Star Lake Trail via High Meadows Trail is a 13.6 mile lightly 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 March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length13.6 miElevation gain2,746 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingFishingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingNature tripsRock climbingSnowshoeingWalkingBird watchingRunningDog friendlyForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlife
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Reviews (107)
Photos (188)
Recordings (108)
Completed (201)
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Charles Fuller
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Hiking
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Vadim Voloshin
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Hiking
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MorningStarr Bradbury
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Hiking

Great trail! Make sure you park in the upper lot unless you want to make this 13.6mil hike into a 15.6. The first 3.3 miles were brutal but once you hit the path it’s a great hike. The lake is amazing. Also be on the look out for bears.

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corey rossman
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Hiking
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Trista Pringle
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HikingGreat!

Started from Kingsbury S trail. Total of 17.2 miles out and back. Beautiful hiking the entire way. Very quiet. Great footing on the trails with some assigned elevation gain of over 2000 ft on the way there. Worth it though. No animals or bugs.

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Connor H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 8, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

If you love high country terrain this hike is great. The first 2 miles of this hike, if you stay on the service road, is brutal. Its about 1000+ft of elevation in the first 45 mins. After that, the hike is very pleasant and consistent to the top. My gf and I went on a Tuesday and it was super quiet. The lake was well worth the hike. No bugs. Not a lot of animals.

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jim stinson
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Hiking
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Amber Elving
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Backpacking

backpacking this is rough, but so worth it.

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Stephanie Demsar
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Hiking

10 miles up 10 miles down, took a short cut off top of Freel to save 1 mile off trip.

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Harrison M
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Hiking

Easy hike. Expect little or no privacy at the lake.

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Dara Noonan
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Hiking

Took cold creek on the way up and high meadows on the way down, was definitely the way to go. Was around 16 miles, definitely tired by the end of it. Lake is GORGEOUS and not too cold, went for a quick swim before heading down. Get and early start!

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Kayla Potter
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Hiking

Great trail. 7.7 up if you don’t take the Jeep road the whole way. Constantly up hill but a great sweat. Down hill was 7.5 took us 2 hours 40 mins. Killer on the knees if they are not super strong. Otherwise super beautiful and pretty busy but totally worth it for the stars and the lake.

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Kurt Sakurada
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Backpacking

Parked out at High Meadows Trailhead, but instead took the Cold Creek Trailhead from the parking lot until it met up again with the High Meadows Rd., where it eventually guided us to the Star Lake Trail

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Bradley Mears
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Hiking

Thanks to previous reviews, I took cold creek instead of the fire road which was really great. Ample water sources between trailhead and Star Lake. There were around 5 other groups at star lake but plenty of space to camp out and have privacy.

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Joe Mato
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Backpacking

Did this as part of a route out to Star Lake this past weekend. We actually took Cold Creek trail on the way out to the lake (props to the reviewer who suggested that. Cold Creek is much nicer) and the fire road on the way back. The first 3 miles of this route up the fire road are a relatively steep; the last 4 miles to the lake are much nicer, though still uphill. No snow on or near the trail. We overnighted at Star Lake, which is beautiful, and there were probably 5 other groups there. Twilight brought a lot of gnats and a couple mosquitoes, but nothing terrible. Overall really enjoyed it as a backpacking spot.

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Kevin Calhoun
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Hiking

Took this on a big loop around Freel- Star Lake to Cold Creek was a great descent! Star Lake is certainly a gem, not the quietest lake i have been to, but absolutely perfect with the massive rock walls behind adding a rugged reflection on a still day. The trail down was very flowy, steep at times which had me happy to be descending, and offered fantastic views for a good chunk of it

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Velma Schnoll
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HikingSnow
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Christine Sunshine
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Backpacking

HIKERS: do not use the jeep trail - use the cold creek trail instead (you can see it on the map). It adds an extra mile each way but it is worth it!

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Bernie Milligan
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Hiking

I did hike from Coldcreek,to High Meadows,then onto Star lake,three days to nights,and a nice hike up to Freels Peak

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Kevin Keehan
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Hiking

The trail starts out on a gravel fire road but after about 3 miles turns into a beautiful hiking trail that leads to a gorgeous mountain lake. I would rate it a bit more difficult than the app indicates.

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Ken Goudey
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Hiking

Star Lake is beautiful in July. Worth the climb, which shouldn't be underestimated, particularly when you factor in the elevation. The Jeep trail is straight up and unkind for the first half of the hike. Once on the Star Lake Trail, the route pays much higher dividends. Several water opportunities along the way. Lots of mountain bikes and dogs.

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Paul David
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Hiking

Very nice, but challenging long day hike. We started from the lower parking lot and the AllTrails app recorded 15.2 miles round trip. The trail is easy to follow, but not a lot of signage once you are going- the app helped to confirm we were on track. Only small patches of snow as you get higher up. 2 stream crossings that we crossed on downed logs just below the trail. The 2 miles back down the steep Jeep trail near the end is hard in the legs. All in all a great hike - especially when Desolation Wilderness is still mostly blocked with deep snow.

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Renee Sulli
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Backpacking

The first part is a pretty monotonous road. Its steep which I found easier on the uphill. Coming down with a backpacking backpack was really annoying. But...the lake and the upper part of the trail are amazing and worth it. In the afternoon we went to Freel peak, not too much farther and a great time.

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Garroll White
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First to Review

Star

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Jon Tyler
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Seleena Salanoa
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Hiking
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Lee Reamy
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Hiking
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Emily Maitino
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