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Grass Lake is a 5.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until September.

Length 5.3 mi Elevation gain 679 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Forest Lake River Views Wild flowers Wildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)

Please note: there are temporary road closures in this area. Please consult the park's website before visiting.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (140)
Photos (514)
Recordings (143)
Completed (305)
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Nick VanMeter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 5, 2020
Hiking
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Hannah Watous
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2020
Hiking
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Sujay Mahajan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
HikingGreat!
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Megan Isenogle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2020
HikingGreat!

Trail is great. I’m 48 and in decent shape. Made it up and back with no problems. There was some leg burn. Lol. The road up and out is a nightmare though. Parking is also terrible. A lot of the road is only big enough for one car, so passing cars have to find a pull out and a bunch of cars were parked in the pull outs. We got stuck a couple of times and had to help other cars go around each other. We were at the lot by 9:30am and the parking lot was already full.

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Doug Rheams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

Loved the hike. It's a steeper uphill climb then we expected but then downhill all the way back. Alltrails says 5.3 miles but we measured 2.9 each way. Beautiful lake to swim in and well worth the hike but we saw a number of snakes swimming which was quite a surprise. They aren't interested in people though

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Suraj A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 29, 2020
Hiking

too rocky. too much sun beating down

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monique borses
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
Backpacking

Bear canisters are essential at Grass Lake unless you want a very smart and aggressive visitor in the night. Much of the hike up features rocky ankle-prainers, so don't think you will enjoy the nature around you until you get to camp.

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Gary Kirchubel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2020
Hiking
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monique borses
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 7, 2020
BackpackingRocky

Had an encounter with a bear at Grass Lake a month ago. It's a nice trail and a gorgeous place to camp, but be weary. It says bear canisters strongly recommended, but IMO bring a freaking bear canister and fit everything inside no matter what! The bear was about 20 feet from my tent and very aggressive.

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Randall Baxter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

There’s a small waterfall you can stop and cool off a little ways in with pools below. It’s partial shade most of the way but there’s some significant elevation gain in full sun. The Soda Springs was cool and had me wonder what the red filtrate in the bubbling well was. Alltrails says 5.3 miles round trip but it feels like 3 one-way because terrain is rocky and meandering. Takes two hours, or three if you take your time to take pics of flowers as I do. I recommend doing so. The trail is well marked but there is a tricky bit crossing by water twice. If you are confused then go back immediately and look again because the trail is well-marked on either side of the water crossings. Bring lots of water to drink. If camping overnight bring something to purify water either chemically or by heat. It’s ice melt but even so. You can camp next to Grass Lake. Deep enough to swim in. If you have a satellite phone GPS then you can literally see where you are on the trail. Next time on to Lake Aloha.

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Jiayi Liang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 22, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

Would have given the hike a 5 star with the only caveat that the drive to the trailhead was on a single lane narrow road and wasn’t very pleasant to negotiate with incoming vehicles. 60% of the hike is covered; mosquitoes near still water and after covering ourselves thoroughly with bug spray we were able to keep them at bay. Surprisingly by the lake we didn’t get many mosquitos and we were able to have a lovely picnic with pristine views. We started from the trailhead at 6:40a on a Tuesday and the parking lot was almost full (mostly overnight camping) with only 4-5 open spots left. We got back to the parking lot at 10:15am and on the way out we met at least 5-6 parties with more people pulling in/parking alongside the narrow roads. We definitely recommend doing this hike once and starting early. We would probably not do this hike again due to the drive/parking situ.

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A Woods
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 16, 2020
Hiking

Great trail with some awesome falls. I would of rated this a 5 star but there is huge river rock and gravel the first 1/2 mile of the trail which is no fun to walk on . The springs were pretty cool and we found a good place to swim in grass lake. Not too busy which was a huge plus!!

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Megan Masters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike that follows the falls and has amazing views and historic sites. The first half is uphill, but it’s not very difficult / steep. Only reason it’s not a 5 star hike is cuz it’s a lot of loose gravel road which isn’t fun to walk on. Glen Alpine Springs Resort historic site is a treat along the trail & it’s fun to explore the old buildings and imagine the spot in the 1800s, and how the heck people made their way there. The museum like descriptors could use some updating, so read about it in advance since no Wi-Fi.

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Terry Likness
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 3, 2020
Hiking

That was an easy hike. Was there Independence weekend and the trail wasn't as busy as I expected. Will definitely be a "go to" if I bring someone that doesn't hike often. Next time I will have to camp!

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Melissa Kelly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
HikingGreat!

I spent two nights here this past weekend with some friends. There are three water crossings, one of which consists of two parallel logs across a good-sized stream. The two logs made it possible to support/steady yourself going across, but be warned it got windy out on that log once you are over the water. There were a lot of mosquitoes around the lake June 26-28, but still very beautiful and worth it. We went off trail in search of the magical waterfall that can be seen in the distance as you hike in. It was about two miles to reach it, leaving from the south end of the lake. We were pleasantly surprised by a smaller waterfall we encountered on the way with several pools perfect for bathing.

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Maria Christian
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020
Hiking

We backpacked in and spend 2 nights here. It's a beautiful spot with a big waterfall above. The trail has some fun water crossings, but they are in great shape with trees or rocks over. The trail is much longer just like the other review says.

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Lisa Delfiner Parsons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 17, 2020
Hiking

The trail is beautiful. Lots of granite, waterfalls, and then the lake with a long waterfall in the background. However, the mileage is very inaccurate. From the parking area to the end of the trail at the lake is 3.6 miles one way and 7.2 miles RT. Also, the elevation is more than 679. More like 1400 feet. So far most of the mileage and elevation gains I've seen on many trails in All Trails are inaccurate and tend to show shorter mileages and less elevation. So just know before you go. Otherwise, I would highly recommend this as an easier hike for people just getting to elevation in Tahoe and for fit families.

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Parker Bradley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 15, 2020
BackpackingBugsRocky

Pretty tough hike. Almost all of the trail is uphill and on rocks so you struggle to get a footing. The lake itself is beautiful though. Definitely worth the hike, just be prepared to work!

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Meredith Herndon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 12, 2020
Backpacking

Spent a night at half moon on June 13 and had the whole place to ourselves. Trail is 99% clear of snow, and only wet in a few places. Once you get to the lake it's quite marshy and the bugs are getting intense. Plenty of dry places to set up camp.

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Neil Ellis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 25, 2020
BackpackingMuddy

Camped here about a week ago, beautiful hike to the lake. not very many places to set up camp so get here early. we got rained on in the morning and the whole hike back to the car but that's part of the fun! lowest elevation lake in desolation so barely any snow at the time I went. this was my 2nd time camping here, first time I went off trail and camped on the opposite side of the lake from the trail. would recommend for early season/spring backpacking.

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Kendra+Jeff Cobourn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 23, 2020
Backpacking

Just returned from a beautiful weekend at Grass Lake. Don't be discouraged by a few of the negative reviews below! This is a perfect one nighter or weekender for backpackers. We only saw a handful of good campsites so definitely try to arrive early (and the packing lot can fill quickly). If you are the first to arrive there is an awesome open area to set up camp at the very end of the trail. The trail up to Grass Lake is entirely clear of snow. We day hiked up to Aloha and ran into deep snow around 7600ft (approach to Susie Lake).

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jessica hawksley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 12, 2020

Very pretty walk.. lots of rocks, a great workout. Falls, creeks and lakes cool you down along the way and there are 3 river crossings that are fun. You pass through an old deserted community - Glen Alpine Springs, with cabins, an assembly hall, etc. The end to Grass Lake is worth it. The falls in the distance are fairytale like. Definitely take a panorama when you get there!

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John Walkinshaw
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 3, 2020
HikingPrivate property
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Kim Tan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 2, 2020
HikingPrivate propertyScrambleSnow

Was able to park at the Glen Alpine trailhead. There are about 3-4 river crossings, some of which you have to either wade across (depending on how deep the water is at the time) or find a log to cross on. There is also snow on the ground still and we lost the trail to Grass Lake and never made it there. Ran into another pair of hikers that couldn't make it to Susie Lake either. Bummed we couldn't make it to the lake, but it was still beautiful.

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Erin Kilgore Arthur
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 25, 2019
Hiking

We tried to get there today and the road was closed

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Gail R
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 23, 2019
HikingRocky

Absolutely beautiful hike today. The temperature was cool, the air was crisp and it was amazingly beautiful

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