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Mount Tallac Trail

HARD 1181 reviews

Mount Tallac Trail is a 10.2 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.

Distance: 10.2 miles Elevation Gain: 3,290 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

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 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. 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.

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

Great hike! The path is very diverse and everywhere you go is filled with something new. There are a few difficult uphill parts, but most of it is flat. Best to go in July or August because early summer there’s usually still snow so you can’t make it to the top. There are a decent amount of people, and so far I’ve met some really nice people there. Once you get over the big rocky part it’s mostly in the sun but at that elevation it’s nice and cool. Bring lots of water!!!

hiking
2 days ago

Excellent hike! It is a rough hike and hard on the bones so make sure to KT tape the knees, makes a world of difference in the end game. Also I saw lots of dogs and only one dog was equipped properly for the elements , that dog was having fun. The rest looked distressed, overheated, and a couple being carried down. The terrain is hot and will chew threw paws and there is no water after half way to the top. Overall it’s a good strenuous hike and the views are worth the burn!

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

Tough hike, but SOOOO worth it! It can get quite hot, depending on when you go, so make sure to prepare and bring plenty of water. The upper 1500ft are mostly exposed, sun protection is necessary. We were there Aug. 17. The butterflies at the top were INSANE! Literally thousands of them!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

Glad I did it but not sure I would do it again. Certainly no time soon. Stunning scenery and fantastic views but a strenuous hike with lots of scree. The decent was harder on my 57 year old knees than the uphill. Consequently, we made the summit in 3.5 hours and took almost 5 hours on the way down. Very busy trail (on a summer weekend). I brought 100oz of water thinking I would have some left at the end, but ran dry with a mile to go.

hiking
7 days ago

Butt kicker. Stayed at cathedral lake then hiked in the morning to the summit then back down. Sure felt farther

hiking
7 days ago

Absolutely beautiful! I’d rate this hike as moderate, it’s similar to Pyramid Peak in terms of rocky terrain and distance but is much gentler in grade and the trail is much easier to follow. Cover up! I think I may have been the only person on this hike wearing a featherweight hoodie, or really any type of upper body sun protection at all. Last few miles to summit are completely exposed and sunny as hell. Saw a beautiful big dog with nice dog boots make it to the summit and saw many dogs on my way down without boots who looked like they were having a seriously hard time - beware of bringing your dogs up this trail without boots. it’s mostly sharp, rocky terrain and your pup’s paws will 100% get ripped up if they’re exposed. 10 min drive to Baldwin beach for a dip in Lake Tahoe and a view of what you just hiked after the summit!

hiking
7 days ago

Great hike. The incredible views make the hard work worth while. The Tortoiseshell butterflies are swarming at the peak. The old trail down from the saddle appears to be blocked by snow, don’t advise using it.

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

Truly amazing views!! Simply the best!! Takeaways: Met some very awesome people on this trek. Much love to my fellow Ohioans!! Made a wonderful friend as well, Kayla. Also learned a Birthday Boy was present. Happy Birthday Perry!! Thank you to Becky for taking photos of me. Jen and Mike, you won. Great speed. Make sure to bring sunscreen. You spend over 50% of this hike in the blazing sun. Hats are a plus. Even umbrellas. Make sure to wear mid or high hiking shoes/boots. Much of the trail, mostly the upper 75%, has large stones, and massive ones around the summit. You pass through "Broken Ankle Alley" as well. Bring plenty of water. I went through 3, 23.7 bottles of water. Started on a 4th. Pack a lunch. Your body will need it. Don't feed the squirrels or chipmunks. They will beg you for food. Enjoy!

hiking
9 days ago

Excellent hike, every-time!

hiking
11 days ago

What a way to cap off 5 hikes in 5 days. This was a tough hike (probably has nothing to do with hiking 40 miles previous to this one. My legs were a bit shot), but well worth it. The views from atop Tallac are breathtaking and awe inspiring. The mosquitos and bugs were non existent. Saw alot of people hiking with only a couple water bottles in there hands. Not Smart! It is very easy to get dehydrated on this hike.

hiking
rocky
scramble
12 days ago

Second time on the trail. The first time was a few years back but due to the amount of snow on the trail, we weren't able to complete it. This time we went all the way to the top and wow what a gorgeous view! It is hard but well worth the effort! Be forewarned, the trail is extremely rocky especially after the first 3 miles so just make sure you place your feet carefully on stable rocks. At the top we also decided to take a nap which was amazing so would totally recommend that!

hiking
12 days ago

Awesome hike, however, dog owners be warned! I hiked Tallac yesterday with my 72 pound mutt who had to be carried down 4.5 miles because his paws were torn up by the rocks. Yes, I’ve learned a hard lesson. I should’ve known better. My dog is home and recovering thanks to an amazing group of 7 people (heroes) who helped get Toby the dog to safety. 4 strong men took turns carrying my dog and I will be forever grateful. If you plan on going all the way to the top with a dog, please be better prepared than I was. Shame on me. I actually wouldn’t recommend bringing a dog to the top. Only mountain goats should be trekking those rocky switchbacks. The first couple miles from the trailhead would’ve been a nicer hike for my dog. We should’ve turned back sooner than we did :(

hiking
13 days ago

Friendly. Not as difficult as the comments suggested. Departure from the car park at 09h, return at 16h, with an hour of picnic at the top. 2 liters of water per person.

hiking
13 days ago

This was my second hike up Tallac. I love it. Last year I did it in the fall with a friend and we moved pretty quickly (4.5 hours moving time and 1 hour for lunch and photos) because the days are much shorter in the fall. Today I went solo and carried my DSLR with multiple lenses, so I stopped frequently. I noticed it was not as crystal clear a view at top today as it was last fall, but I enjoyed the lovely wildflowers. The trail is easy to follow. I started up at 11:10am and took roughly 7 hours total. I recorded both ascents but had trouble loading my photos from today's hike. If interested, you can follow this link to see photos from both hikes: https://www.megandelehanty.com/tahoe/trails/tallac/ My take on hiking Tallac: 1. It's rocky and long so wear good boots. You will be much more comfortable. 2. I didn't carry poles because my hands were full with a camera and lens and my camera bag does not include loops for them. However, I recommend bringing one or more poles in case you twist an ankle or hurt a knee. I had no problem doing the hike without them but had I slipped... it's just so easy to do. I've seen it happen to others. 3. Do not under estimate this hike. While it is not crazy steep, it is rocky and so the descent takes some time. Think through the number of miles (10) and give yourself enough time. I saw a few people, mostly elderly, struggling on the way down. In the summer, it stays lighter longer and isn't as cold once the sun goes down but it is very different in the fall. 4. Everyone says this because it's important - bring plenty of water, 2 liters? I carried a camera backpack that didn't have a lot of room for water and food, so I packed two full cycling bottles. That was not enough. If you have one, keep a cooler in your car and reward yourself with cold drinks in the parking lot once you are done. 5. There were many audacious chipmunks at the top that will not hesitate to eat your food or bite your finger (a woman I met said one bit her finger). 6. Bugs and insects did not bother me. I used repellent but am not sure it was necessary. 7. The parking lot was full but a guy pulled out just as I drove in. There is parking on th

hiking
13 days ago

I would say this trial is moderate til towards the end there is a bit of incline and some climbing involve. Did it in July there was still patches of snow at the top and some parts of the trail was unknown. Overall a beautiful hike and worth the challenge. Lake cathedral was nice. Top of tallac view is awesome.

hiking
13 days ago

The trail was hard. It seemed like every mile people would say you would have one mile left!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
14 days ago

Did this hike over the weekend with two girlfriends and my two year old. 12/10 recommend! But def not for the faint of heart (or ankles). Starts out fairly steep from the beginning and doesn’t get any flatter. We hit the trail at 10am. Had to get a little creative with places to park, as it was a crowded day. Start out in old growth with lots of cool fallen and dead trees and krumholtz. Trail is pretty spotted with rocks, which actually makes the incline a little easier if you watch your step and use the rocks to your “stair climbing” advantage. Trail eventually gets rockier and rockier, sunnier and sunnier. Once you pass the second and final pond, things get very rocky. You’ll cross a small stream, and even walk along it for a couple feet. After this, you walk out of the tree line and pretty much start scrambling from there. All of this portion of the trail is completely exposed. Because we had the kiddo, we decided not to continue on to the top. We made it about an hour from the peak (an hour for fit hikers with no kid), and it was already 4pm so we decided to head back. It took us about an hour and a half to get back down to the trail head, even with playing in the pond for about 30 min. If you have trekking poles, USE THEM! If you have high top boots/shoes, WEAR THEM! We saw a couple other kids on trail, about 8-12 yoa. Lots of dogs, but personally I don’t recommend the canine friends; it’s way too rocky and exposed for their poor paws. Bring lots of water and sunscreen! The bugs actually weren’t bad at all, even by the water. Only bring kids in carriers if you are a fit hiker! I was exhausted by the end, and fell a couple times due to fatigued ankles. I’ll definitely wait until the kid can walk on her own the whole way to do this one again.

hiking
rocky
14 days ago

Expect a long hike, took about 8 hours round trip with about 45 min spent enjoying the scenic view on top.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
15 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

This was my second time on this trail, first time we were fully UNprepared. So we committed to doing it a second time, with boots, trekking poles, hats, water.... well the second time was just as exhausting as the first. Great views. Highly recommend doing it (only) once haha Tough terrain, no shade, slippery rocks, but seriously, a great peak to summit, and a must-do if you’re in Tahoe and want to spend the day on your feet.

hiking
no shade
rocky
17 days ago

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