Glen Alpine Trail

MODERATE 115 reviews

Glen Alpine Trail is a 5.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
692 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

walking

forest

lake

views

wildlife

rocky

Directions from South Lake Tahoe: Take Highway 89 north approximately 3 miles to Fallen Leaf Lake Road. Watch for bicyclists and other cars on this narrow, one-lane road. Continue until you see the Glen Alpine trailhead sign and turn left. Trailhead parking is across from Lily Lake.

hiking
11 hours ago

Nice trail, lots of different rocky terrain. Wouldn’t recommend bringing a pup without booties. Our dog’s pads got all torn up :(. Would bring bug spray if going to Susie lake, lots of mosquitos in the marshy stretch.

hiking
9 days ago

Worth the 3+ mile drive to the parking area where there is lots of parking. Hiked with our dogs and passed few hikers on our way out, a few more on our way back, but no other dogs. We hiked out to grass lake. Only part of the trail that was a little tricky was the creek crossing where it wasn’t obvious. But if you look to the left you see the logs across the creek and it picks up the trail there. Amazing views.

11 days ago

Awesome views! Worth the drive.

15 days ago

moderate trail I love the waterfalls

19 days ago

This trail was pretty that took us to old out buildings & a gorgeous waterfall. It’s a pretty rocky trail with lots of bugs, but the beauty is worth it

28 days ago

Parked just above fallen leaf lake on a small patch of cleared roadside. We didn’t know there’s a small parking lot (and bathrooms) about a half mile up where the trail begins. Take a picture of the map before you start. We then hiked to Grass Lake. About 6 total miles out and back. The beginning mile is quite rocky so have stable footwear. And if you have any knee/ankle issues, bring poles especially for the way back. To get to Grass Lake you will have to climb across logs at two different points, not a big deal. Just be careful with kids and dogs. Also BRING WATER and snacks, there’s shade but lots of exposed trail. We saw a family with a group of teens and only one girl had on a backpack and everyone else had 20 oz or less sized water bottles, nothing else. That’s not enough in the summer. Their water was gone before even making the halfway point and they were struggling. Think about yourself, your kids, your dogs and be safe! When we got to the lake we set up our hammocks and hung out for about 90 mins before heading back. So worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

Sad that people don't have the adventurous spirits to explore this area more. They stop before getting to the best parts of this trail. Grass lake is so much fun to hike too, creek crossings, waterfalls, rock hopping, to be rewarded with a valley and lake surrounded by massive peaks and waterfalls visible from many directions. Don't be lazy than give a low review. This trail is awesome, if you can hike more than a mile lmao.

hiking
3 months ago

Road conditions up to the official trailhead are questionable; no snow removal during the winter months. Parking is available both at trailhead (currently closed) and alongside the road. Ice and snow remain on last 0.5 miles of road as of 4/9.

As others have stated, the trail begins on a rocky path. The rocks are cobble rather than pebbles or boulders. After warm rainfall and above-freezing spring temperatures, this trail was flooded under ~6 inches of water for a short section. Waterproof boots worked well. After Lily Lake, the trail is a mixture of cobble and paved, wide enough for an ATV but not quite a 4x4 trail. The immediate surroundings are poor compared to other Tahoe hikes.

Since there was significant snow accumulation over 7,000 feet, I turned back at Glen Alpine Falls rather than heading up to Grass Lake. Others have noted there's little to see after the falls. I didn't travel far enough to verify this, but based on satellite and heatmap, this seems correct. Assuming you park before the Lower Glen Alpine Falls, located right past the fire station, there are three main attractions.

The first is Lower Glen Alpine Falls, which can be reached by car and is a popular tourist attraction. Some call it the most popular waterfall in Tahoe (debatable, since Lower Eagle Falls commands attention). The second is Lily Lake, a swamp-like flooded basin that beautifully reflects Echo Peak. Lastly, the true Glen Alpine Falls, around 0.5 miles up the trail, is a rushing fall at the base of Tallac. Beyond that, there's Grass Lake an additional two miles further.

Even though the waterfalls are beautiful and Mount Tallac is always a surreal sight, this trail is little more than a decent outing. Paved portions and operational cabins/houses detract from the backcountry feel. Similarly, the two-mile section of relative uninterest combined with a wide track falter when compared to vicinity hikes, especially Aloha and Ralston. Keep in mind that I didn't hike the full trail, though, so take this review with a grain of salt.

hiking
7 months ago

Rough stone at the start, so wear sturdy shoes. Water had covered parts of the trail on 11/22 making it slow going as we had to hop across stones and logs, or go off the path to avoid the water. We only went for about a mile before turning back because the trail was difficult to navigate with dogs given the flooding.

10 months ago

Awesome Hike. multiple waterfalls, creek and the two lakes.... Very Rocky fir the first mile, two stream log/rock crossings. Grass Lake is beautiful. We clocked 5.7 miles. Old Glen Alpine camp/lodge was great to see. So sad it's no longer operational, but old photos on the scrapbook bulletin board were great to see. Would definately do it again.

10 months ago

Gorgeous hike. Easy climb. Walked across the streams. We saw a sleeping bear on a rock ledge above the trail. The water in Grass Lake was warm enough for a nice dip!! The historical sight with the old springs was pretty cool to check out. The trail is rocky in the beginning. Lots of gorgeous waterfalls!

hiking
10 months ago

hiked up to Granite Lake -- beautiful and varied terrain. your dog might need to know how to swim for the second stream crossing past Grass Lake. some cool history at the abandoned resort. I'd recommend boots/shoes even for the waterfall hike since the trail is really rocky for the first mile, though flat. saw a group of hikers with their snowboards!

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful hike! 2 miles in you will reach desolation wilderness territory which requires an annual permit. There are permit forms to fill out are at the information board at the trailhead.

10 months ago

Great hike, a couple of stream crossings. First one is easy, second one more challenging if water is high. Lake with waterfall is worth the hike. Couple of nice waterfalls on the way up.

hiking
11 months ago

Hiked on Sunday August 12, 2017. Arrived at the parking lot around 9:45 AM and was mostly full. This is a great hike that starts off with a somewhat rocky trail but eventually smooths out. Nice waterfall within first half mile of leaving trailhead. We were amazed how much water there was this year in August! We continued up to Grass lake and stopped there for a rest and a bite to eat. Beautiful setting with another waterfall in view in the distance. Get an early start and enjoy.

backpacking
11 months ago

Hike to Grass Lake was beautiful, but wandering throughout the day above Grass Lake was really cool. Great views, rocky hiking, and a perfect campsite high above the lake.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail with lots of water. Starts with a gorgeous water fall and leads to different lakes. Views are phenomenal. Mainly uphill all the way to Grass Lake making the trip back a breeze. We took our 4 kids (ages 16,14,7 and 7) and dog and everyone did great. We took the trail to Grass Lake. Out and back the trail was about 7 miles. This trail is about 75% Rocky. I felt like it was an easy-moderate trail. Road leading to trailhead is VERY narrow, making it hard to pass another oncoming car. The road is also in poor condition, a lot of pot holes. We went on a Saturday around 1030am and the parking was scarce.

hiking
11 months ago

super fun a beautiful hike! mostly up hill at first but well worth it. we took our dog and there were plenty of watering holes and creeks for him to cool off at. we ended up going to grass lake which was beautiful. there were a few creek crossings. the first one was easy to cross the log, but the second log crossing was a little more difficult as the log was a little higher up and made it a little more difficult for my dog to cross so we just walked him through the creek instead. the water wasn't to cold and was actually really refreshing. The view was beautiful up at the lake and definitely worth the hike.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rough start since the trail appears to have about 3 inches of water but there is a trail in the bush to the right. After that the trail is nice... took a 10 year old and a 70 year old with us and they all did well.

Friday, July 21, 2017

I've never done the full hike. We only hike to the falls, which is a mile at most (2 miles round trip) It's pretty easy. My mom, who hasn't hiked in almost 30 years, did it without a problem. The beginning of the trail is super rocky (I think it used to be a riverbed), so you just have to be careful with your footing and wear good shoes so that the rocks don't hurt your feet. Once you get to the red FP (fire protection) sign and shed, you veer off trail to the left, and you'll be at the waterfall. It's gorgeous! I highly recommend!

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

7/15/2017 Hike
Trail starts out as gravelly dirt road and the it becomes more of a real trail and it gets steep after the first 1/2ish mile. Lots of water crossings and had to cross 3 log bridges to cross creeks. We did get lost and missed the left turn (marker is behind a big pine tree) and ended up going up the steep mountain heading to suzie/aloha/gilmore lakes, and added 2 hours to our trek, that took all of our energy. Grass lake was worth every swear word though. The waterfall at the end of Grass lake is massive and although the water was freezing at first, it's tolerable so we took a dip and hung out in the water a bit. Would definitely come back.

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

This trail has some of the most scenic views in the area with several water falls, rushing streams and snow capped mountains. No bugs. I never made it to Grass Lake since I chickened out on the last log crossing of Glen Alpine Creek. That brings me to why I only gave this trail 3 stars. Like other reviewers, one of my main dislikes was the first mile or so which consists of loose, fist sized rocks which were very difficult to walk on without twisting my ankles. There are also a good amount of smaller course ground up rocks both of which are tough on smaller dogs. The other problem for me was the last creek crossing which requires walking on a rather long fallen tree to get across. I was packing about 24 lbs. and was alone so didn't feel comfortable with the task. Not for chickens if you want to get to the lake and beyond.

hiking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Crossed the log over the creek just past the Susie Lake / Grass Lake fork. Chickened out crossing over the next log at Glen Alpine Creek. Only about 20 minutes away from Grass Lake - maybe next time

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bring bug spray! Great hike overall.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fun moderate trail

hiking
Friday, June 16, 2017

It was a great trail with a lot of run off cascading down the trail

hiking
Monday, June 05, 2017

I suggest waiting till the snow is fully melted and the river currents aren't so strong before you attempt this trail because you have to cross the river and it's extremely full and fast moving as a result increased snow fall this year. We placed logs to get across, but it was dangerous and I don't suggest doing it. Probably best to wait a couple of more weeks. We had to go off trail and made it about half a mile from Grass lake, but felt it was unsafe to go any further.

hiking
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I love this hike. We do it once a year. Flooded in areas along the trail but still worth it. Water fall is big this year

Monday, May 22, 2017

Great waterfall about a mile up. Swampy after the wet winter.

hiking
Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Great trail into Desolation with many different option for hiking and camping.Very rocky trail so trail shoes are a huge benefit. We brought poles, but didn't use them. Moderate trail and easy to navigate. We hiked from the trailhead to Lake Aloha in an attempt to do Jack's Peak and Dick's Peak. Fairly easy hike and well maintained trail. Bagging the peaks from a clockwise approach isn't an option unless you have some serious climbing skills. We will try it again another time going around Gilmore and heading up to Dick's Peak first. Here's a full recap: http://hustzkergies.blogspot.com/2016/10/glen-alpine-trail-hike.html

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