Big Meadows to Dardanelles Lake

MODERATE 20 reviews
#19 of 75 trails in

Big Meadows to Dardanelles Lake is a 7.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

7.5 miles
1427 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



nature trips


trail running





wild flowers

1 month ago

5 months ago

10 months ago

Great hike. Beautiful meadow, lake, hike through sequoias and wildflowers. Saw people swimming in lake: wished I'd brought my stuff! Get to parking lot early: we got last parking spot at 10:30 on a Sat morning in mid-July.

10 months ago

10 months ago

11 months ago

Awesome hike. Beautiful Lake. The trail has some patches of snow (after the meadow and before the trail intersection), but it was easy to cross with just hiking boots. There were 3 river crossings (hopped on rocks) and at one point the trail turned into a river (lots of mud and water). Overall the trail was easily hiked. The wildflowers in the meadow were just starting to show. Loved this hike.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Friday, October 23, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The hike in was not too hard and there was plenty of downed trees to rest on along the trail, if needed. Once we arrived, the lake was amazing. We were fortunate enough to be the only ones out there and had our pick of any location to set up camp. I would highly recommend this hike!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

I would rate this as an easy hike. The trail is well marked and the lake was beautiful. The trail has some steady inclines but nothing to tedious. Great hike for the family.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Beautiful hike with a gorgeous destination. 4.5 miles one way on the GPS, with the first 2 miles going up hill. There is a nice break in the climb at .70 miles when you reach Big Meadow. My 6 yr old son had a bit of a hard time but he caries a 15 pound backpack and made me proud by powering through his longest hike to date. My wife and 10 year old daughter thought it wasn't bad. Starting off by attacking the trail up hill warms you up fast. The trail to Dardenelles is not marked but once you make a right at the maker for Round Lake go .25 miles and keep an eye on the left side and you see the trail.

We spent 2 nights and 3 days there exploring and fishing, no fish were caught due to the department of forestry netting the lake and streams to remove non-native species. They are to replant at a later date with Lahontan Cutthroat trout. Round Lake has already been restocked.

Great hike, beautiful scenery, plenty of camping spots and friendly people.

Friday, July 24, 2015

This is my new favorite hike, so beautiful! We hiked to Round Lake first, then Dardanelles. There were so many wildflowers and little streams, it was incredible! We got there late in the day and there were dark clouds rolling in, so we didn't get to stay at Dardanelles as long as we would have liked. We will definitely go back! My Garmin clocked it at 9 miles to both lakes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beautiful trail, well marked, and a wonderful 8 mile hike with my big dog. It's an easy trail; we went to Round Lake and then to Dardanelles Lake on the way back. This section of the trail was gorgeous, there were more wildflowers than anyone could imagine this time of year. There were tons of water crossings to keep the dog hydrated and cool, so the next time we go out this way we will for sure camp. This out and back hike took Roughly 3 hours.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Great hike! Beautiful and very varied terrain. We carried packs in and camped at Dardanelles Lake, then hiked out the next day. Lots of mosquitoes that (mostly) responded to DEET. Sunset at the lake was beautiful, water was warm enough to swim in, and overall we had a great time. Somehow, our GPS said 4.5 miles each way. Moderately difficult for us raw beginners with packs, but nothing we couldn't handle.

Monday, June 29, 2015

One of my favorite trails so far. The trail itself is so diverse and beautiful. The meadow is so peaceful and tranquil. You cross three different creeks by jumping rocks and it's a steep uphill. Once you reach the top you go down again to reach the lake which is a nice break, but that means you will have to go uphill on the way back too. A moderate (strenuous for beginners) trail but totally worth it. Dardanelle lake is breath taking. But bring bug spray! We did 8 miles and got bit multiple times by Mosquitos. Amazing hike.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Just backpacked this trail the other day from Carson pass to Dardanelles lake and out Big Meadow. Left one car at one end and drove back to the other. A perfect trail for the beginner backpacker, I took my sister for her first overnighter. Dardanelles lake is a beautiful, secluded place to spend the night with plenty of already established campsites. Beautiful views along the way of both canyons and fields.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This trail is absolutely beautiful. I originally learned of it from my pop. We now make a trip to hike it once a year, or do an over nighter at the lake. It can be challenging at times, depending the weight of your pack. People of all skill levels, ages, and interests hike this trail. I highly recommend this trail and I try to invite a new friend every time to come along.