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Mount Tallac Trail

HARD 681 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.

10.2 miles
3290 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




nature trips

rock climbing


trail running





wild flowers





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.

22 hours ago

I started on the trail at 5:30 am, Saturday June 16th 2018. I really recommend to follow the All Trails trail map to the summit. I lost the trail many times and it was valuable to have the offline trail map to find the trail again. There is still snow on the trail in 3 to 4 spots. The view from the top is amazing. Get here early to get a good parking spot because it fills up fast and otherwise you’ll park on the side of the road and walk longer. Compared to Pyramid Peak and Freel Peak in the Tahoe area, Mount Tallac is less remote and easier. Overalls great way to spend a Saturday morning.

On reaching the summit you would have earned some of the best views of Lake Tahoe ever. Went today and although small patches of snow are still present it's still manageable with regular trail shoes. Frequent patches of rough rocks too - so right kind of shoes definitely recommend. The hike though is totally worth all the efforts.

Closer to 11.5 miles in and out. Trekked through a few small snow banks in June, made it more interesting and fun. The wildflowers are icing in the cake during this difficult hike.

4 days ago

We hiked Mt. Tallac yesterday. Some patches of snow on the trail but easy to navigate and poles helped with stability. We lost the trail a few times near the summit but it was not a big deal to find it if you keep hiking and pick a good line. This hike has the most beautiful views of Lake Tahoe, Emerald bay, Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Aloha (amongst many more) from the backside. Breathtaking! Round trip 5 hours and a celebratory beer at the car!

7 days ago

The views at the very top was worth the hike. I would say the views are better than Yosemite. You get a 360 degree view of nature’s beauty. I am not sure how the Desolation Wilderness looks without snow, but this time of year with snow on the mountains, it was just jaw dropping beauty. Of course, the Lake Tahoe side is just as gorgeous. My only regret was not bringing my DSLR camera.
The trails are tricky this time of year. Many people turned around instead of attempting to climb the face of the mountain. Snow covered trails make it very difficult to follow the trail. You either “rock climb” on the right or scale the snow.. definitely need gear to go over the snow. It’s very steep and slippery. Coming down is tricky since the views are so different from the top. I would recommend GPS marking where you came up. At the very peak, there will be chipmunks that will attempt to steal your snacks. So don’t leave your food out in the open. This hike took us 6 hours, including getting lost trying to find our way down the face..

8 days ago

Did this hike on 6/8/18 and will definitely be going back as soon as my body recovers! Like all other recent reviewers, I lost the trail a number of times and ended up doing some sketchy rock-climbing-over-shale hoping I didn’t die until I found it again, but I eventually did! I didn’t start using the all trails app until I got past the “false summit,” but I wish I had because it would have made it easier to know when I wasn’t on the trail and how to get back on it. The paths made in the snow after the false summit do not follow the actual trail!! When I went up I followed the path through the snow and had a really hard time getting to the summit. On the way back down I tried harder to find the trail and didn’t go through the snow as much, and as a whole that was MUCH easier! Not to mention much better for the environment and following “leave no trace” practice. All in all, if you feel you are up to the 3000+ climb/5 miles, absolutely do this hike! But pull up the app as soon as it starts to become more rocky, it will save you a lot of energy and struggle by staying closer to the trail!

10 days ago

Really incredible views at the peak. The first 2/3 of the hike is pretty mild. Then you hit a rock patch which is very easy to lose the trail on. This area is what people are calling the false summit. As of today there was snow patches covering sections of the trail and we managed to lose the trail about a dozen times. Fortunately we had service for google maps so we could stay on track. Took us about 10 hours for a very slow and leisurely trip, including an hour or so spent hanging out at the peak. Definitely worth it!

11 days ago

Great trail and views from the.top are breathtaking. A little bit of snow left up top, but nothing that can't be crossed through. Make sure to use GPS. Almost everyone was trying to scale the face, but if they had just turned and stayed on the trail, it was a relatively easy accent. Pro tip, shoes with shanks, it is rocky!

11 days ago

Did this hike on 6/6/18. This was a really fun hike, but don't expect to do it in 5 hours! It took me and my girlfriend about 9 hours roundtrip. We met a few other groups who also took about 8-9 hours. The trail up to the second lake is pretty straightforward. Once you leave the second Lake, the hike gets more technical. We got lost heading up to the false summit and had to backtrack a bit. The path we took was a bit treacherous, as the rocks were unstable and we caused a handful of mini rockslides. Once over the false summit, there's several snow patches to cross. At the final push to the actual summit, we hugged the trail around on the right as opposed to going straight up, and it was significantly easier. Overall it was a great time! We saw lots of chipmunks and marmots. Just don't expect this to be a quick walk in the park, and be prepared for technical climbs over boulder fields and snow patches.

14 days ago

That was awesome! 6-4-18. Got on trail by 8:15am and was back at my car by 12:50pm.
I was solo, I only stopped once for a quick water break at one of the lakes, and then was at the summit for 20mins or so for lunch.
Yes, the first 3.3mi was cake, obvious trail. When you’re hiking the face to the false summit, that was a lil technical. Crossed a snow patch, but only lasted a couple mins. You’re making your own trail at that point...just head up to the ridge at whatever way you find easiest. Once you get to the ridge (false summit) you’ll have to cross a boulder field which is tricky. Once you’re up on the ridge, the summit is obvious..just keep headin towards it. I crossed the actual trail a couple times..but found it easier to just head straight to the summit...the ridge is clear enough to just make your own trail.
There’s no summit sign...but it’s obvious when you’re there...there’s no more climbing!
Coming down the ‘no-trail’ face was tricky...so
be careful...there were definitely a few rock slides coming down.
Have fun!

15 days ago

Like a walk in the park, highly recommended!

17 days ago

Amazing hike yesterday! First time hiking it and was lucky to meet locals that have hiked Tallac before that helped guide the way. Snow was covering parts of the trail, but that made the experience more memorable. Highly recommend!

18 days ago

Completed this hike on 27-May-2018. The weather was very helpful with a bright sunny day. It’s a great trail for a day hike with beautiful views along the trail. The last quarter can be a bit tricky and needs shoes with a good grip so you don’t accidentally slip because of the snow and the loose rocks. It’s also good to carry water with you.

Also a good point to note, google maps does not show the correct route to the trailhead. You will need to take a left on Emerald Bay Rd/89 where you see a sign board that reads Camp Shelly/Camp Concord.

All in all, an amazing experience!

19 days ago

AMAZING VIEWS from the summit! Getting there was a bit of another story.
- First 3.5 ish miles were amazing! Up to 1 mile above the fallen leaf lake marker we had a moderate climb with some great views.
-The trail got tricky from that point. We went right following the All Trails route towards what ended up an “in-the-works” trail (about 1/4 mile after we started hitting some snow on the trail) which led us to a false summit. This looked like where most hikers were going. It was technical at best, with 60+ degree climbs at times on very rocky, loose footing... There was no defined trail at that point so we created our own path along the ridge line. It was on the CUSP of our comfort zone as two endurance athletes with a few technical climbs under our belt and in pretty good general shape. I’d deem this route a bit dangerous for a lone hiker or someone tired or with bad ankles, etc... If you go this route- it was on the verge of needing equipment, and take it SLOW and be careful!
- Once we got over that section and got to the real ridge line, it was ~3/4 mile climb to the Tallac summit. Much less treacherous.
- THE SUMMIT WAS ASTOUNDING!!! We were so glad we kept going to the top! The views were amazing and we saw marmots, chipmunks, and picas everywhere (!!)
- We were lucky enough to meet some very experienced locals at the summit who took us “the old trail” back, which went towards, then over the left part of the ridge line. It was still covered in snow in the top mile and would have been very difficult to find/follow for a first timer, but ended up being a much safer and still beautiful descent. Highly recommend looking for this route instead of trying to descend the false summit on the right.

20 days ago

Trail was very hard to find - we were behind some other groups so we followed them, and ended up going off the trail onto a rather unsafe area with very unstable rocks (what people are calling the fake peak). We eventually found the real trail, but it wasn’t really marked at all (no blazes) and went off into the snow, where it would be even harder to follow. It was a beautiful hike for the distance we went, but we sadly weren’t able to summit because the trail was so poorly marked. I think it will be better once all the snow melts. Still an awesome hike, but make sure to check your map after the first couple miles.

20 days ago

Hiked it today and it was beautiful. Really a great day hike on the harder side of the spectrum. The last leg was more difficult because of the loose rocks and no trail but if you take your time and move slowly the beautiful view in the end makes it all worth it.

20 days ago

View from false summit is half as good as from top - you can see only half of the lake :) made it to the top on May 27. Still quite a lot of snow, but follow the trail and you will be alright. There is part of the trail where many people diverge from AllTrails route - AllTrails route is easier, although it doesn’t go to false summit.

21 days ago

Beautiful trail (few lakes on the way up, not just at the top). The view from the top is absolutely amazing. Only reason I give it 4 stars is it is extremely rocky. At one point in the trail you need to climb up the rocks, not all of which are stable. Many people turned around, my mom was unable to continue due to balance issues several others turned around because of weak knees/ankles. It is a very strenuous part of the hike. Micro spikes were very helpful on the way back down through the snow (only snow during the last 1 mile or so right after the rocks). Overall very difficult hike but beautiful especially at the top.

22 days ago

Awesome trail. Amazing views. Very rocky. If you turn ankles easily turn around now. Cathedral is a moderate hike and beautiful turnaround spot for the novice hiker. I suggest for experienced hikers, I lost the trail several times. There is still some snow up there and wish I had my poles. Views from the false summit are as good as from the top. The last 1.5 to the top is for those that need to check the summit box. Overall the views are worth every moment. A good mental & physical test at altitude.

22 days ago

Definitely a tough trail, but worth the views on the way up and down. We made it about a 1.5 from the summit. It was still covered with a lot of snow and very foggy towards the peak, which made it difficult to hike too as well as see. We made it at around the 3.75 mile mark and saw a lot of really pretty views from there. As people were coming down they all said the same thing, “too foggy”, “too much snow”, and so on. We felt it was worth the hike and would do it again!

26 days ago

This was my first time up this trail. I met lots of people below Cathedral Lake. Only saw 3 other people above that point. I spoke with two others that stated that the amount of snow had added a lot of time to their trek to the top. For me, the Novice, the snow did make it difficult to tel where the trail was supposed to be. Often I would follow tracks in the snow only to discover that they were way off base compared to the app map.

I'm really glad that I pushed past all the reasons to turn around and made it to the top. The view was great. There was a group of Marmots living at the top. The latest weather was rolling in so I quickly ate my lunch ad headed back down. I can understand why people do this hike over and over. Well worth it!

27 days ago

Did the hike May 20th. Amazing views! There is snow on the upper section but after around 4.5-5 mile point you can fairly easily circulate around it and the summit ridge itself is mostly clear of snow. Did not use crampons or studded shoes.

28 days ago

Did it on 5/19. The gate is open now. 3.5 hr to the top and 1.5 hr down (started at 6:15am - first car in the parking lot). After Cathedral Lake, (all the way to the summit) the trail is useless - mostly covered with snow. Used crampons - going up the chute - didn’t need crampons after that. Did see a guy who successfully summited with no crampons and/or ice axe. Barely any people on the trail - nice views, no wind, warm.

29 days ago

did it on 5/13 Sunday. The last 2 miles is covered by deep snow, would be much easier with micro spikes. The view on the peak is absolutely stunning. I've been to other peaks like Mt Rose and Pyramid, but Mt Tallac is the best!

29 days ago

Hiked to the top Saturday, May 12th. Had to walk to extra miles round trip to pass the barrier from the first parking lot to the actual trailhead. Started at 7:50 a.m., summited at 12:45 p.m. and finished around 3. This was our first time out on this trail so we weren't sure where the peak was and we lost track of the path when we started up this deep snow field. We clambered up loose rocks for a while and after consulting with GPS ended up back in the snow. Mountain boots/crampons/ice axe not necessary. We got by fine in solid hiking boots and lightweight pants. Glissading down the shallower hills was fun.

1 month ago

We climbed the trail on 5/13/18. The gate was locked closed so that added a couple of miles to the hike. There was some snow on the trail in spots we hiked about 2000 feet up from the trail head and had to turn around because the snow got very deep. It was a great day with amazing views.

1 month ago

Did it two days ago. Wonderful trail! Very good elevation gain. We hiked about half mile after Cathedral Lake, then stopped at about 8400 ft. due to snow. Great view of Tahoe, Fallen Leaf and Cathedral Lake from the top. On the way back the Floating Island Lake was as green as an emerald. Highly recommended. Plan for about 6 hours or more if you plan to the very top.

1 month ago

This trail starts easy. Before the hard climb starts there is a beautiful lake at the base of the mountain it is a good meet up point for hiking with people with different speeds. The view from the top is stunning and well worth the hike. Spent 1 hour at the top exploring all the different side. Well worth the hike. It took my friend and I 6-7 hours.

1 month ago

I was there yesterday. I had to walk about two extra miles in order to get to Mt. Tallac Trailhead, because the access road was closed for traffic. That is why my trip was about 13 miles long. I started around 11am and I was back to my car around 5.30pm. The summit was pretty cold and windy, and the temperature was about 10F. I would recommend an ice axe and micro spikes for your safety. I truly enjoyed glissading on my way down from the summit.

Mt Tallac is a majestic mountain.

1 month ago

Long because of the snow and somewhat challenging.

With the snow in late April.

We started at 1:30AM and got to the summit at the 10am. Took our time for the most part and needed crampons and an ice axe for the steeper portions. There’s a lot of scree as well, so you’ll probably end up taking off your crampons and hopefully it’s a bit warmer and you wouldn’t need the crampons to finish the summit.

We also glissaded down which cut a good 2 hours. Cool views.

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