Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

Dogs and I loved it. I'm on a 3wheeler handicap scooter and could navigate with ease.

Very nice. Easy to follow. Creek is pretty in places. Lake is beautiful. Entrance right on 89. Directions will take you to a different way in but you'd need an off road vehicle. Crowded and LOTS of dogs off leash.

Great to take your dog here. Great hike and easy for kids.

Camas Lilies are just starting to open. Maybe next week the will al be open.

backpacking
8 days ago

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

Beautiful bridge, and plenty of watering holes around the trail head. The trail head is across shirttail creek and there is some wading involved so bring proper foot wear. The trail itself is not used regularly so there are lots of fallen branches and tall grass hanging over the trail which is prime real estate for ticks.. so..

Beware! The “Tick Infestation” signs need to be taken seriously! Especially if visiting during the spring/summer months. Even with all my precautions I ended up plucking off a dozen or so from myself and my dog before they could burrow in. If you bring your pets recommend you think about getting any tick prevention medications but still do your due diligence to thoroughly tick check your dog and yourself!!

I will be back, but most likely to enjoy the watering holes and views from the bridge.

Beautiful view of the water awaits you at the turn around point of this out and back trail. You can walk along the waters edge to the
South and connect with the Emigrant Trail to make this a large loop.

mountain biking
9 days ago

Exceptional Single track flow. Well kept, beautiful views and easy access. Small berms on many of the turns make for some fast sections. Easily doable if not preferable on Hardtail but having the full squish was nice on the way back.

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.

great family hike we all had a fantastic time outstanding views

Fantastic easy hike! I agree with other reviews. Muddy meadow early in the season, great for dogs who love the water. Listed as a loop, but we didn’t see where the loop went after the lake, so we made it an out-and-back. Also, the description here says that dogs must be leashed, but I didn’t see any signs saying this, so watch out for off-leash dogs. (Most) everyone we encountered with dogs were nice enough to leash their dog when they saw us.

Great time to hike this trail. Limited muddy areas. Wildflowers are just starting.

Sadly completely covered in snow. Looks like a great trail... will check back in a month or so.

Beautiful. Lots to see but couldn’t cross the “creek” to continue through this trail. Very unpassable 2-3 weeks ago. Parked near the bridge and explored along the road and took many photos next to all the waterfalls we found ! Will come back sometime in the fall and hopefully can cross the creek then !

hiking
16 days ago

Nice short loop with great views. We brought some sandwiches and had a nice lunch while looking at the lake.

Amazing views!

Beautiful full moon in the valley last night. Glad we wore snowshoes. Trail is poorly marked. Snow made this a moderate out with elevation change but easy in.

hiking
24 days ago

I loved the first half mile - lots to see and an easy walk for old people and even the disabled. You can roll a wheelchair along without great effort and see plenty from the trail.

The sounds of Highway 49 could be distracting to some but we just accepted it and ignored it. The pond is truly beautiful!

hiking
26 days ago

I love this early season hike. Very easy. Trail was muddy in spots due to early season. The meadows are very muddy. But beautiful.

hiking
27 days ago

Breathtaking !!! My fave place soo far.

DONT TAKE IOWA HILL RD FROM COLFAX TO GET THERE!!!
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.

Super easy hike. The driving directions to the trailhead are wrong the actual trail head is right off of Highway 89. Beautiful wildflowers a little bit muddy

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.

hiking
29 days ago

We did this on our honeymoon, I was in a car accident about a month before and had back injuries so I couldn't do anything crazy but this was perfect and beautiful!

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.

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.

Fantastic views over Lake Tahoe.

This is one of my most favorite trails. I always go counterclockwise. Be mindful of the time of year you're going - because it crosses through Sugarbowl, you'll need an Uphill pass to stay on the trail during ski season.

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