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Mount Tallac Trail

HARD 980 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 is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, camping, and snowshoeing 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

camping

hiking

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.

hiking
snow
2 days ago

I did this as a bike and hike on 5/20, from the Ski Run Marina to the trailhead, up and around Floating Island Lake and return. Total 24.6 miles, 7 of that hiking on the trail. South Lake Tahoe has marked bike paths, and near the junction of highways 50 and 89, you will have a fine path, passing the Richardson Resort and Store (food, coffee, supplies) as well Pope and Baldwin beaches. The trailhead access road is opposite the entrance to Baldwin beach. It is a climb up to the trailhead, but you are rewarded with a great ride down after the hike. The access gate happened to be open on this Monday even before Memorial Day, but there were few cars at the trailhead. There is no provision for bike parking. Bring a cable to lock to a tree. Vistas along the narrow ridge never fail to amaze. Manzanita was in full bloom with its touch of green, white, pink, and deep red. At the first big snow slope, I followed foot tracks all the way to the top, but I realized later that to stay on the trail I should have followed another set of tracks that split off to the right about halfway up. As it was I made a detour too high, and then with the help of the GPS and AllTrails cut back to find the dotted line. Glad to have a snow basket on the hiking pole. You come upon Floating Island Lake suddenly, right after the sign for Desolation Wilderness. It is a pretty little lake, and this day I had it all to myself. A thin sheet of ice covered part of the surface, with nice lighting, photogenic. I broke path around the lake before heading back. Lots of rabbit tracks in the snow. The lower end is marshy, but not far down there is easy crossing by a leaning tree. I didn’t run into a soul on the way back down, although there was one car in the trailhead parking. Back on the bike for that fast downhill ride.

hiking
6 days ago

We went up on 5/19/19 and it snowed the night before, so the trail was non-existent 1-2 miles in. The hike is beautiful as you pass by Fallen Leaf Lake. There are a few small lakes along the hike. Cathedral Lake is frozen over but the ice is thinning. Once you make a right at Cathedral Lake it's essentially straight up to the next two miles (one of the grades was about 48 degrees). We lost the trail several times, but with the snow we just made a stairway all the way up. Once we got to the ridge the wind was blowing up from the southwest making it hard to see. The snow was very deep and we didn't carry snow shoes so we decided to stay along the ridge where the snow was thinner and the rocks were exposed. We went up to the summit from the south and scrambled up the rocks. While the snow is still around definitely bring a GPS or fine tune your orienteering skills.

hiking
snow
9 days ago

Could only get a mile and a half up without special snow gear. Was a gorgeous hike though. Hey

hiking
off trail
snow
13 days ago

THIS IS A SNOW TREK WITH AMAZING VIEWS!!! HIGHLIGHTS: - partially frozen alpine lakes and streams - awesome snowy hillsides and peaks to trek up, slide/fall down - Expansive views of lakes - and we saw a F*****g EAGLE!!! BLOCKERS: - Parking: Add an extra mile hike to the Tallac trailhead. The gate is closed (til Memorial day) but there’s a small lot and roadside parking - NO TRAIL (YOU NEED GPS!!!): - there is about 2 miles of actual trail and after that it’s all trekking through snow - you will use a combo of GPS, following tracks - snow shoes are prob best but snow boots and micro-spikes will get you to the summit. If you don’t have the right equipment you will and should turn when you hit the snow. - Bring trekking poles with snow baskets DANGERS: 1. No clearly marked trail after the first couple miles (buried under several feet of snow) getting lost is VERY EASY if you don’t have/are impatient with GPS 2. Falling through snow which is extra dangerous near the large, sharp rocks and snowed over streams. 3. Frozen feet if you don’t have good boots (not a joke or exaggeration, it’s a snow trek) 4. Falling down hillsides (potentially, into sharp rock)

15 days ago

I go all the time in the white mountains etc. and rarely have difficulty with a trail of any length. I did most of this trail today with my small dog. A few things: snow is melting and soft so crampons and spikes really dont help that much till the very top. Coming down is a bit treacherous. Second, come with full and back up batteries. After the first lake, there isnt really a trail anymore so I relied heavily on GPS. Third, brown bears definitely out. Saw 2 on the trail at different points. The only reason I didnt finish was the pup was done after we got to the last loop. But at least re today's conditions was a least mildly dangerous. Come prepared!! All that said, GORGEOUS trail.

15 days ago

I go all the time in the white mountains etc. and rarely have difficulty with a trail of any length. I did most of this trail today with my small dog. A few things: snow is melting and soft so crampons and spikes really dont help that much till the very top. Coming down is a bit treacherous. Second, come with full and back up batteries. After the first lake, there isnt really a trail anymore so I relied heavily on GPS. Third, brown bears definitely out. Saw 2 on the trail at different points. The only reason I didnt finish was the pup was done after we got to the last loop. But at least re today's conditions was a least mildly dangerous. Come prepared!! All that said, GORGEOUS trail.

hiking
off trail
snow
27 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! Well maintained and challenging. If you jump while at the top, you just might reach 10,000 feet!

snowshoeing
off trail
snow
1 month ago

First off, This is for advanced hikers. The Skiiers route is pretty steep. We did go up the NE ridge but coming back down was difficult on my knees. Gorgeous views all the way to the top. Take enough sunscreen and water with you.

1 month ago

Great hike very exposed bring lots of water

snowshoeing
snow
1 month ago

Snowhike on March 17 2019. Summer was tough but winter is tougher! Parking lot at the trailhead was closed. We parked at the side of the road, it added over a mile walk to get to the trailhead. 12 miles roundtrip. Snow was so deep. Very windy & freezing at the Summit. Definitely worth it tho!

hiking
snow
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

My husband and I hiked this trail 8x. It is a tough one, especially toward the summit as there are loose rocks/boulders.

snowshoeing
snow
3 months ago

Beautiful hike! The road to the trailhead is closed because of the snow so that added an additional 2 miles to the hike. We were able to walk the first two miles or so without snowshoes (the snowshoes were extremely helpful). About 4 miles in, the hike became too steep and we were unable to continue without poles.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this hike solo in October- got there around 8am on a Monday and didn’t see many people on the trail the whole way. It’s a super fun hike with multiple spots to stop along the lakes on the way and stunning views at the top. At the point where you can take either side of the loop, definitely take the right side (left on the way down) as the other side is not well defined at all- on the way down lost the trail and had to scramble down a treacherous slope to regain the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Made it to Cathedral lake in trail runners and gaiters. Snow pack is about 3-5 feet or more and is consolidated enough to walk on without snow shoes, but expect some post holing mid afternoon. I've went up twice this winter and both times were amazing. Bring the right layers as days are short and conditions change rapidly

hiking
4 months ago

We hiked about 2.5 miles into the trail on 12/23/2018. Some things to note: -The road into the trailhead was closed about a mile out. So we had to walk an additional mile each direction to get to and from the trailhead. -We hiked about 2.5 miles on Mt. Tallac trail, until we got above the tree line. This point was just past floating island lake. Beyond this, the snow is much deeper and requires snowshoes. We didn’t have them so we turned around here. All of trail is covered in snow/ice, but some of it is compact enough to walk on without snowshoes. We had great views despite not being able to hike the whole trail. The weather higher up on Mt Tallac also looked to be pretty stormy, so it was probably for the best that we turned around. A beautiful hike, and I will definitely be back in warmer weather.

5 months ago

AMAZING HIKE!! Pros -Great things to see the whole way up. -Finding the trail was not too difficult. -Everyone is very friendly on trail. Cons -Very rocky terrain the entire way. Make sure to wear good hiking shoes. -Very steep and not easy. Make sure to stay hydrated, stretch, and pace yourself. I didnt do any of those and cramped up pretty hard. I was lucky people were nice enough to provide water and energy bars. Some people brought their dogs. I thought the ground was too rocky and sharp for them. Not a good idea if your dog is not used to that. Worth it! Just dont be an idiot like me and prepared.

hiking
5 months ago

Tough trail, not a warm-up by any means.

5 months ago

Great Hike! Dont underestimate the difficulty level. Took me 5 hours to get up and 3 to get down. Got to the car right as it was turning pitch black outside

6 months ago

Great hike. It was a little longer, but worth every step. The most beautiful hike I’ve ever done. Go early in the morning to be beat the crowds. Brings at least 2 L of water if you’re an experienced hiker. Go all the way to the top! Definitely bring proper gear, food & plenty of water.

hiking
6 months ago

moderate to hard hike..harder on descent then cardio on way up as a lot of shale on trail..where as elevation gain is gradual..thighs will feel it on way down..trekking poles not my thing at this stage..but be sure of footing due to rocks..couple spots trail does somewhat disappear..but not hard to rediscover..fantastic weather for mid November and great views..at summit as well as ridgeline at start along fallen leaf lake..couple smaller lakes along way up for h20..but overall I would rate it moderate..and Jessie hope u were ok on descent..

hiking
6 months ago

Challenging hike. Wear proper gear and bring food, and water. When hiking in the fall or winter, start early or you will be hiking in the dark. It can take 5 to 7 hours to complete for an average hiker while taking time to appreciate the views of Lake Tahoe, Fall Leaf Lake and the surrounding evergreen forests

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike! I was glad I wore my hiking boots for this. The trail is rocky as everyone says but is a gradual ascent and not too steep. Our moving time was just over 4.5 hours total, going at a steady, moderate pace. I recorded it with photos. It took us 2.5 hours to ascend and 2 to descend - due to the rocky trail, be careful to leave plenty of time for the descent, especially in the fall and winter with shorter periods of daylight and cold temps once the sun goes down. We spent about 45 minutes on top and took many photos along the way. So far, this is my favorite Tahoe hike because of the near constant spectacular views!

hiking
6 months ago

Amazing! I only give it 4 stars because of lack of trail markers! Pay attention and it is so worth it! This has been on my bucket list and very rewarding! Not as hard as I imagined ! Take nuts for the over friendly chipmunks at the top:)

hiking
6 months ago

The rockiest trail ever!!! Amazing views, friendly hikers and so many rocks. Made soup at the top and took in the views!! Take plenty of water and or filter. A few lakes you can filter water from up there. Also take some snacks and trekking poles. Steep incline that’s hard on the knees after ascending/descending. Saw a chipmunk.

6 months ago

One of the most amazing hikes I have done this season and with the most spectacular views too. I highly recommend this hike if your up in the Lake Tahoe area.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike. Make sure to get out early because it gets busy.

hiking
6 months ago

Absolutely beautiful trail. Yes, there were a lot of loose rocks covering a majority of the trail, but I didn’t think this trail was as hard as some people have described it. Definitely would do it again!

hiking
6 months ago

As others have said, it's a pretty rocky trail. I used my trail running shoes and had no issues. It was warmer than I'd thought it would be, and I could have probably packed more water (there are no places to fill your bottles on the trail). I was glad I didn't bring my dog, though we did see several on the trail, and they all looked very happy. We started at 9:15, got to the summit by 12:45 or so (had a few water breaks in between, and ate for a bit at the op), and got back down by 3. I'd say the actual hiking took us 5 hours, with about an hours worth of stops along the way and at the summit. We saw dozens of other hikers on the trail, but did go for some stretches without seeing or hearing anyone.

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