first snowfields, but had trouble finding the trail. Trust the footprints in the snow to keep you on track. Got as far as the first lake, but the snow started to get rotten and we turned back to avoid post holing. Only saw a couple other hikers.

backpacking
27 days ago

I did this as a solo overnight backpacking trip to test new gear for an upcoming long distance trip (JMT) in the summer. 2800 up and 1200 down on day 1, 1600 up and 3300 down on day 2 (including side trip on Fiddle Creek Ridge Trail). On this April day, I started encountering snow around 4000 and found significant coverage at 4300.

Trail started at Highway 49 rising 1500 feet up over several switchbacks to the top Fiddle Creek Ridge. From there one can get a view of the surrounding mountains. Continuing on, I went 500 foot down to Fiddle Creek. There is no bridge here, and early spring runoff prevented any rock hopping. I crossed in my water shoes with no issues, about 18 inches deep. Next, up the hill 700 feet to about the 4300 foot elevation. Started to see snow, but after a short level section the trail went down again 600 feet to Little Fiddle Creek and another creek crossing (shorter crossing but slightly deeper). Then up again 600 feet to the snowline, which was encountered right after the single track trail transitioned to fire road. I did not want to trudge through the snow, so I found a camp spot on a section of old fire road, just off the main trail. Next morning I went back the other direction, crossing two creeks and back up to the main ridge. I decided to travel along a couple miles of the Fiddle Creek Ridge trail in order to increase the total mileage of the trip.

What I liked: I enjoyed the lack of people on the trail. A dirt biker passed me on day 1, and didn't see anyone else until noon the next day when I crossed paths with a small group of day hikers.

Things I didn't like: There were a few vistas but overall less scenery than some of the higher Sierra trails. Also a lack of suitable camping locations. I didn't find anything easily accessible by the creeks. The best spot was on a ridge at 4100 feet near the end of the trail, and was not near any water.

This trail would be suitable for an early season trip when the higher elevations are still snowed in.

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
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I know this review is long, but I'm hoping it helps someone who is looking at this trail.

Did this hike last weekend. BEAUTIFUL! Definitely needed the 4wheel drive because of the snow to get to the trail head. Left the snow shoes in the truck but could have used them at certain points. Camp ground bathroom at the second lake you come to. Can't wait to come back in the summer!

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing Trail here one of my favorites so far!!

snowshoeing
3 months ago

I chose this trail and location for my first foray into snowshoe backpack winter camping.
Before I describe the trip and trail I will leave a word of caution: don’t park at the trailhead anywhere during the winter months. You will get “snow towed.“ I did!
Despite that headache, I had an awesome time blazing Pristine trails through 8 inches of fresh powder, which had just dropped the preceding week prior to my Saturday morning trip.
Despite being obscured by the snow, the trail was easy to follow and AllTrails map is spot on.
Gorgeous winter-scape and views. See pics.

Beautiful hike not to bad of an elevation gain

Great hike! This area is beautiful

on Five Lakes Trail

hiking
4 months ago

Although there were a few spots I wished I had yakttax on, this was a wonderful hike. I was amazed by the frozen lake with a snowman built on it. The views are spectacular.

horseback riding
4 months ago

Beautiful views and had it all to ourselves. Creek is gorgeous! It’s single track with sharp switch backs and pockets of rock scree on steep slope sides that would feel technical and challenging for some horses and riders.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful mountainous hike.

Great hike. The first 100 yards were a bit icy given the time of year but after that the trail was clear to the top.

A good amount of snow today, but snowshoes weren’t needed. This would be a great summer time trail.

Great hike with stellar views. Have shoes that can handle snow y slush (it was a warm December day). Casual incline. Do it.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice short hike. A lot of switch backs since the start of hike is a very rapid ascent. Lots of slushy snow and melted ice causing wet boots. Need to come back in the summer since too much snow at the top to make it enjoyable without proper foot wear. Also no where to park except side of the road.

Signs that state: private property. Thankful to the owner that allows us to hike on this property.

There are also signs of Avalanche warnings!

You are in between squaw valley and within alpine meadows resorts so you’ll hear a lot of cars from the freeway and also pass by ski lifts on your way up. Don’t expect a private hike during winter ski season.

Good place for summer hiking but not for winter.

hiking
5 months ago

We did the five lakes trail hike with our kids (5 & 9) end of November and it was great. The trail is challenging when snow covered, but fun. It was just the right level for our kids. But you want to make sure to wear proper hiking shoes. The trail offers Great nature and views. The only downside: there are no garbage bins, so many people dispose their dog poop bags along the trail... or just leave their dog's droppings behind.

hiking
6 months ago

It was awesome!

Love this trail!!! Amazing views. Started hike in am so little icy in spots...slushy in others, but turns into fun snow near the top.

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!

hiking
6 months ago

A bit slushy right now in the first mile or two. Would probably be better with a bit more snowfall. Have also done it in summer and it was great.

Another amazing trip with the boys and dog! Great hike for intermediate explorer

Great trail.

backpacking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike. Lots of friendly dogs off leash and lots of creek crossings for them to play in and drink from. Highly recommend Cooks Restaurant off Hwy 88 just outside Pioneer for a great dog friendly meal.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked trail on October 1. Large snow fields near summit, but not on trail. Saw four other day hikers and one pair of backpackers coming from White Rock Lake. Windy at summit, but could have been much worse. All wild flowers gone, but still good water flow in Cold Stream.

Love it

Was a most awesome hike, and the perfect weather to do it. Most interesting yo find out that all the campsites beyond the gate at Lindsey campgrounds on up past Rock Lakes are free to stay at. Many of the sites are overlooking the Lakes and shaded!

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