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Glen Alpine Loop is a 13.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 13.5 mi Elevation gain 2,290 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Fishing Hiking Nature trips Forest Lake Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Scramble
Description
Waypoints (0)

This 12 mile loop starts at the Fallen Leaf Lake Tamarack Trail Head and intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail. Follow the PCT past Lake Aloha, Heather Lake and Susie Lake. Take the Glen Alpine Trail back to Fallen Leaf. Trailhead approximate address: Fallen Leaf Lake, Glen Alpine Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (56)
Photos (1515)
Recordings (39)
Completed (153)
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Weichun Fong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 2, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Hiked clockwise direction on 11/01/2020. Weather was good. The first climb is tough but fun, the trail is not hard to find with little help of offline gps map. The view of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe is amazing.

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Kathy Fanning
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2020
Hiking
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Kate McElfresh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 23, 2020
Hiking

Go clockwise. Initial climb is the only difficult bit about this hike, even that is over in an hour. Rest is moderate. Download the map. There is zero signal and the initial climb is hard to follow. Aloha is drained but the other two lakes are nice. I strongly recommend adding a 2 mile detour to add lake of the woods. It was the highlight of the hike. Check out my recording to see the route I took. I lost GPS quite often so the recording says 11 miles but I think it was closer to 15. We started at 10am and back at car by 5. Took it slow and spent ages at the lake of the woods as the water was too good to not go for a dip. Got through about 2 litres of water.

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Lily Tang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 20, 2020
Hiking

We did this loop on Saturday, Oct 17, 2020 in the clockwise direction because we wanted to get the ascent out of the way in the beginning. The almost 3 mile stretch of ascent was a little overgrown at parts but I didn’t find the trail difficult to follow at any point. It seems like everyone describing the horrors of this loop did it in the other direction, so I’m going to recommend doing it clockwise with the Tamarack trail first. Besides the ascent, the trail grade was moderate. That being said, I found this trail to be an anticlimactic grind, mostly because Lake Aloha was disappointing. The water levels were extremely low so the lake was really many smaller lakes that were significantly far apart. We had to walk quite a bit between each small lake to get to the water. But overall, this trail is pretty scenic. There were many other lakes on this trail, and the shrubbery in the fall turned beautiful golden and red. I do think that if I wanted to backpack at Lake Aloha, I’d rather hike in from Echo Lake than do this loop again.

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George O
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 20, 2020
Hiking

I did this loop on 10-16-20 and would NEVER do this again. The hike is nice until you leave the PCT and head up a ridge toward the Triangle Lake junction. The trail is not highly visible. After the signed junction for Triangle Lake, the trail starts to head down a very steep canyon with heavy brush and large rocks. You're continually stopping and trying to figure out which way to go. Several portions are down steep stream beds full of rocks and covered with brush. It would would brutal with a large pack and foolish to go in reverse uphill. You're literally continually guessing where the trail is? The trail is very desolate and not heavily traveled and a wrong turn could put you in serious trouble and you could have a VERY difficult time finding your way out of the large canyon due to the heavy brush and low visibility. This trail should not be on the map as it's very dangerous and remote. There's a spur trail that heads to Angola Peak, and you might take this trail thinking you're on the main trail as there's no signage. The only way this trail should be traveled is if you have a good GSP/navigation program that can help you find your way. Any amount of snow coverage and you're guaranteed to get lost and hiking it during runoff season will have you walking through streams. I would not hike down this again. The trail terminates at the bridge just before the parking lot for the Glen Alpine trail. This 2.2 mile section will hour 2-3 hours on a good day as you're going very slow using your poles and trying not to get hurt climbing over the rocks.

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Natalia Z
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Gorgeous views of the mountains and lakes. Lake waters were so clear, we saw lots of fish. We went counterclockwise and were pretty tired by the time we reached Tamarack piece. Oh joy! Jumping and scrambling was so much fun. Relatively few people on a sunny Saturday in October. Fall colors are amazing!

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Kevin 312
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

Getting there and parking can be a challenge during summer but was easy on a fall weekday. Did the loop clockwise. Beginning of trail is overgrown at points. Then you see many lakes, with Lake Aloha as the climax.

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Michael Karoly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful views, wonderful lakes, many peaks, difficult return trail

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Rob Furtney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 4, 2020
Hiking

A tiny bit smokey. Initial climb is steep but efficient. Views are mind blowing. Great day.

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Trevor Rice
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
BackpackingGreat!Over grownRocky

Oh man. What a trail! So many beautiful spots. We did it counter clockwise heading towards Susie and Heather first. The trial all the way to the Tamarack trail was gorgeous and not difficult at all. The first portion of the tamarack trail heading east towards triangle lake/the trail head was steep but not hard and worth the amazing views of tamarack and echo lakes. The initial descent after the crest was again not hard. Very nice through beautiful woods. The steep descent into the valley with the towards the trail head was definitely challenging as we had pretty heavy large packs. Steep, rocky, lots of bush/vegetation, can lose the trail at a couple points if not paying attention. But amazing! Wouldn’t recommend this for someone who isn’t in shape and/or of they’re carrying a heavy/large pack. Packs make it challenging to negotiate some of the overgrown spots. Some trail acrobatics is required. Would totally recommend it otherwise!

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Lindsay Moss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Did clockwise - was nice to just cruise down after a short ascent. Definitely would go other direction with a pack. The trail starts off pretty over-grown and unbeaten, so I wasn’t expecting much by way of markers. I didn’t notice a cairn when I mistook a rockslide for the path and found myself off-trail for a while. Attaching my embarrassing recording as a cautionary tale :/ I lost count of lakes, so that’s an automatic 5 stars.

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Angela Atchley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

First 1.5 miles is steep and the trail is difficult. Climb 1500 feet in elevation. Once on the saddle, the trail is rolling and nice to Lake Aloha, Heather Lake and Susie Lake. Itis a bit rocky. The trail down Glen Alpine is nice,

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Josh James
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 13, 2020
BackpackingBugsOver grownRocky

On the second day of our one night backpacking trip, we hiked from our camping spot near the northeast corner of Lake Aloha back to the Glen Alpine Trailhead via the PCT and Tamarack Trail. The PCT was relatively flat and bug free from Lake Aloha to the Tamarack Trail Junction. After turning left onto the Tamarack trail we started to gain elevation and were treated to great views of Echo Lake and Lake Tahoe. The trail then dropped down into some meadows where we were unfortunately swarmed by mosquitoes. The trail then became steep/overgrown and followed a creek as we dropped down the North Side of Echo Peak back to Glen Alpine. We got great views of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe but would have enjoyed this portion more if we weren't carrying large packs and contending with the vegetation that covered much of the trail. I would recommend the Tamarack trail, but please bring bug spray and do with a smaller pack or as a day hike like many others on this site. Probably also easier to hike up it than down it like we did.

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Andrew Powell-Morse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 23, 2020
HikingBugsMuddy

I just went along this route for my first ever backpacking trip. It was absolutely beautiful and the hike was very cool. TL;DR highly recommend, don’t fear tamarack trail, bring lots of bug spray. We started by taking a detour to half moon lake. It felt incredibly isolated and I don’t think we saw anyone else on the trail the whole time. Beautiful place to camp in the shadow of several peaks and with a nice waterfall nearby. Tons of marmots checking us out as well. Sleeping was somewhat cold but nothing crazy. We then headed off to lake of the woods. Susie and heather lakes were both gorgeous. I preferred heather for its unique trail - a rocky path right on the rim of the lake. After that was lake aloha which lives up to the hype. We lunched and swam here before continuing. Lake of the woods was just beautiful. So picturesque. It was a very warm place to camp and we did not even need our sleeping bags. So many gnats and mosquitos. I will definitely bring more bug spray next time. Day three we headed towards the Tamarack trail. After reading all the terrifying reviews, we feared it would be too difficult but said we would finish it no matter what. On the way there were some gorgeous views of the Echo lakes. Was Tamarack a challenge? Yes. Was it the impossible hellholle described by other reviewers? No. Keep your AllTrails downloaded map open and find the trail that way if you lose it. It is very steep and could be rough on the knees if you’re not careful...so be careful. It was not very overgrown, and the water was pretty much just a trickle. We even saw a family with three young children heading up tamarack no problem. Otherwise it was a very adventurous way to end an awesome trip! I definitely recommend you try this loop.

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Alayna Mills
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 12, 2020
HikingMuddyOff trailOver grownRockyScrambleSnow

I did the Glen Alpine loop plus a little extra to Lake Tamarack and then met up with Tamarack Trail vía the Triangle lake trail. Conditions at Susie Lake were snowy and I had to cross several snow drifts headed towards lake aloha. These were doable with hiking boots and trekking poles. Trails were still well maintained with exception of Tamarack trail. Tamarack trail was pretty open for the first third headed down but quickly became very steep and very overgrown in places. Snow run off overtook the trail as well which caused several areas to feel washed out and harder to traverse. Had to take my pack off to get down some of the rocks as well. Was able to figure out the trail using GPS (thanks all trails) but definitely a very hard trail especially right now.

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Kevin Calhoun
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 1, 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsFloodedIcyMuddyOff trailOver grownRockyScrambleSnowWashed out

After reading some reviews of this loop, i decided to give it a try, starting on the Tamarack Trail and making my way towards Lake Aloha clockwise. I chose this due to the many reviews stating this section of the trail is not only extremely difficult to follow, but also quite steep and tough to navigate, so if needed i could turn back early on. First off, the start of the trail is quite reasonable, and i was thinking these reviews were absolutely ridiculous, but the trail quickly became a waterfall with gushing water and a steep trail, as well as many moments where you are struggling to push past overgrown bush while attempting to climb, which can seem a bit scary. However, i was able to complete this section, and did not seem to lose the trail until the snow completely covered it close to the top. The views from this section are phenomenal, and i was quite excited to be hiking that side of desolation and I am normally on the Tallac side. The top intersection leads a few directions, and not only did i want to avoid the snow, but I was attempting to visit as many Alpine Lakes as possible, so i chose to head down towards Echo lake at this point, so i am unsure how the trail is from the top of Tamarack to Lake Aloha. I climbed back up the PCT from Echo and continued towards Tamarack lake as well as Lake Of The Woods (both super gorgeous!) then finally was able to join back with the trail at Lake Aloha (easily one of the gems of Desolation) The trail around Aloha was tricky to navigate with the amount of snow still at elevation, but once rounding the turn towards Heather Lake it all became a ton easier. Super fun loop with a huge challenge, be ready for a long day out there! Total took me roughly 7 hours, and i normally hike quicker than average

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