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.

Length9.8 miElevation gain1,368 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingCross-country skiingHikingNature tripsSnowshoeingWalkingRunningForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeSnow
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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.

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Reviews (242)
Photos (688)
Activities (217)
Completed (393)
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Jade Jossen
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Hiking

amazing!

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Scott Gylling
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Snowshoeing

We followed someone's trail most of the way. There was heavy crust. We turned back when it seemed like the weather was changing. Light snow at the end.

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Melissa Fletcher
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HikingSnow

Lots of powder....it was a workout with micro spikes or snowshoes. Beautiful scenery

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Nick Lawrence
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Hiking

Trail was perfectly pleasant. Nothing amazing but a nice stroll through the meadows. We hit a patch of nice weather right before the first snow is forecast. Early November and it was mid 60s, started around 1:15 pm and finished around 5:45. Nice moderate mix of ups and downs with a big stretch of flat. Showers Lake looks like it would be a nice spot in summer. Plants have mostly already changed over so it’s pretty dry and dead up there. Only passed around 10 people on the way there, and no one on the way back. Doggo loved it.

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Jeff Lancaster
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Hiking
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Sandy Knapp
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Hiking
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Jessica Ellen
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HikingGreat!

Trail was awesome. The trail is really easy to follow except right in the first mile we got a little confused when the trail ends at some rocks and picks right up on the other side. We kinda laughed that we got confused there but thought we’d let everyone know if you ever can’t tell where the trail is for 4 mins you are not on it :). Trail is more like an easy/moderate for those that are fit. I’d say the only reason it’s moderate is because it’s at a higher elevation. Great parking and awesome that people are leaving no trace. The lake is beautiful at the end of the trail and we were able to climb on the rocks near the lake.

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Ryan DeMasters
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Hiking
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Brad Friederichs
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Hiking

liked the trail. no aspens

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Kc Woods
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020
Hiking

Started at 9:30 and didn’t pass a sole all the way to Showers lake. Last mile to the lake is steep. Plenty of water running on the way for the dog. Beautiful hike through forested areas and meadows. Hiked on a Monday and passed about 10 people on the way back. Good day hike with beautiful views and good trail.

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debra ditolla
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HikingGreat!
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Lourdes Guerrero
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Hiking

Nice trail, pretty views.

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Richard Scandone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking

amazing hike we've done for the second time. Went later in the afternoon which proved to be ideal. Very few people on trail with us being the last out around 7p.m.

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Susan Stewart
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Tough hike. The downhill at the end was rough. Ended up off trail about 15 minutes from end. Lost my emotions. Had to be rescued by Charlie and Alex. Smoke came in afternoon, made it hard to breath on top or altitude and asthma! Beautiful area! Gorgeous morning views.

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James Boyle
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Hiking
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Laura Tembreull
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Hiking

Nice

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Cassandra Diaz
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HikingGreat!

Little climbing in the beginning and end. Beautiful meadows in between

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Christine Halk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

We made a loop by coming back on Showers Lake Trail which follows the ridge all the way back until you hook back up to the PCT. Amazing views as you can see all the way to Lake Tahoe one way, and Caples Lake the other way. No traffic either on this one as it is not on most maps. Easy to follow from Shadow but no trail markers from PCT side so you have to look for it (hidden entrance even!). The trail does lose its way through heavy rock in 2 spots at the top but really easy to find again.

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Ying-Ying Hsu
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Judy Benson
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HikingGreat!

Large parking lot and toilets are available. Trail is a mostly nice surface, some rocky areas on the hills. Quite a bit of shade and a beautiful meadow to hike through inbetween the hills at the beginning and the end. That last uphill to the Lake is a serious butt kicker! Beautiful all the way.

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Kevin Nylander
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Karina Szkiladz
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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!

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Saan Saetern
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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
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Hiking

Lots of wildflowers out right now. Great hike.

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Debbie Slupianek
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Hiking

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

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