Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

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.

Length 10.9 mi Elevation gain 3,330 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Hiking Nature trips Rock climbing Snowshoeing Forest Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Scramble Snow
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 (2130)
Photos (2519)
Recordings (1532)
Completed (4319)
View user's profile page
Daniel Sonora
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 30, 2020
Hiking
View Daniel 's Recording
View user's profile page
Annalee Segarra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 30, 2020
HikingScramble
View user's profile page
Roni Perez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 29, 2020
Hiking

Great trail! Well maintained, beautiful views!

View Roni's Recording
View user's profile page
Meredith Julius
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 29, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Gorgeous views! I agree with many of the reviews. It was challenging at certain spots. Be mindful of sunset if you go later in the day or bring headlamps as it is rocky. Bring lots of water and sturdy hiking boots! Took us 3 hours to get up and 2.5 to get down.

View user's profile page
Taylor Lake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2020
HikingGreat!

Hike was amazing! It was a lot easier than I expected. A lot of people say this hike was hard, but it really wasn’t. Just pace yourself and leave around 6am. Beautiful Panoramic views. 2 beautiful lakes you walk by on your way there. Definitely recommend!!

View user's profile page
Darren Marinko
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2020
Hiking

A fantastic hike but not for the weary. It was a very strenuous and continuous incline the whole way but the view was amazing and visiting three lakes on the way up kept us going. Made it up in 3:15 but it took 2:30 down. Ended up catching a great sunset. We are in good shape and this one whooped our butts. Most people will need 2 to 3 L of water.

View Darren's Recording
View user's profile page
Fernando Vergara
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking
View Fernando's Recording
View user's profile page
Aaron Hart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking
View Aaron's Recording
View user's profile page
Mike Heck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking
View Mike's Recording
View user's profile page
Gunasekara Pathakkam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020

Hiked on Friday, One of the beautiful summit around Lake Tahoe. All the pain of hiking will pay off once you start looking views from the summit. Simply marvelous! The real hike starts after passing small alpine lake. Lots of scree all along the trail and requires little more care while go up and down. Lots of tree cover throughout the trail expect few patches are completely exposed between 3rd to 4th mile and last half a mile. With slow and steady pace easily reach summit without problem. Took us 3 15 hours to reach the summit. Views are rewarding and memorable! No permit/fee is required at the trailhead due to covid19 situation.

View user's profile page
Jon roberts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

Wow, this mountain hike completely kicked our butt. I was led to believe this was a hike that beginners could hike but that's completely false!!!! We ended up hiking for 12.1 miles, 3200 feet elevations and it's extremely difficult. The first half of the hike is okay, you will come across two lakes and they are beautiful. However, the second half was insane! You are hiking up rocks, scrambling over them while doing zig zags up the mountain. It took us 5 hours to get up And another 7 hours to get down and it got dark. We took longer getting down because my feet and my partners leg were hurting so bad that we had to take many breaks while walking low. I wouldn't recommend this hike unless you are physically active on a daily basis and have the stamina to do this. Also, we went through 8 bottles of Gatorade and 2 bottles of water. I know this may seems excess but we are new to hiking and this hike was so hard for us. We still made it to the top and it's beautiful, the views are amazing and you can see all of Lake Tahoe. Awesome hike but this hike is certainly not for beginners lol.

View Jon's Recording
View user's profile page
Pavel Uvarov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

Tough

View Pavel's Recording
View user's profile page
shane harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking
View shane's Recording
View user's profile page
Amy Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking
View Amy's Recording
View user's profile page
Ravikumar Dhandivel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 25, 2020
HikingRocky

After reading the reviews, I believed it would be a moderate hike. I was wrong. It was difficult, especially passing the rock area. I thought coming down would be much more comfortable, I was wrong again. It was as hard as going up. I would advise you, plan well for a challenging hike.

View user's profile page
Kate Elizabeth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 24, 2020
Hiking

Great trail! I only had one day in Tahoe and was glad I picked this hike. It has a little bit of everything - incredible views, some fun rocks, a nice rolling ridge to give yourself a break, and an awesome summit. Trail starts off pretty tame, but gets tougher just after Cathedral Lake (the last one.) It’s about a mile and 1k of elevation from there to the top of the rock field, and then another mile and 1k to the summit. Found that last mile to be the toughest because if feels like you should already be at the top. Once you hit the summit, it’s a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure as you pick your way up to the top. Took me about 3.5 hours to get to the top, and another 3 to get down. Started around 8AM and only saw a handful of people headed up. Much more crowded on the way back. Wear good shoes - this is a rocky one!

View user's profile page
Tina Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 23, 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

The kind of the hike, I would love to do it again.

View user's profile page
Thomas Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

Went on a Sunday after hearing rumors that trails up into the wilderness were closed, due to the dry conditions and fire danger, and COVID. Sometimes the gate is closed at the bottom. But no, the gate was open and we were able to snag a parking spot at the trailhead. I’ve done this trail many times before, always rewarding. I like to take beginning hikers and those new to the area here, because after a moderate hike, the views to from the long flat top of the moraine are spectacular, with Fallen Leaf Lake to the left and Mt. Tallac to the right. This time we hiked only as far as Floating Island Lake, which is biologically interesting, many dragonflies this day. At times I've ridden a bike to the trailhead, which you can do even if the gate at hwy 89 is closed. Bring a cable so you can hitch to a tree while hiking. The ride back down is exhilarating.

View user's profile page
S Gadam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

We started at 6:45 am and down at 1 pm, with plenty of water breaks and photo stops. The parking lot at the trail head still had a few spots left. So we did not have to park on the street. There was a sign that no permit required at this time for day hikers, may be a temporary Covid thing. The all trails app appears to have the start of the trial marked almost 0.3 miles before the actual trail head. As you approach the trail head on the narrow road, you will see a sign “Mount Tallac trail head”, keep driving further ahead as. Lose to the actual trail has as you can fill you find a parking spot. The views are amazing. We timed it perfectly for the sunrise over the fallen leaf lake. At about 2 mile mark you see another lake and the water was as still as a mirror (see photo). The first 3 miles are pretty straightforward. Between 3rd and 4th mike you have to negotiate the trial through the stones, so it is hard to see the real trail. All trail map was useful. Towards the end on the last 400 feet ascend, some scrambling is needed to get to the top. Try to to look around as you climb up so you can mentally mark the way back. The AQI was around 80 and there was some haze in the air, but views are still majestic and worth the climb. Coming down was straightforward but take your time to make sure you find your footing on uneven rocks. Enjoy the hike.

View S's Recording
View user's profile page
Allen Barrera
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking

The beat sceneries

View Allen's Recording
View user's profile page
Lili Majano
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking

Amazing.... super hard but worth it

View Lili's Recording
View user's profile page
Thomas Knittel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2020
Hiking
View Thomas's Recording
View user's profile page
Charlie Invino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

During a three day stay in the area, I spent a fun day (July 6, 2018) hiking this trail. My notes: Filled out wilderness day hiking permit at the trailhead Began hike at 7:45AM Passed Desolation Wilderness sign at 8:30AM Reached summit at 12:30PM 1 hour lunch break Began descent at 1:30PM Passed Desolation Wilderness sign at 3:30PM Back to the trailhead 4:50PM This was my first attempt to hike a "real" mountain trail. Stair stepping with a weighted daypack was added to my usual workout routine. The scenery and terrain just blew me away so the going was relatively easy until the final scramble to the summit. My hiking poles were particularly helpful both ascending and descending the rocks. What a fabulous view! It was a sunny, clear day so conditions were ideal. Do this trail especially if you have little experience in mountainous terrain and want to challenge your body!

View user's profile page
Shannon Maher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 14, 2020
HikingRocky

Loved it! Had to park about a mile from the trailhead due to the "fire risk" closure, but it was still fun! Had the whole trail pretty much to ourselves. Only con was the views not being 100% because of the smoke.... still beautiful though. That last part after Cathedral Lake can be pretty brutal, so remember to stay hydrated and take breaks.

View user's profile page
S C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 13, 2020
HikingGreat!

Beautiful hike. Scenery changes every mile. Strenuous but gorgeous. If trail is closed due to “fires”, consider yourself lucky, park your car at the closed gate and walk the extra mile. It will be a lot less crowded. I can’t imagine doing this hike with hundreds of people on it anyway. There’s a shortcut at the top, it will save you about a mile. Take your time and enjoy the scenery. Make it a trip, not a hike. Take 9 hours round trip, not 6. Don’t just blindly rush to the top, as if it’s just another workout. You can do that at your local gym.

Showing results 1 - 25 of 2130