Mount Tallac Trail is a 10.9 mile heavily 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 but must be kept on leash.

Length10.9 miElevation gain3,330 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsRock climbingSnowshoeingForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeRockyScrambleSnow
Description
Waypoints (8)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

There is parking alongside the street. A wilderness permit is required. You must purchase the permit before arriving to the Mt. Tallac Trailhead. Day hikers may pick up the permit at the self-service area. 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 this beautiful 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. The summit is very rocky and can be confusing. Make sure you have a good understanding of your whereabouts so you can easily find your way back down. Sunscreen is a MUST. Totally exposed for long sections.

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

- Remember to register for a free Desolation Wilderness permit at the trailhead. - June to October is the best time to hike Tallac. Some snow may prevail at higher elevations until late July, but that is unlikely to cause problems for hikers. - Summer thunderstorms are common from mid afternoon. We recommend an early start to avoid being exposed at high elevations at these times. - Glen Alpine Trail is an alternative route to the summit of Tallac, popular with backbackers camping in the Desolation Wilderness. However, an 11 mile day trip via Gilmore Lake is feasible but not covered by this guide. - Mount Tallac is one of the most popular backcountry skiing and snowboarding destinations in the US. Search the internet for information about the winter Spring Creek Trail ascent for more details.

Directions from South Lake Tahoe: The trailhead is located approximately 3-1/2 miles north on Highway 89. Look for the Mt. Tallac Trailhead sign directly across from the entrance to Baldwin Beach and turn left down the dirt road. Continue to the trailhead parking.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (2,369)
Photos (3,031)
Recordings (1,743)
Completed (5,107)
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Nick Piotrowski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 25, 2021
Hiking

didn't summit since I didn't have snowshoes or true crampons. still a beautiful place in winter and majestic views

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Devin M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 21, 2021
Hiking

Great trail the whole way up. Needed yaktrax for some ice here and there but no axe or snowshoes needed all the way to the summit.

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Tanuja Mohan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 1, 2021
Hiking

Did this trail earlier in the fall season and really enjoyed it. A consistent uphill climb which made it challenging. Take your time and take breaks when you need to. Cathedral lakes was a great place to stop and have a snack. You can check out what this hike looks like through a video I made if you are curious (https://youtu.be/N1vYU8kj7wk). Lots of dogs out on the trail during the fall season which was nice. I recommend this hike for anyone coming to the Lake Tahoe area and wants to challenge themselves a bit.

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Dani C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 30, 2020
HikingIcySnow

Completed the summit yesterday, and it was quite challenging, which we knew. But dang... those views are incredible! We had been tracking the weather and the avalanche conditions for the week, and were blessed with a wonderful day. I would not recommend trying to summit during this time unless you are an experienced hiker/mountaineer and have the proper gear. Always monitor conditions. Started at 8 am, no one else in parking lot. Took 8 hours to complete, but we were not in a rush and took many breaks. Sign says permit not needed at this time. We used microspikes, snowshoes, and poles. Ice axe wasn't needed, but definitely always good to have, depending on conditions. Layer up, as when that wind kicks through it gets COLD. It hadn't snowed much in the past few days so the hike to the two lakes was already pretty packed down from snowshoes, so we used our microspikes for traction (could use snowshoes as well) to get to the two lakes. The lakes are covered with snow. From there off and on snowshoes and spikes to summit (few tracks). Lots of powder, icey snow, and rocks at top. Plan for all kinds of terrain.

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Joe Roop
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 29, 2020
Snowshoeing

We hike this trail a lot with our baby and were up there on the 12/24/20 and found a canteen near the summit. carried it back down and hung it on the trailhead signage. I took a pic of the bag and posted a pic as well. for conditions (low avalanche day https://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org) it was great. snowshoes with risers worked fairly well but crampons would have been better due to hard / icy snowpack.

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Matthias Goldhoorn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 23, 2020
Hiking

Much snow , the first lake is easily reachable with microspiles or crampons, but the footsteps got rare after the first lake. On the viewpoint between the first and second no steps in front of us; crusty powder snow towards the second lake make it very difficult even with snowshoes. There were no footsteps at this point anymore further up, maybe other reviewers took different paths. Summit is only for real expert climbers with big snowshoes and ice axe reachable. However second lake is ok but requires a lot of time but sun and views were amazing. Still heighly recommended in winter (just not all the way up). stay safe!

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David Hill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 23, 2020
HikingOff trailSnow

Nice hike overall. Made it past Cathedral lake on boots. Switched to snowshoes for 15 minutes but at that point it was the beginning of the steep bit before the climb to the ridge. Used crampons to get up to the ridge but didn't feel the need to use my ice axe. After that it was fine to continue to the summit in just boots. I had my crampons and snowshoes with me but they didn't seem that useful because the snow was pretty hard where it existed and in other places there was just too little to even crampon. There were a few places where the most used path deviated from the official trail and some places where that led to fairly faint traces.

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Arija Buswell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 23, 2020
SnowshoeingGreat!IcyOff trailRockySnow

Bring snowshoes, poles and mini spikes. Start early 8am or earlier. Watch weather and plan on it taking twice as long to hike up as it is to get down. Beautiful views and amazing experience!!!! Well worth it!!

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Michael Mcclain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 21, 2020
Hiking
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Arija Buswell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 21, 2020
SnowshoeingGreat!IcyScrambleSnow
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Alexander Motal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

Rad hike! Did this today, snow shoes are definitely necessary after the recent snow (3 days ago). Knee height for most of the trail. Waist deep in parts where i was off trail. Definitely recommended for experienced people if you are doing this in winter. If you are not comfortable in the mountains you should probably stay away until the snow melts. The early part of the hike was packed down but i had to make fresh tracks after the halfway mark. Cell phone service with Verizon works for most of the hike.

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Brittany Suits
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 11, 2020
HikingIcyRockyScrambleSnow

The hike is stunning this time of the year but definitely difficult. I underestimated how much ice would be on the trail and wound up falling multiple times. Because there is so much snow you might find yourself stepping in 3 feet of it. Please bring spikes/crampons this was my mistake. It’s a beauty once you summit but be prepared to scramble for quite sometime. Start early. I started at 8:30 and finished at 4:30 but I also took a while taking photos. Highly recommended this hike just make sure you’re prepared!

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christopher Mckinnon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 6, 2020
HikingGreat!

trail is amazing, i would suggest crampons was very slippery, saw a few people who seemed to do fine with microspikes but I also saw someone leave after falling hitting there head and face. Does not require ice axe yet but i used mine for getting up the bowl.

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PJ Forgione
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 5, 2020
Hiking
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Ryan Bennie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 2, 2020

Got on the trail just shortly after 9 from the drive from Napa. Like another review already said make sure you start early due to the spring like snow conditions. Temps around 20 to start. Second guess your clothing. It gets warm quick at least today it did. Hard pack all the way up even past the death march on the bowl. Brought snowshoes and spikes but didn’t need them. My Salomon Cross Hikes performed great. FYI once the sun comes out and over the snow the solid tracks become soft. Different story on the descent especially at the bowl. Fun and challenging at times but I would rank Pyramid more difficult in Desolation. Round trip was around 3:30Hrs. I took a zig when I should’ve zagged and took the rock scramble up to the false summit. Took a bit more time than the flatter route that cuts under the peak on the SW side. Looking forward to seeing the trail without snow in the summer but look forward to skiing it when it gets more snow!

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Karla Torres
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 27, 2020
Hiking

Lovely!

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Kimiko Suzuki
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 27, 2020
SnowshoeingSnow
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Nathan Taitano
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 27, 2020
Hiking
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