Best river trails in Tahoe National Forest, California

7,050 Reviews
Explore the most popular river 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 river 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 (49)
#1 - Stevens Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 7.7 mi • Est. 4 h 5 m
Stevens Trail has little shade and can become dangerous during the summer months. Please do not attempt in extreme heat and be wary of the hot ground on your dog's paws. Be sure to bring lots of water for your hike. Note that the climb comes at the end of this hike. This trail is very scenic and rich in history - it is also on the National Register of Historic places. Built by Truman Allen Stevens it was used as a toll road for miners that needed to get from the mining town of Iowa Hill to the railroad town of Colfax. The trail was forgotten but then rediscovered in 1969 by a boyscout, Eric Kiel, and re-charted as part of his scouting project. Today it is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. Show more
#2 - Five Lakes Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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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
#3 - Shirley Canyon Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 5.6 mi • Est. 3 h 16 m
The aerial tram is not operating in 2020. Please check here for updates: https://squawalpine.com/plan-your-visit/aerial-tram-rides This beautiful route takes hikers from Olympic Valley up into the mountains above. There is a tram that hikers can use during the summer. You may choose to make this trail a point-to-point by hiking up, and then taking the tram back down to the village. Please check with Squaw Valley for more information about the tram.Show more
#4 - 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
#5 - Emerald Pools
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 0.7 mi • Est. 19 m
#6 - Sagehen Creek Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 6.0 mi • Est. 2 h 24 m
Pleasant hiking although crowded beginning when weather is nice. Nice wildflowers and birds especially near the reservoir. The fastest way to get to the end of the trail is via the Hobart Mills Rd and then off onto a dirt road for a bit. Show more
#7 - Joshua M. Hardt Memorial Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 4.0 mi • Est. 1 h 54 m
The Joshua M. Hardt Memorial Trail is a 4-mile trail encircling Sugar Pine Reservoir that can be accessed from Sugar Pine Dam, Sugar Pine Boat Ramp parking area, or Manzanita Day Use Area. Hiking and mountain biking are allowed but no motorized or equestrian use. There is a $5 parking fee at the boat ramp and the picnic area from May to September. Following along the Lake, once you cross Shirttail Creek, the trail winds between plenty of spots for fishing or swimming. There is one more bridge, over Forbes Creek, before passing the boat ramp and traveling about one mile to the dam. The trail will bring you back to the picnic area. Accessibility: Beginning in the picnic area at the north end of the lake, the first mile of the trail to the Shirttail Creek Bridge along the eastern shore is navigable for wheelchairs/mobility equipment and strollers before the grade begins to steepen and the trail surface changes from paved to a dirt surface with some rocks. This part of the trail also has an interpretive brochure available in the box during the summer months or at the Ranger Station. The paved section is typically at least four feet wide with a mostly gentle estiamted grade of 5% or less.Show more
#8 - Lake Spaulding via Pioneer Trail from Bowman Road
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 4.6 mi • Est. 2 h 30 m
#9 - Sardine Lakes
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 1.8 mi • Est. 53 m
#10 - Sawtooth Loop Trail
Tahoe National Forest
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Length: 10.2 mi • Est. 4 h 39 m
This trail leads through a beautiful forest. The route can be fairly rocky for a beginner mountain biker.Show more
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