Mount Tallac Trail

HARD 757 reviews

Mount Tallac Trail is a 10.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
10.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,290 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

The jewel in the crown of mountains which ring Lake Tahoe, Mount Tallac promises unparalleled views from its summit 9,735ft above sea level. Unparalleled vistas await the Tahoe hiker on a memorable journey to the lake's tallest peak. This route takes you to the top via the most direct summer route through lush forest, along scenic ridgelines, past small alpine lakes and across blazingly colorful wildflower strewn high-altitude meadows. Sure the 3,500ft elevation gain is greater than you might experience on most day hikes, but both the journey and the destination are worth every single thigh-burning step.

hiking
23 seconds ago

Absolutely beautiful. It took me and two others a bit longer to hike than anticipated, but we live at sea level and have no exposure to any hills, let alone mountains, and this was my first ever "real" hike. It took about 8.5 hours, with about a 30-45 min break at the top. The rock face was incredibly challenging and I don't know how anyone does it in running shoes without wrecking their feet. Bring sunscreen and lots of water. We each brought about 4L and my husband had about one gulp left at the end and I had about 1 liter left. All of our GPS watches said something different, but mine said 10.6 miles round trip (highest said 13 miles round trip).

hiking
2 days ago

This challenging, yet doable trail left me and my girlfriend feeling accomplished and well worked! We started at 6:50am, summitted 3.5 hours later, took an hour at the top, and took 2.5 hours to get down. Bring 3 liters per person for hot day hikes, sunscreen, and some bug spray. The best part was relaxing in the lake afterwards staring up at the mountain and thinking, “we hiked that!”

2 days ago

Challenging but invigorating hike, with an incredible reward at the top! I took my 9 and 13 year old kids with me and they did very well. Loved all the other hikers cheering them along the way. We got up to the summit in four hours (including one 30 minute break at Cathedral Lake). The trail was clear the whole way. There were also enough people on the trails so you never felt isolated—but it also didn’t feel crowded. It was a test in endurance as the climbing rarely lets up. But hearing how incredible the summit is from all the hikers coming down was motivating. As others said, the right equipment helps. We took polls with us (very helpful), enough water and we all wore boots. We left the summit at 12:30 and I never felt we were boiling on the way down even though it was an 80 degree day. It took a lot longer to get down then I thought due to the rocks. My feet would’ve been stumps without the boots! Definitely a challenging hike but don’t be afraid to try it. Its not that it is unusually steep or anything, it’s just that you are climbing with no let up on a lot of rocks. Start early—tons of cars in the parking lot already by 7:30am on a Thursday. I think many. people start this hike even earlier.

hiking
3 days ago

An absolutely gorgeous trail that has magnificent views of Tahoe and Eagle Lakes and neat seeing Cali and Nevada from here. From the parking lot to the peak is more like 12 miles, but don't let that stop you. Prepare for it to last the whole day, definitely took my two friends and I longer than we expected, and pack more food than you think you'll need. And once you get to the top of the rock piles, you have about an hour left, don't listen to the lies.

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike! Worth the hype for the sense of accomplishment and views. I was nervous about it (weekend warrior type, decently in shape mid-20s) and I’m glad I went. The hike took 7 hours. Left at 6:50am, arrived at summit by 10:00, spent an hour there and then returned to the car by 1:50. Get an early start, because the sun is hot and the summit would be crowded about 1-1.5 hours after I was there. I drank 2.5L of water and could have had another L more. The rock face after the second lake is tough! Good boots with ankle support are important here, though we passed someone doing the hike in Vans. Save some gas in the tank for the trek down! There are lots of rocks and it would be easy to slip if exhausted.

hiking
4 days ago

This hike was insane! The view from the top was completely worth the steep trek. Be careful if you bring dogs on this trail because the granite can blister their paws(happened to my pup). Took us about seven hours with almost an hour break at the summit. Definitely recommend this hike!

hiking
5 days ago

Started our hike around 6:40 this morning. Only a few cars already there. Glad we started early because the sun was brutal on our way down. Took us about 3 hours going up, 20-30 minutes taking in the amazing views at the top, and a little over 2 hours coming down. Difficult hike, but worth the experience and views. Bring lots of water and sunscreen.

hiking
6 days ago

This trail took my mother, son (8 years old) and I about 10 hours to complete. We started at 8:45 mainly because we wanted to be around people as we hiked (for safety reasons) and we took about an hour worth of breaks in all. My mother exercises moderately and I exercise 5 days a week with weights, high intensity work outs, and long distance running. Still, it was difficult because of the terrain.

I recommend hiking boots with ankle support. I hiked up in Solomon running hike shoes which usually do well over gravel but for this trail in particular I would bring some with ankle support. I would also bring more than 2 liters per person as some people recommended prior. We were down to our last bottle going down. We didn’t run out of water but got close!

It was a wonderful hike with spectacular views. Well worth it! I only wish we could have stayed at the peak longer!

6 days ago

Hard hike but breathtaking views. Strongly recommend good hiking boots with angle support.

hiking
7 days ago

Amazing views! Start early to beat the heat and crowds. Bring 2-3 liters of water and lots of sunscreen! Poles def helped!

hiking
7 days ago

Epic views from the top!

7 days ago

Really great hike! Came in with a lot of fear/excitement after my brother who summited last year around this time said he did so in 85°,had to trudge through snow to get to the top, and ran out of the 120 ounces of water he brought. So taking his advice, I began at 5:15am with 200 (yes, 200!) ounces of water. Halfway to the top and having only drank 20 ounces, I ended up dumping 100 ounces so I wasn’t carrying as much weight. With ample breaks, I made it to the top in 3 hours, and took a 30 minute break at the top before beginning my descent. It took 6 hours and 15 minutes total. For a 21 year old female who is active with running and yoga, it wasn’t bad at all!

trail running
7 days ago

I have run this trail many times in the past,but today was the first time for this year.It was a great run-hike up to the 'false summit'
and back down.Incredible views along the whole trail,great wild life,and many friendly people on the trail.I left the parking lot at 6:30 and made it back at 9:45.To any trail runners who haven't ran this before I would highly recommend it,you just have to keep in mind before you get on the trail that there is many sections that are runnable,and a couple sections especially the last rocky hill portion that is not.Its a technical trail I would rate it as hard because of how technical it is with the rocks,but very very fun!Take it easy,enjoy the beauty ,start early as parking is limited at the trail head.As for hydration I wore a 2 liter pack and it was more than enough,I probably could have carried 1 liter and would have been fine.Keep in mind I started early and finished early so if you start latter when it's hotter 2 liter would be a safer bet. ENJOY!!!

7 days ago

This hike was incredible. Tough, but doable (I went slow and took a lot of breaks). I recommend hitting the trail early; I started at 6:15 am. This way you can avoid the heat and some of the crowds. It took me about 4 hours to get up and 3 to get down (it was very rocky). I brought a lot of water and snacks. And my hiking poles! But the views on the way up are incredible and the summit is breathtaking. I definitely would like to do this again.

hiking
8 days ago

Gorgeous view. Round trip about 5 hours. Took me about 2 liters water

hiking
8 days ago

Gorgeous views, wild flowers. Definitely worth the time. And it doesn't take a lot of time.

9 days ago

I'm super average for hiking shape and this hike took me about 7 hours. Left at 8am, back by 3 pm. It's a tough hike in the exposed area with very rocky terrain so you need to watch your steps carefully and if you have poles it helps. Plan on drinking at least two liters of water or more. Weekend warriors like myself should plan on finishing with sore everything!

9 days ago

Hiked Mt. Tallac trailhead on 6/5/18, took 6 hrs and 23 minutes with a 30 minute break at the summit. I wore hiking shoes and my husband wore keens and we both felt more then prepared for the hike. If I had trail running shoes those would have worked fine as well. My GPS tracker had the trail at just over 10 miles, exactly what all trails and other trails information has said not the 12.5 that some people had said. We started around 5:30am and passed 5 people on the way up and had the summit to ourselves. I suggest getting started early so you can enjoy the trail by yourself we passed 75+ people on our way down. Weather was cool at the top so have a warm layer just in case. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate we brought a water purifier so we could re-fill water bottle at the river crossing, we went thru 4+ liters of water and had plenty of snacks to refuel.
It was a beautiful hike and if your prepared it’s more then doable! I would hike the trail again and again!!!

hiking
11 days ago

Very exposed route... sunscreen, bring tons of water (wife and I went through 5L) and calories as this is a seriously strenuous hike. Views from the summit are insane though... well worth the effort. Don't give up!

Like others have said, it is realistically longer than 10.2 miles. My FitBit said over 12.5 miles and 360+ flights. The trail is almost entirely composed of talus rocks that are sharp and chew up shoes... I do not recommend trying this hike with sport sandals (saw multiple hikers doing this) or even your basic sneakers. A good pair of hiking shoes/boots are advised.

hiking
14 days ago

Favorite hike in the Tahoe area. Left at 5:15am on Friday 6/29 and only saw two people who coming down the entire way up to summit. Was back at trailhead by 11:45, Had summit to self for an hour, but saw a lot of people on way back down. Get there early to beat the crowds. Like others say make sure to wear shoes with good ankle support. Took 3 hours to summit, 2.5 coming back down.

15 days ago

Absolutely beautiful!! On the trek in, it took some time to get used to walking on the jagged rocks and shale, but it wasn't so bad after a bit! Definitely a few patches of snow, but the trail is pretty clearly marked! The top is magnificent!! Took 3 hours up and 2 down. With some rest at the top! Bring sunblock!

15 days ago

Beautiful trail!

hiking
16 days ago

The trail is very rocky and footing uneven. It would be a difficult hike for anyone with balance or joint issues.
The views from the top are wonderful. Worth the effort.
We saw @100 people on the trail- on a Friday. Very popular for a reason.

hiking
17 days ago

Four of us hiked to the summit on Wednesday, 6/28/18. One of the really cool features is experiencing different terrains and ecosystems which makes the hike more interesting. We saw maybe 50 people total, but everyone was spread out so we still had the peace and quiet to outselves. There was a bit of snow near the top but there are paths that go around the patches. The hike was definitely harder than I expected, and the elevation was what got to me. Even though I hydrated the day before, I had a constant headache and took around 10 breaks on our way to the top. At least I was able to stop and enjoy the views, because when we were constantly moving, I couldn’t observe my surroundings when we got to the rocky part.

Make sure to bring ample water and pack a lunch and snacks. I brought my water bladder which carries 70 oz. I had about 20 oz at Cathedral lake, so I filled it back up. By the time we got back down from the summit, I was almost out of water. Make sure to stay hydrated! That sun and thin air get to you. Also make sure to have solid hiking boots. I was still able to feel rocks, but at least they weren’t jabbing into my foot. Good ankle support is a must, too. Bring sun protection (sunblock, hat, long sleeves, etc.) because it’s about 75% sunny to the top.

I wanted to quit a couple of times, but I’m glad that I pushed and made my way up to the top. The views were stunning even before reaching the top. You’ll go through and past meadows while enjoying the distant views of several lakes, including Gilmore, Tahoe, and Fallen Leaf. There are also a lot of marmots hanging out at the summit. Prepare to climb up those rocks and boulders!

hiking
18 days ago

-More crowded than I expected for a random Tuesday! (6/26/18). Pulled into the parking lot at 8 sharp and there were only a few parking spots left; encountered many groups of fellow hikers in the trail and of course the summit was swarming with people. (most were polite, still a lovely time in nature)
-As others have said, the trail is really more like 12+ miles.
-I went through 3L of water. Was glad I brought ample snacks.
-still snow in late June but minimal; your sneakers will be fine ;)
-Parts of the trail are hard to follow but luckily other thoughtful hikers left cairns to follow! I *always* get lost but didn’t on this hike ;) You’ll be fine! download the map for comfort.
-Your stabilizer muscles will get a workout! Most of the trail is loose rock, requires a bit of focus/balance. I think I was just one big stumble/rock slide on the way down, haha. Recommend hiking shoes with good grip and ankle support.
-The “false summit” (approx 3 miles in, maybe less?) was my favorite spot for photos. But don’t stop there! The rest of the trail has some gorgeous scenery and wildflowers!
-Some people had their pups but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Lots of sharp rocks, and I imagine the rock gets scorching hot on their paws.
-Do this hike! Whatever your hesitations are, just do it do it do it!! (take your time and don’t get injured of course). Views are gorgeous, sprays of wildflowers, babbling streams, you’ll feel accomplished. Bring water, hat, sunscreen, wear good shoes and just do it :)

18 days ago

The view was good, but you could see what you were going to see at the top on the way up. Still it’s a good hike. It’s actually 12.5 miles according to my Garmin Fenix 2 watch. If you want a workout, this is the hike. I’m in pretty good shape, and this was still pretty difficult. I recommend bringing chapstick and have A LOT of water. I had two water bottles, and a giant 2 quart jug. Pack a lot of food too. I brought two bananas and two peanut butter sandwiches. By the time I was at the bottom, I had only a little water left in my big jug and just half a sandwich left. Also wear sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat for sure.

hiking
19 days ago

Great hike. Beautiful views of Fallen leaf lake & 2 other lakes on the trail. The terrain is very rugged and rocky, making the trail significantly more demanding than the distance and altitude change suggests.

The actual length of the trail worked out to 12miles for us

hiking
21 days ago

My hubby and I hiked Mt Tallac 5 yrs ago and loved it. We knew that once our youngest turned 10 we would take the the whole family. Since then I’ve hiked it two more times with friends and now my fourth time on June 24th with our 3 boys: 20, 15, and finally 10 yr old :). We started our hike at 6 and got done at 2:30 with breaks in between. This hike never seize to amaze me... I loved it... and priceless with the family and the looks on the boys face at the top :))). We saw snow at the top and the boys played in it. We hiked through patches of snow as well. The trail was well marked ... AMAZING VIEW! I highly recommend starting early so you have more time to spend at the top. We were so proud of our 10 yr old. Big accomplishment for him :) My 20 yr old wants to come back with his friends :)

hiking
23 days ago

several patches of snow, but pretty well marked out
started at 1am to get there for 5:35am sunrise, it took almost 4 hours to get to the summit

hiking
24 days ago

Beautiful trail and great views! The trail was pretty easy to follow until we got to the last few miles. Part of the trail was still covered in snow, so we had to freehand up for a little bit. The trail is a moderate incline until you reach cathedral lake, then it picks up and becomes a very steep incline.
Well worth it!

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