Eagle Lake Trail is a 2.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Tahoma, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length2.4 miElevation gain456 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashkid friendlyHikingNature tripsSnowshoeingWalkingBird watchingRunningForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeMuddyRockyScrambleSnowNo shade
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Getting There

Leading into the heart of Desolation Wilderness (a permit is required), the Eagle Lake trail offers forest, lake and far reaching views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra high country. At the Eagle Falls trailhead, obtain your wilderness permit. Head SW up the trail, climbing gently at first, then ascending a steep set of stone steps. Climb the stairs about 5 minutes to the falls and the short loop trail. Cross the high bridge and enjoy the vista back down the canyon to Emerald Bay. To continue on to Eagle Lake, follow the trail gradually uphill another half mile or so until you reach a fork. The right hand trail leads to the lake, resting in a glacial cirque below North Maggies Peak (about 20-25 more minutes, this is a good hike for children). Take a swim in the cold! Eagle Lake waters, or keep going further to reach Velmas, Dicks, and Fontanillis lakes. The trail can be crowded but offers a great workout and good places to picnic near Eagle Lake on big boulders.

Parking and restrooms available, be prepared to pay a $3-5 fee.

US Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit 35 College Drive South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 (530) 543-2600, 543-2694 www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu

Directions to the Eagle Lake / Eagle Falls trailhead: From South Lake Tahoe, CA, take Highway 89 north approximately 8 miles to Eagle Falls Picnic Area on the left. There is a parking fee at this trailhead (you can also park alongside the road on the north side as well; also further up there is another paved parking area on the right). This is a very popular and can be a congested area (lower lot and roadside parking spots fill up). A bus system is available to this trailhead. A wilderness permit is required. Day hikers, pick up your permit at the self serve area at the trailhead.

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Reviews (1,877)
Photos (1,964)
Recordings (1,453)
Completed (5,132)
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Leah Honkanen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 3, 2021
HikingIcy

Beautiful trail and eagle lake is gorgeous. We had snow shoes and felt like it would have been very difficult in shoes without snow grippers minimum! (We are not accustomed to snow though)

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Ben Dova
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Sarah Audrey
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Hiking

Icy in some spots. Snow mostly packed down & easy to walk on. Doable in hiking boots—more enjoyable with crampons. Parking is the big issue here, same as always. There’s a bunch of people that just stop for photo ops of emerald bay, don’t hike so be patient & their spots should open up. Also, the restrooms are closed so go beforehand or bring a shovel.

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Adam Larkin
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HikingSnow

Heavily trafficked for sure and not necessarily the best photo ops for the falls. There are some killer Lake Tahoe shots and the hike was decent workout with all the snow. Eagle Lake was frozen over and peaceful :-)

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Aashish G
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Hiking
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Luke Hansen
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Hiking

Packed snow and wet slush

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Andrew Towarnicky
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Hiking
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Tara Bevington
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SnowshoeingGreat!

Gorgeous vista overlooking Emerald Bay! Snowshoeing was challenging during some parts that were narrow and hard packed from hiking boots but overall it was exactly as described here & a great, short trek.

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James Herbert
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Backpacking

Yaktrax were a lifesaver, and even with them I was sliding all over the place which made for some pretty sketchy downhills, but the scenery and terrain were amazing.

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Amanda Whitehurst
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HikingIcy

So beautiful! Don’t think we could have done it today without shoe spikes.

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Alejandro Garcia
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Hiking

It was extremely icey this time of year but well worth the struggle up and down. Definitely recommend bringing spikes for your boots! Not recommended for small children or wearing non hiking shoes.

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Jack Hopper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
Hiking

Definitely need some kind of traction. We had snowshoes with some good spikes and it made a big difference, super icy at some points. Lake was beautiful and we got to walk on it.

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Noy Rogers
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HikingFeeIcySnow

Amazing views in and out. Icy when we went. Trail was a bit difficult at the steep icy parts. But beautiful

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Dan Nicholson
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Hiking

This was an awesome day! I put on crampons and made my way to the frozen lake. Such a great adventure! Icy as heck in some spots.

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Andy R
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Hiking

Too icy. Had to turn around. (Snowshoes)

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Shikhar Vaibhav
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HikingIcySnow

Loved it! Did it in first week of January, so a lot of snow and icing, spiked shoes would have been better but definitely need snow boots. Come early to hike and enjoy the environment in calmness. Frozen lake was amazing to walk on but be cautious. Highly recommended.

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tucker oconnor
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Hiking

Very icy

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Wendi Hurley
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HikingGreat!IcySnow

Beautiful trail and great workout if you take it out and back to Eagle Lake. Very icy so crampons /snow shoes are a must this fine if year. So much to see: Overlooks Emerald Bay, Waterfall, bridge, Eagle Lake

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Anirudh Kumar
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HikingIcySnow
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Jade Jossen
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Snowshoeing

too crowded

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Weiwei Levy
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Hiking
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Caitlin Schneider
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Hiking

Stunning snow covered mountains!

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B Rod
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 31, 2020
Great!Icy

Made it!l w our yak trax. Very snowy and Icy this time of year.

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