Sierra Discovery Trail [CLOSED]

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Tahoe National Forest

Sierra Discovery Trail is a 0.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Alta, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and nature trips and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 0.8 miles Elevation Gain: 39 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

stroller friendly

nature trips

walking

forest

paved

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

closed

This trail is experiencing full or partial closure due to COVID-19. Please see the open trails nearby for alternate hiking options. The Sierra Discovery Trail loop is an interesting, and easy interpretive trail, explaining the geology and ecology of the Bear Valley and the Sierra Nevada. The trail starts out as pavement crossing a bridge over the Bear River. To get to Bear River Falls, go left after Bear River bridge, and you'll see the falls shortly on your left. After seeing the waterfall, continue on the loop trail back around to the parking lot.

hiking
1 month ago

It’s technically closed due to Covid-19, tried exploring but still lot’s of snow, you’d be fine in hiking boots.

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Really fun short walk to do with the kids. Still lots of snow but able to do fine in hiking boots.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice weather. Most of the snow has melted off the trail today. No other hikers!

walking
4 months ago

very easy beautiful trees

hiking
6 months ago

Great easy walk, peaceful with pretty views. We went late November before any snow and we were the only ones there. Picnic tables to the right of the pit toilets in the parking lot.

hiking
Mon May 13 2019

Nice easy interpretive trail. Path is well maintained gravel through the forest. A bit buggy, particularly next to the wetlands, but more irritating than biting.

hiking
Sat May 11 2019

Great area for the kids (5 & 3).

hiking
Thu Jan 24 2019

Very nice, clean, scenic interpretive trail.

Tue Nov 20 2018

fun trail.love the waterfalls

hiking
Sat Dec 30 2017

Short easy flat hike. Very well maintained. Lots of pinecones on the trail right now. Interpretative signs were interesting. The marsh was iced over, which was cool to see, and there is a tiny bit of snow on the ground in the shady areas.

hiking
Sat Sep 16 2017

Great family friendly trail! We will be back!

Tue Sep 05 2017

The trail is very clearly marked and easy to find. There are two small waterfalls. The trail is in good condition and there are great interpretive signs describing the wildlife, trees, etc. This is a good easy trail, lots of shade, lots of water. There are bathrooms and a water spigot.

hiking
Sun Jul 09 2017

A beautiful but short interpretive trail. Bear River falls is a nice feature and the forest is a beautiful mix of Oak, pine, Alder and Cedar. I did run into a Rattlesnake on trail. Be alert.

hiking
Thu Jul 06 2017

It was a pleasant trail. The waterfall was obscured by trees though. Also don't pay attention to the long line to the interstate, I forgot to turn it off

Tue Jan 03 2017

Cool hike. Spotted a heart stump and unexpected waterfall!

hiking
Wed Jul 20 2016

Good for beginners and kids. Lots if signs along the way from which the kids can learn. The description says mountain biking, but there are signs that clearly say biking is not allowed. Bathrooms are stinky with lots of flies

hiking
Fri Apr 22 2016

Super easy, short hike and lots of water:) The falls are beautiful and easy to get down to. Nice picnic area in the shade and right next to the water. If you walk across the street you can sit next to a small waterfall by the bridge. This is a great trail for kids since it's short and easy and lots to look at. The only two concerns we had were 1) Bathrooms very dirty/smelly so don't go in there

walking
Sun Nov 22 2015

Had an amazing time and the dogs loved running the path and wading in the water. This would make a great summer swimming hole!

hiking
Sun Sep 06 2015

Not a good trail. There was garbage on the trail and in the stream. Gravel "trail" most of the time.

Sat Jul 18 2015

Went for a walk with our three year old, and our 1 year old in the stroller. It was great, would recommend it to anyone especially someone looking for and easy, short hike.

hiking
Mon Jun 29 2015

Great trail, easy walk. The first time we went, we let our son walk most of it by himself, and at the time he was only a year old. Great family trail.

bird watching
Fri Jun 12 2015

Nice easy trail. Interpretive signs along the way. Picnic area nearby.

hiking
Mon Feb 16 2015

Nice short hike, that old and young can do with no problem. Lots of trees and running water.

walking
Thu Apr 17 2014

I've done this nature trail a few times. It's a nice little walk in the woods with interpretive signs pointing out different species of pine and other flora, none of which I can ever remember! Same as the earlier reviewer, I've done this trail before or after other hikes higher up in the mountains. A few weeks ago I heard a giant chorus of frogs down in the marshy area. A pretty creek with some small-ish waterfalls. Great for kids (of all ages).

hiking
Sat Nov 09 2013

Our family really enjoyed this trail it was fun and easy. We actually stopped on our way up I-80 to a trail in truckee and we are really happy we stopped. My only complaint is that it IS NOT in Alta. I grew up in Alta this trail would be better explained as being around Yuba Gap. Which is a good 20 miles past Alta. Other then that it is beautiful an fun especially for small kids!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
3 months ago

recorded Sierra Discovery Trail

hiking
3 months ago

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