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Gilmore Lake and Mount Tallac Loop

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Desolation Wilderness

Gilmore Lake and Mount Tallac Loop is a 8.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 8.9 mi Elevation gain 3,162 ft Route type Loop
Dog friendly Hiking Forest Lake Views
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (62)
Photos (1627)
Recordings (50)
Completed (126)
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Paige J
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 3, 2020

Mike and Jack explained it great. The Glen Alpine trail is gorgeous and I didn’t see one person Saturday AM because everyone goes to the Mt Tallac lot (an assumption because at the top there were ~25 people at 10:30 AM). The complaints I have are that after the beautiful peaceful Gilmore Lake you reach Mt Tallac which was full of hikers that were SO LOUD and annoying. I tried to enjoy breakfast with a view but I felt like I was at a bar at happy hour. I could hear conversations in English and other languages and it totallyhkilled the vibe. Also or the descent, I wish I backtracked and not took the steep, rocky route (that definitely took longer than GA would have.

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jack fargen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 13, 2020
HikingOff trailOver grownRockyWashed out

Go back the way you came!! The way up was excellent. Gilmore Lake is a great place to stop and hang out. The trail is difficult but completely do able. The way back down was a different story. When going back down go past Gilmore Lake. The other trail is significantly harder and dangerous. Offline maps are a must. The trail completely slide off the mountain in a number of places and required some rock climbing to find/ get back on the trail. The trail that is plotted on the map is not much of a trail. Its a 1 foot wide path on the side of a mountain with a good 1000 foot fall to the bottom. The trail is also very over grown in places that makes it very easy to get lost if you are ill prepared. This trail would have 4 stars if it was not for this part.

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Mike Smedes
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020

Writing my first ever review to reiterate what some people have said here: go back down the way you went up. My girlfriend and I are very experienced backpackers and it was honestly a bit scary the last 2 miles. The trail just cliffs out at points and it’s not at all obvious where you’re supposed to go. We were running low on daylight at that point and it was not a good time. It would have likely taken just as long (probably even less time) to just backtrack the 5.8 from the summit than to keep losing the trail and almost die a few times in order to save a few very rocky and slippery miles. I would also add that having the offline maps probably saved our lives, at one point I was just sliding down a cliff on what looked like the trail, then used the offline maps to realize I was a good 50 feet below the trail.

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DAVID PEAVEY
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 18, 2020
Hiking

I think it's more than 8.9 mi. it's also a rough trail. coming back the trail goes to several boulder size shale making it really difficult to travel. and the trail can be easily lost thanks to all trails for notifying me.

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Timothy Felker
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Hiking
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Brian Longley
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Backpacking
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Jayzack Leonard
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Hiking
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Alicia Werner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
HikingBugs
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Wandering Brady
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

The in route via Glen Alpine is amazing with shade and plenty of water sources. The route back via Mt. Tallac trail was definitely a lot less traveled and I wouldn’t recommend it for some one not experienced. Very steep single tracks on rock faces and the trail is gone at some points so we had to make our own to connect either climbing rocks or cutting through brush. It is much shorter than any other route though.

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WannaGuac Amole
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 27, 2020
HikingBlowdownOff trailRocky

I want to preface this review with we loved the first 5.6 miles of this hike. But we nearly died starting Mile 7.2 where the trail disappearing into a rock slide. I strongly advise against going down this way. You are better off retracing your path and going back. The good: We started our hike with a little hail and rain, resting before the forest and running away from mosquitoes. It was worth it to reach the lake, where we camped for the night and swam in the following morning. We then ascended to Mt Tallac, leaving our packs for the last 0.2 miles and reaching the summit. It had great views of Lake Tahoe and fallen leaf creek. The bad: we began our descent and walked through the stone quarry splitting off and heading to the trail which goes by a steep valley. The trail gave way to about 300 feet of loose rocks nestled beside bramble bushes. We slid down them for 1500 feet following the water going next to the trail path and ended up off trail. We hiked for 5 hours off trail going through bushes, quarries of rocks the size of a small sofa and finally reached back on trail at mile 8.4. I would not recommend doing this part of the trail, we ran into another hiker who also got lost about 3 hours in, so we are not the only people who suffered. If you value your lives I would not descend this way.

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WannaGuac Amole
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 25, 2020
Hiking

Never gonna do it again

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Mike Chandler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

My wife and I hiked from Fallen Leaf to Gilmore Lake and back. So, it was an out and back, not a loop. It was 9 miles. Long and steep inclines so be prepared. We are in our 50's and made it, but it was slow going. Loved the hike. Jumping in Lake Gilmore was refreshing ... but cold.

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Alice Wang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeRockyScramble

Early July hike to summit. Anti-clockwise. Magnificent view of both Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake. 3.75 hours up and 4.5 hours down. Rocky, steep and challenging conditions in places. Large areas of fairytale-like meadows above Gilmore lake with wild endless flowers and snow covered mountains in the backdrop. The lake is perfectly serene and offered welcoming feet cooling opportunity. Dramatic boulder landscape below the lake in Desolation Wilderness. Overall harder than moderate. Incredibly inspiring hike of many variations. Bring bug spray and apply sunscreen often. Exposed.

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Emily Clopp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
HikingScramble

Did the counterclockwise route. Shorter, but steeper ascent. Also wouldn’t recommend this particular route if you are scared of heights or experience vertigo. The first ~1.5 miles is just straight up and basically narrow trail on the side of a mountain. While the other routes are slightly longer to get to the top of Mt Tallac, they seem to be a wider trail. Still a beautiful hike, with great views the entire route. The view at the top is worth it! Also a popular route with limited parking and a one lane road in and out, so recommend going early.

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John Morrison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2020
Hiking

At 8:30 on Friday we got the last parking spot, then did the counterclockwise loop. The trail up was easy to follow with nothing too complicated for experienced hikers, and being very steep it gets you up to the summit quicker than the other options. It was not busy until we joined the Tallac Trail, and on the summit there was the usual throng. The trail down via Gilmore Lake (very buggy) was pretty, but it is long, and being quite rocky in places it was hard to make up time. Below Gilmore we met a constant stream of backpacking groups heading out for Desolation. The Gilmore Lake Loop is a great way to experience Tallac, but arrive early and be prepared for a slow drive in on the paved but rough and narrow road. If you’ve only climbed Tallac on the Mt. Tallac Trail, give this one a try.

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Alice Wang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeRockyScramble

Early July hike to summit with Jill. Magnificent view. Anti-clockwise. 3.75 hours up and 4.5 hours down. Rocky, steep and challenging conditions in places. Large areas of fairytale meadows above Gilmore lake with snow covered mountains in the backdrop. The lake is perfectly serene and offered welcoming feet cooling opportunity. Dramatic boulder landscape below the lake. Overall harder than moderate, but incredibly inspiring hike of many variations.

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MB Erickson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingBugsRockyScramble

Incredible hike! Gorgeous views and terrain the whole time. Good workout. Definitely go counterclockwise to tackle the steepest part first - thanks for the pro tips, AllTrails fam! If you do go counterclockwise, note that there is an unmarked trail ~1-1.5 miles in (around 8,100 ft elevation where the trail majorly changes direction from NW and jogs to NE) that we accidentally took and had to backtrack to get back on the trail. We called it a “bonus hike” - it was still super gorgeous. You’ll know you’ve gone off trail if you traverse over a small creek.

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