Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake via Tahoe Rim Trail

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Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake via Tahoe Rim Trail is a 8.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length8.4 miElevation gain1,358 ftRoute typeOut & back
CampingHikingNature tripsSnowshoeingBird watchingRunningDog friendlyForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlife
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Nevada Commission on Tourism, 401 N. Carson Street , Carson City, NV, 89701

Directions from South Lake Tahoe: Take Highway 50 southwest to Highway 89. Go south on 89 to the Big Meadows parking lot on the left. Follow the trail at the lower end of the parking lot approximately 200 yards, where it intersects with the highway. Cross the highway cautiously and look for the trailhead signboard.

Weather
UV Index
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Reviews (387)
Photos (565)
Activities (325)
Completed (732)
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Christine Flack
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Hiking

Gorgeous. We did this early October. Love the aspen. Lakes are gorgeous

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Tara Boehm
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HikingGreat!

Love this trail- I think Dardanelles Lake is unique and interesting compared to the other alpine lakes in the area.

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Alana Forster
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HikingGreat!
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Brad Friederichs
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Hiking
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Charlotte Sally
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Hiking

Beautiful hike! Decent elevation gain but not bad if you pace it. A couple of streams to cross over, overall gorgeous and fun hike!

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Michelle Polli
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HikingGreat!
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S A
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Hiking

Well maintained and very busy trailhead on a weekend. Gorgeous and dog friendly!

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Andrew P
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Hiking

Arrived at 10, parked on the highway. Came for the foliage and wasn’t disappointed!

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Betty T
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Hiking

Great hike with beautiful aspens!!

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Kate Mattis
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Hiking

What a great time to hike this trail. We started at 9am and a light jacket kept the chill off. The aspens are really in their splendor now. The hike is moderate and very few steep inclines. I would say it is more of a steady climb. We are locals so altitude didn’t really affect us.

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JoAnna Golden
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Hiking
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Tom Severn
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Hiking

Beautiful Aspens!

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s park
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Backpacking
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John Galvin
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Hiking
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Peter Vaughan-Vail
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Hiking
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Debbie Paul
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HikingNo shade

Love love love this trail! This was not easy, and it’s going to be an all day thing- but this lake was per majestic beauty. The elevation might get you if you’re from Sac like I am. I’m pretty fit- I’m actually a fitness trainer and trail runner-we were able to do it- slow and steady- but it will tire you out. With that said, we had the whole lake to ourselves for about 45 min and saw maybe 10 people out and back. Nice fall colors

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Tim Hickey
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Hiking
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phillip Walton
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Backpacking

Incline can get you if qre not prepared. Lake is beautiful gets crowded. no fish and leaches in lake

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Andy R
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Hiking

Nice big meadow feature. Nice lake. Nice river crossings.

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Anna Baumann
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HikingGreat!

It was an easy hike for most of the way. A few steep inclines toward the peak of the trail, but the lake was beautiful and worth it to hike all the way.

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Kelsey Wallace
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful hike with an incline from the get go. We arrived around 7:30 and parking was already full so we parked on the highway. We saw a bunch of people but the views are worth it. May as well go to Round Lake as well, it’s just before!

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Ramona Swenson
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Hiking

Lovely trail along riparian zone of willows and aspen up to peaceful Dardanelles Lake. Great spot for our 2nd night of my first backpacking trip

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Ryan DeMasters
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Hiking

gorgeous. Definitely an uphill battle to the halfway on both ends but definitely doable.

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Shannon Barnes
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BackpackingGreat!

Great trail with a nice elevation gain right from the start. This was my third hike here and to round lake and it’s beautiful. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you come across campers already set up, please be considerate and don’t set up your campsite right next to them! It’s a large enough lake for everyone. We had a family of 8 set up within 20 feet of us and it was a real bummer. If we hadn’t just set up everything we would have moved as another group did that they moved close to. We were stargazing and all we could hear was the teenagers chatting. The second night was better because we had more quite. This is a busy destination on the weekends. I would visit again durning the week for more solitude.

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Brad Friederichs
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Hiking
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Mengru Luo
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Hiking
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Nicole Barrett
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Hiking

Got to the trailhead just before 8am on Sunday, lot was full but there were some spots along the highway. Didn't see too many people on the hike to the lake, maybe 4-5 groups coming back from camping overnight. Lovely trail, mostly under the shade of the trees, especially in the morning. One thing to note - bikers & horse riders use parts of this trail too! Lake was cool & refreshing, hung out there for about two hours swimming and eating lunch. A couple of groups scattered around campsites at the lake but not too busy, may have been busier earlier in the weekend. Definitely less shady on the way back, as the sun was more overhead, but its also mostly downhill, so the hike back took less time than the hike in!

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Bernie Milligan
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HikingGreat!

Great trail, lots of shade,easy hike in most places...water was nice and warm...not to crowded during the week,did a two nights camp over...

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Jeff Thompson
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Hiking
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Zee Husain
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Hiking

Fun hike to the lake and close to round lake so might as well go to both while you’re at it!

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