Fallen Leaf Lake Trail

MODERATE 122 reviews

Fallen Leaf Lake Trail is a 8.1 mile moderately trafficked loop 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 accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
8.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
606 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

private property

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful views but this not a “trail” per se. West side of lake is hardly marked and in some spots pretty treacherous. Had to shimmy down a trail near a small water fall and trail was hardly marked. Most of the trail follows or is on paved roads through neighborhoods so if you’re looking to get away, this isn’t the spot. West side of the lake is not moderate...the difficulty of the trail in that spot coupled with the altitude makes it tough. An out and back to either side for a couple of miles is moderate, after that, good luck.

1 month ago

So this is definitely an awesome spot for about a mile in each direction from the trailhead. But it’s extremely hard to hike around the entire lake. I did it but following the trail to the left landed me trespassing. I walked about 2 miles on a paved road in a neighborhood. Someone stopped to ask me how I got there. Then I had to walk through a summer camp to get back to the trail. It was clearly marked from that point until about the 6 mile range in where it became overgrown and difficult to navigate. I wouldn’t recommend this as an all the way around the lake hike due to the trespassing, paved road, poorly marked trails and frankly in the summer it will be too overgrown to complete. But it was a super beautiful lake!

hiking
3 months ago

This was a nice hike with a variety of terrain: quiet wooded trail (North/Northwest), steep and rocky (West), and paved road along nice cabins (South/Southeast). As others have noted it can be hard to follow in places. Specifically about half way around the West side we lost the trail and you eventually find a paved road going past the firehouse and other cabins. Also about half way around the East side you leave the road and walk through some private property to again find the trail. It’s really helpful to have an offline map downloaded on your phone to stay on track.

There was a little bit of packed snow and ice in places but otherwise conditions were very good.

hiking
4 months ago

Such a beautiful and tranquil place! It took me 1.5hrs to hike 2mi. Not because it was difficult- by any means- but, because I kept stopping to soak in the beauty of the environment! Listening to dogs splash in the water, ducks quacking, birds chirping, dip my toes in the cold lake water and filled my lungs with fresh mountain air! It was amazing. Not too many people, either. The trail itself was all parts snowy, muddy, dry, contained puddles, etc. I did this hike in tights and hiking shoes. Definitely recommend if you want to have quiet day hike.

snowshoeing
4 months ago

I went around the lake on 1/28/18. I was hopeful about the snow from a couple days prior but had to take my snowshoes off after about 10 minutes. There’s not enough snow for them to be necessary. This lake is a gem, you don’t have to hike long before seeing amazing views! Definitely recommend!

5 months ago

Beautiful hike but as others have said below - the trail is not marked. Starting at the trailhead and going counter clockwise, we made it all the way around the lake in 3 hours, but we were going pretty fast as the sun was going down. A little icy in some parts but once you get to the road past the rock gullies/creek it's all a road. Would be a better hike in summer.

6 months ago

Wasn't able to do entire walk due to hail storm but locals told me last winter kinda ruined the trail so we double backed on the road. Bummed we didn't do the entire hike but had 6yr old with me so overall awesome day. was able to eat ice cream, rent a kayak and play on the beach before the storm. Tried to wait out storm but was getting late. People at the store gave us trash bags to start our hike back and offered to find us a ride. On our way back a gentleman from public works dept gave us a ride back in. Little crazy but overall awesome day and made some great memories with my little one.

trail running
6 months ago

Grand views, especially now when the mountains are just crusted with snow. The trail really isn’t that hard to follow - you follow the blue markings on the trees. There are some forks in the trail but as long as you stay close to the lake you won’t get lost. I only went 2.5 miles in (5 miles round-trip) because the trail was blocked by private property. Apparently if you go right (near the fire house) the trail picks up again, but really it’s fine just turning around there.

7 months ago

The trial is easy. You walk around the beautiful lake with peace and harmony.

7 months ago

Great views, but poorly marked trail.

hiking
7 months ago

Easy trail ! Beautiful, end of October 2017

hiking
8 months ago

We took the loop starting from the right where we passed an old ruin house with a chimney still standing which was very pretty. Going ahead about 1/4 the way it was hard to find the path. you are walking on a road with houses. if you take both forks on the road to the right you'll dead end to the last house on the road, walk as far down to the end and look right. there's a questionable over growing path, go up just a little ways (a yard or two maybe) and hidden to the left the trail continues just over 2 tree logs on the ground. the path is tight but visible which leads to a rocky well recognized path. there must be another way onto it because we T onto the path. we made it half way around the lake in 3 hrs. the path crossed a small downhill creek crossing and fallen but working power line. it wasn't strenuous. we ended up coming across a private large camp property near 1/2 way. we took to the road and came across a cafe we had lunch at. I suggest eating and having a drink there. we did not make the time we wanted and found someone awesome enough to boat us back across. we weren't sure how to find the path on the other side either so we probably would have just walked the road. no one seemed to know about where to find the paths or kept saying there wasn't one. though, I bet there's one on the other side too but we just didn't have the time to find it. great and pretty lake.

8 months ago

Very poorly marked trail, easily get lost I could not i a way to go all the way around the lake. Talking to locals got the same answer, the trail does not go all the way around the lake.

hiking
9 months ago

hiked counter-clockwise from the campground with my dog -- ended the hike with a dip in the lake! varied terrain, fair amount of shade and beautiful views of the lake. as others have noted, this particular path isn't always the most obvious trail. had to keep checking my phone to stay on the red line and got off-course a few times. on the south side I walked through sierra camp (refilled my water), passed the fire station (check out the little chapel), then a lot of road which had a fair amount of traffic with narrow margins but got to see various lake homes. re-joined the trail going down what looks like a private drive. no mosquitos in late august.

9 months ago

I tried to do this loop today- unsuccessfully. This trail was moderately well maintained- but incredibly poorly marked. Once I got away from the camp Ground I had to just trust my gut in determining which forks of the trail to take.

I started from just east of the camp ground trail head. I headed west around the lake. About two and a half miles around the lake. the trail just ends at the Fallen Leaf fire department. After walking through a few private lots trying trying to pick the trail up again, I was redirected to road. Again, there were no markers so I just had to guess where to go. About half a mile down Cathedral Road I took the fork closest to the shore line on to Roatini (sp?). The trail looked like it picks up again, unfortunately I was quickly met with a sign that said "trail not maintained for public use." So I just turned around.

I would totally do this hike again- it was so pretty and there was a lot of shade. I wouldn't do it again alone, and would first stop by a ranger station to talk about how best to navigate the trail.

hiking
9 months ago

This is was an amazing hike. I couldn't have done it without referring to the downloaded map, as some sections were hard to follow. But I referred to the map often & it kept me on track. The hike was beautiful. Got my heart rate up in spots but overall was not too strenuous. Realize a couple of miles in that I forgot snacks, so I was very happy when I walked through stanford's sierra camp & got ice cream. Also saw lots of good birds - ospreys, chickadees, warblers, grouse, robins, jays, common mergansers. I recommend doing it counterclockwise from the start point. It was nice to be in the wilderness first and then on the roads. The only tricky spot is where it shows you to go on a road that is marked private. Do it - you are on a trail again soon. The last mile is hard to follow, just follow the line and stick close to the water and you will see a primitive trail. It's there! Hope to come back and do this again sometime.

Note to Elyse (above): next time follow the map exactly. Follow the red line. You can keep going when you see the "trail not maintained for public use." It's still okay to go, you will just have a couple rough spots on the trail. It's doable!

hiking
10 months ago

I didn't hike , we literally walked to the water fall which is beautiful but too easy.

10 months ago

Loved the views of this trail. Not a ton of elevation change. Half the hike was along a road with lake houses. Cool to see the homes but took away from the trail.

trail running
10 months ago

Managed to get around the lake, but lost the trail a few times. Some good scenery. The rock cliff near the waterfall make a good dive when the water levels are high.

11 months ago

Trail was great and longer than 8 miles - poorly marked - missed the trail entrance of the last 3 miles and walked back on the road.

hiking
11 months ago

Very hard to stay on trail- not well marked.

hiking
11 months ago

The trail near the campground is downright beautiful and a nice place to stretch your legs for an hour or two. But this is not a good hike. Just after the dam, on north end, your choice is either a road not too close or a difficult trail to keep. Most of the southeast end is actually hiking along a road, which is interesting to see the residential water-side homes. But there is also a ton of aggressive mosquitos due to many resting water holes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Great hike , our dogs did it with ease. Great views, lots of wild animals, birds and enjoyed every minute .

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

We stayed at the campground. I would not recommend hiking around the whole lake. After crossing the dam, it's not well marked. Hard to get lost if you stay by the shoreline!

hiking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Varied trail, across waterfalls, rocky sections, shrubbery and paved sections. The marsh crossing near the end was not the best. Shrubbery was overgrown and scratched our legs quite a bit. Insect repellent is a good idea as mosquitoes were quite bad on the side of the lake where the waterfalls were. Signage would have been a good idea, as the trail was not very well marked, and we deviated a few times as the way forward was not always easy to see.

walking
Saturday, May 27, 2017

It should get five stars just for the gorgeous scenery. It's a magical place to see. We went there 27May17 and tried to go toward the right at the trail head but couldn't see a defined trail after the bridge. If we didn't have a 4month old strapped to us we would have poked around a bit more. We doubled back to start going left from the start of the trail head and it was a little more clear and had great views--but again didn't go very far due to carrying a babe. We'll definitely go back to continue exploring later.

(To be clear we weren't trying to have an amazing all out hike hike, just a little walk with nice things to look at. I agree with some of the other reviews that if there were signage and clearer trail/upkeep then it would be awesome for a great workout.)

hiking
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Beautiful lakeside and hillside scenery but the trail is not well marked so hard to find the way in places. We hiked May 22. Bushes on trail were very overgrown and we got lots of surface cuts trying to bushwhack through. On south side of the lake, due to heavy runoff the westernmost waterfall was very difficult to cross. We had to bushwhack uphill and make a dangerous crossing before slicing up our legs on the heavy brush to get back down to the trail.
Overall this trail needs signage and extensive clearing of brush and will then be a wonderful hike.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Made the entire 8 mile loop around the lake. Things got a little hairy on the southwest corner, but was so worth it!

hiking
Friday, April 28, 2017

I planned to be here for a morning start to the day, pulled in at 9:00am in late April and it was closed, I thought about parking and walking in any how but they were conducting prescribed burns. Chose to try a different route as forest maintenance is so important. Will try it again later in the season.

snowshoeing
Sunday, March 12, 2017

Great snowshoeing, however I can not find crossing OD cathedral creek

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