DISTANCE
7.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1358 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
6 days ago

I just hiked this trail yesterday, and oh my goodness, it is the most beautiful trail I've hiked! This is coming from someone who hasn't spent a whole lot of time in the Sierras, but still, this was truly amazing!

It was really cool to start out on a portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail. I didn't know about that through-hike until I found this on All Trails, but it's cool to imagine people hiking all the way around Tahoe Lake. We were content with Dardanelles though. The parking lot was pretty big and had restrooms, but no running water. We arrived around 10:30am and we were able to find a parking spot in the lot. It was pretty full, though. If you want to be sure that parking won't be an issue, you may want to come an hour earlier if you're summer hiking on a Saturday.

The trail itself was sensational! I couldn't believe the beauty! At the very beginning, you do have to run across highway 89, but once that's over it is wilderness all around! there's a steep-ish incline with rocks and roots. It was adventurous! The trail evens out once you get to the big meadow, and that's where you get your first glimpse of the snow-capped mountains. The meadow is so serene and peaceful. After that is forest with many beautiful wildflowers. Some flowers were so cool looking! The stream crossings were easy. There were conveniently placed rocks to step on while crossing. Only one was a little tricky. But wow, was the river gorgeous!

As we got closer to the lake, we reached a patch of huge granite stones with bright pink flowers growing on them! The rocks were so cool-looking! They weren't steep, so we climbed up on them for a gorgeous view. It was a great spot to take a small break. Very safe.

We finally reached Dardanelles Lake and it just took my breath away. I couldn't take my eyes off of the scene: dark blue waters against a big mountain of granite, with snow-capped Sierras in the background. It was remarkable. There were 1-2 other small groups of people, but the lake was big enough to give us a very secluded spot along the shore. Even though it was breezy and the water was cold, I still couldn't resist jumping in! The water felt great after the sunny hike! There are leeches though! A little one attached itself to my sister's leg. It was really easy to pull off, though.

It was so hard to leave the lake, and eventually we did. Walking back in the late afternoon was lovely, because the lighting was just right against the trees and the leaves.

Throughout the hike, we ran into friendly hikers and their cute dogs, but it wasn't crowded. We were alone for the majority of the trail.I whole-heartedly recommend this hike! I was the happiest I'd been in a long time on this trail.