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Showers Lake via the PCT is a 9.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 9.8 mi Elevation gain 1,368 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Cross country skiing

Hiking

Nature trips

Snowshoeing

Walking

Running

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

This is a relatively easy trail from just below Carson Pass on Highway 88 to Meiss Lake. It includes fantastic views of the surrounding peaks, Caples Lake, and Lake Tahoe, and is an excellent swimming destination in the summer, plus a great snow camping destination in the winter. The trail is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It is 4 miles from the parking lot to Meiss lake, with an elevation gain of about 300 feet as you climb over the saddle before dropping down to Meiss valley. The trail is well sign-posted and marked. It follows the highway for a little over 1/4 a mile before turning right into a wooded valley. After another 1/4 mile, there is a moderate climb up to the pass, before a gentle slope down to Meiss valley. The remaining 2.5 miles is flat and easy. Shortly after the trail drops into the valley, there is a fork. You will leave the PCT and take the left (eastern) fork, which is an old jeep route. After a short distance you will see Meiss lake to your left (west). It is the warmest lake in the Lake Tahoe region and great for swimming, although it is quite shallow. Return the way you came. In the winter, most people ignore the PCT and simply navigate directly to the saddle. Navigation here is very easy on a clear day as there are few trees 100 feet above the parking lot, and so the visibility is excellent. If you ignore the PCT and take a more direct route, there will be more climbing. Beware the avalanche point on the north of the saddle, on the western side. It creates a terrain trap out of the trail and can be dangerous. As always in the winter, be very careful with navigation, the weather can change fast here.

There is a parking lot at the trail-head that the pacific crest trail runs through. It has two pit toilets, and is operational year-round. In the winter a SNO-Park pass is required .

Nevada Commission on Tourism, 401 N. Carson Street , Carson City, NV, 89701

Directions from South Lake Tahoe: Take Highway 50 south to Highway 89 and turn left. Continue to the intersection of Highway 89 and 88 and turn right. Continue past the Carson Pass Sno-Park one mile, turn left on the dirt road and park in the dirt parking area. The trailhead is located on the other side of the highway, just across from the parking area.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (214)
Photos (620)
Recordings (175)
Completed (290)
Ying-Ying Hsu
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Hiking
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Karina Szkiladz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2020
Hiking
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Jenny Haas
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Hiking
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Bethany Wallace
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Hiking

I absolutely loved everything about this hike. Still plenty of wildflowers to enjoy, especially at all the creek crossings. The elevation gains are mostly at the beginning and end, which makes for a very nice rhythm and plenty of meadow hopping. The lake was beautiful. I left early and arrived around 10:30, perfect to get some sun and swimming in before heading back around noon, beating the afternoon thunder storms!

Saan Saetern
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingBugs
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Patrick Austin
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HikingOff trailRocky

didn't want to go off trail solo in an unfamiliar spot we I ended up in all these great places instead. gorgeous hike with epic views!!!

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Dustin Corcoran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2020
Hiking

Lots of wildflowers out right now. Great hike.

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Debbie Slupianek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
Hiking

Spectacular hike! Too early still for wildflowers - but everything was so green! Highly recommend this hike.

Hayden Coker
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HikingBugs
Kathy Durrett
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HikingBugsMuddy

What a very beautiful hike with lots of great views of the snow capped mountains on the way back. Few river crossings but they had rocks to easily get across. The bugs were bad. So take spray. We had an amazing time. There were a lot of PCT through hikers and backpackers camped at showers Lake. The trail was pretty busy

Kim Ainsley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 24, 2020
Hiking

Has become a favorite annual hike. Not as many wildflowers this year but still spectacular! Started as a “not a cloud in the sky day” in the low 80s. Forecasts predicted lightning in the afternoon so we didn’t linger at the lake and hustled to get through the meadow and over the creeks. We hit the bottom of the last climb before the rain/hail started and sprinted down the last half of Meiss Ridge in a torrential but warm downpour. The cell ended up dumping thumbnail sized hail balls before we reached Caples. Great reminder to be prepared for quickly changing weather and respect the flash swells of the creeks.

Kiki Laca
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 7, 2020
HikingFloodedMuddySnow

One of my favorite trails - it is extra beautiful right now as the mountains still have plenty of snow on top. There are snow patches, but the trail is passable; we had micro spikes with us but never needed to pull them out. Lots of snowmelt though and, as another reviewer mentioned, a few of the crossings were pretty tricky. Waterproof boots recommended! Overall the trail is pretty muddy right now, but it was nice to hike it when it is less busy as it will be later in the season.

Kelly Campbell
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BackpackingOff trailSnow

The views along the way and at Showers Lake are worth the trip alone. Trail had several snow patches that required a little off trail maneuvering, but nothing that wasnt easy to find your way back from, and no crampons required. Just use some caution while there si snow as it is over a ton of creeks and can give the illusion of being packed in until you step through it! Past the meadow with Meiss cabins, the Upper Truckee Rover crossing can be fast and a bit deep for crossing without taking your boots off later in the day. Winds were very heavy all night camping in the wooded area of Showers Lake, but it is utterly gorgeous. Amazing view of Lake Tahoe just past the wooded campsites at the lake. Great for backpacking, much easier as a day hike with so much eye candy.

randy spence
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Beautiful scenery and well maintained trail.

Linda Whitney
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HikingFee

Beautiful views! 360 from the top. A longish climb then decent into a Bonanza style 2-mile long high-country meadow. - view of Tahoe towards the far end. Showers lake is beautiful, if you get that far. 10 miles r/t. Nov 1 - May 30 you need a sno park pass to park (through US forest service.)

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Megan Emslander
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HikingNo shade
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Dave Woolsey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2019
Hiking

I went to Showers Lake for a quick overnighter and it was great! Being the PCT, there were lots of other hikers but still a quiet getaway. The lake is beautiful, and easy to get to. The weather was still fantastic - clear day and night with highs around 70 and lows in the mid 40’s. Very few pesky bugs (although a couple of mosquitoes did get their evening meal off me - but there weren’t many buzzing around at all). There were still patches of snow along the ridge. The landscape was mostly greens, yellows and browns, as most of the wildflowers were not blooming, but there were a few patches of purple here and there. Plenty of water along the way from small streams.

Jay Cohen
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HikingOver grown
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Grace Yvonne
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Hiking

Really a pretty trail, more like 11 miles round trip though. Dogs loved it and there was planty of water for them along the way, and not too many burs or bugs.

Kiki Laca
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2019
Hiking

Gorgeous hike - pretty easy minus the two moderate climbs. If you go past the lake a bit there is a nice open overlook to Tahoe. We started early, covered the whole thing in a little over three hours, and got out before the crowds really showed up. The wildflowers are definitely past their peak now, although there were minimal mosquitos so that was a plus. On the weekend, this hike gets quite busy with day hikers and TRT backpackers, but it’s nice to see so many people enjoying the trail.

Susanna B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2019
Hiking

Hiked the trail last weekend. Wildflowers were out in abundance. Slightly windy which kept the mosquitoes away. This is a nice easy hike with just a couple of climbs up to the pass and a ~400 foot climb up to Showers Lake. Very popular hike on the weekends, so get an early start if you want more solitude. The actual distance out and back from the parking lot at Carson Pass is more like 11 miles, depending on how far around the lake you go.

Jonathan Baker
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HikingBugs
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April Baker
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HikingBugs
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Eric Horne
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HikingBugs

Wildflowers are out heavy, as are the mosquitoes. Snow is still around but not on the trail. $5 to park. Space is limited. We got the last proper parking spot before 10am, though there are some more spaces about 100 feet west along the highway.

Brian Melsheimer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2019
Hiking

We did the day hike to Showers and a little bit toward round lake on the way back. Pretty easy hike most of the way. Nice big hill at the end before the lake. Creeks were pretty easy to get through. There was one spot we had to cross up stream over a log. Wildflowers were pretty amazing.

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