Best nature trips trails in Tahoe National Forest, California

14,135 Reviews
Explore the most popular nature trips 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.
Map of nature trips trails in Tahoe National Forest, California
Park information
Park hours
Monday
12:00 am - 12:00 am
Tuesday
12:00 am - 12:00 am
Wednesday
12:00 am - 12:00 am
Thursday
12:00 am - 12:00 am
Friday
12:00 am - 12:00 am
Saturday
12:00 am - 12:00 am
Sunday
12:00 am - 12:00 am
Helpful links
Top trails (137)
#1 - Five Lakes Trail
Tahoe National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1019)
Length: 5.0 mi • Est. 2 h 46 m
SEASONAL CLOSURE: This trail is posted as closed for commercial filming during the winter months. Nestled in the foothills of the Granite Chief Wilderness peaks just north of Lake Tahoe in Olympic Valley, the Five Lakes Trail promises dramatic yet tranquil surroundings, along with a place to relax, fish, or swim. Best visited after the snow has retreated in the summer, the Five Lakes Trail is one of the easiest and most accessible routes in the Granite Chief Wilderness, so you're unlikely to have this trail to yourself. Don't be disheartened by this popular hike, however, as the lakes themselves allow for quiet and solitude. This trail offers great views, beautiful wildflowers, and plenty of room for exploration. It's like a playground but better. Stretching is encouraged since almost all of the elevation gain is accrued during the first mile or so of the hike. Once at the lakes, you can take it easy, swim, eat, and lay out, or you can continue on and hike around the ski resort, or head west or south and hit up the PCT and other trails. Ample parking can be found alongside Alpine Meadows Road, both before and after the trailhead.Show more
#2 - Mount Judah Loop Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 4.8 mi • Est. 2 h 45 m
Start from Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) trailhead off Donner Pass Road. Continue up to the Mount Judah Loop trail and Donner Summit. Wonderful ledges and views from the summit! Continue clockwise on the loop trail over Mount Judah and parts of the emigrant wagon trail. This leads back to the PCT and out to the trail head starting point.Show more
#3 - Loch Leven Lakes Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 7.7 mi • Est. 4 h 6 m
Loch Leven Lakes Trail is the perfect example of high alpine ecosystems in the Tahoe National Forest. Located directly off Interstate 80, this trail will have users hiking deep into the Tahoe National Forest in no time, in search of scenic high alpine Sierra Nevada lakes. The trail is difficult on the way up, with a lot of incline and rocky conditions. It is important to follow trail markers carefully, especially in the first mile, since it can be very easy to get off course in the beginning. The railroad tracks are really amazing to see, with plenty more climbing after them so stay hydrated. The first lake users will arrive is small but beautiful. Middle lake is gorgeous and the water was perfect for swimming in summer. It is highly recommended to camp at Upper Lake, the middle lake has bears that are not afraid to come close to tents, but people at Upper Lake did not seem to have any issues with bears. While camping is a great option to make this hike last, day hiking and short backpacking trips with friends and family makes it a challenging hike if not local to the elevation. Users absolutely recommend going to high Loch Leven and climbing up to one of the peak mountain rocks to the left side to get an amazing view of the mountains in every direction to see the third, the second and some smaller lakes. Eat lunch and take a dip in the water during summer, as the temperature is perfect when it’s a nice sunny day in August. In most warm seasons, users will also enjoy a few wildflowers that are still in bloom. While this spot is gorgeous in the summer, revisiting with snow on the ground during winter is a great option — and users often mention that the winter version is as good or better! Definitely wear microspikes for the first half and even snowshoes for the second, with hiking poles to make the adventure even better. Since the trail can be more difficShow more
#4 - Castle Peak Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 6.0 mi • Est. 3 h 38 m
One of the easiest peaks (9100') to hike in the Tahoe area and is doable as a day hike from the Bay Area. As you approach Donner Pass from the west on I-80, you can't miss Castle Peak on the left. To get to the trailhead, take the Boreal exit (between Soda Springs and Donner Lake.) From the Boreal parking lot go under the freeway and follow the road up to the right and find a place to park. If you have a 4WD with high clearance, you could follow the dirt road and shorten the hike by a mile or two. Start the hike by following the dirt road. In a mile and half the trail will start to climb and you'll reach a junction at Castle Pass. The PCT crosses this junction. Turn right and follow the ridgeline up to Castle Peak. From the ridgeline you look to your left (north) and see a beautiful green valley and ahead and to the right you can see your destination. Simply follow the well defined trail to the top. The climb gets quite steep (1300' gain, mostly in the last 2 miles) and hiking poles can be useful. If you have the time, you can also hike over to Andesite Peak or Basin Peak.Show more
#5 - Tahoe Rim Trail to Picnic Rock Viewpoint
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 3.1 mi • Est. 1 h 45 m
Great day hike off the TRT to the Spur Trail Viewpoint (Picnic Rock) often thought of as the best views for the least amount of work. Moderate gain in elevation with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and surrounding peaks makes this a must do short hike in the Tahoe area. The trailhead is up the hill from Northstar, between Truckee and Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe. Park in the lot on 267, or if you have 4WD or a higher clearance vehicle, you can also drive a ways up the dirt road across from the parking area to another lot. The trail is smooth single track and can easily be extended into a longer hike if you stay on the Rim Trail. If you just want to go to the viewpoint, about a mile in you will see a tree with an arrow shaped sign that says "Picnic Rock Lake View" letting you know you are almost there. There is no water along the trail, but there is a bit of shade to keep you cool on warmer days. Show more
#6 - Stateline Lookout
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 1.7 mi • Est. 40 m
This paved trail begins in Nevada and ends in California at an old fire lookout with beautiful views of the Lake and mountains. Although this trail is paved, it is steep with a grade of 8% to 12% for much of the trail so it is not considered wheelchair or stroller friendly. It typically has a width of at least two feet. It may be too steep or narrow for some manual wheelchair or stroller users without assistance.Show more
#7 - Donner Tunnels
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 5.1 mi • Est. 2 h 31 m
Make sure to bring a flashlight for the tunnels!Show more
#8 - Paradise Lake Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 14.9 mi • Est. 7 h 45 m
An overnight backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail in Truckee, California. Paradise Lake is a classic Sierra Nevada lake with gorgeous sunsets and a pristine lake full of trout. This overnight backpacking trip is easily accessible from Highway 80 and follows parts of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Tahoe National Forest. A fire permit is required to start a campfire in an already established fire ring. You can get the permit for free at any Forest Service, BLM, or CAL FIRE offices. Or you can get one online here: http://www.preventwildfireca.org/Show more
#9 - Euchre Bar Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 7.3 mi • Est. 4 h 38 m
This is the shortest of the nine access trails into the North Fork American River canyon, and the only one with a bridge over the river. It can be done either as an out-and-back trail to the bridge, or a rim-to-rim trail via Dorer Ranch Road, where it passes some old mining equipment.Show more
#10 - Emerald Pools
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 0.7 mi • Est. 19 m
Showing results 1 - 10 of 137