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Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT): Big Meadow to Echo Summit Loop

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Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT): Big Meadow to Echo Summit Loop is a 19.5 mile moderately trafficked loop 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 June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 19.5 miles Elevation Gain: 3,572 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

Between Big Meadow and Echo Summit, the trail wanders from meadows to lakes to creeks, and through dense stands of pine, fir and aspen. The trail heads south from Big Meadow trailhead across a gently rolling landscape of grassy meadows and fragrant conifer stands. The shaded shores of Round Lake is nestled beneath high cliffs. Further on, the TRT merges with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) and swings north through flower filled Meiss Meadows and alongside the cool head waters of the Upper Truckee River. The trail then climbs past granite lined shores of Showers Lake and through a rocky bowl where seasonal creeks tumble down steep ridges into lush meadows. Further north the landscape becomes more rugged and much drier, and opens into occasional views of Lake Tahoe. The trail drops over a granite ridge in a long steep downhill traverse before leveling off. A small stream outlined with ferns and flowers provides a refreshing respite before the short ascent to the Echo Summit Trailhead.

hiking
muddy
snow
24 days ago

Big meadow to echo summit- parked at adventure mountain -16+ miles. It was cold and windy today (40ish) but sunny and some clouds. Snow patches above 8000 ft but easy to follow footprints and gps. Round lake and showers lake beautiful highlights. 3000+ ft of climbing. The last few miles were a lot of downed debris and lost the trail a bit but got back on track. Beautiful trail with great vistas, some amazing old trees, beautiful rock outcroppings and creek crossings.

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Did this in two days this past weekend. SO MUCH SNOW. Would have been totally lost/in big trouble without the Guthooks app, because I could not see the trail probably 90% of the time. Microspikes were a big help, but when it warmed up the snow got so soft I was falling through it often. Should have brought more socks. Amazing views, great hike, but those were tough, tough miles at this time of year. Also, there were bear tracks.

hiking
8 months ago

Spent the day on the trail and didn't see or hear another soul. It was wonderful! Showers lake was the highlight for me as there are only a few glimpses of Tahoe in the distance along the way. I was a bit surprised by the Northern point of this trail as it was just a parking lot. I decided to push on and walk to the natural break at Echo Lake. The signs put it at 2 miles on way, but it was 3.5. I ended up adding 7 miles onto my walk. All the small streams are frozen over, but in the afternoon you could hear the water running under the ice. Everything is closed at Echo Lake.

Hikes the Tahoe Rim Trail section and I will be back to do it again!

hiking
11 months ago

This was a great 2 day hike. Big Meadows to Showers Lake was beautiful, plenty of flowers and wildlife. Showers Lake was a wonderful camp area, not too crowded. Still some snow patches on the way to Echo Summit, easy to pass. Muddy in some areas. lots of mosquitos, be prepared.

hiking
bugs
11 months ago

hiking
Mon Jun 10 2019

Went the day before the snow started for the season in November 2018. Freezing cold but beautiful!!

snowshoeing
snow
Sun Feb 24 2019

Lots of snow on the trail (as expected). The parking lot is not plowed, but there was a little part of the shoulder that was clear. We left our car there, and we were the only ones - this was good because there wouldn’t have been room for too many. Not sure if SnoPark is required. Difficult to navigate the trail itself with so much snow, but there were some markers placed on the section we did - this is how we knew we were following Upper Truckee Rd. That said, we were still glad to have maps downloaded so we knew where we were at all times.

Thu Sep 20 2018

Lovely fall hike with awesome lakes and big views

Tue Aug 28 2018

Beautiful wildflower display right now in mid July!

backpacking
Mon Aug 13 2018

This was a great trail with amazing views. We took our dogs who did great. Went clockwise which seemed like the right choice at the end. The decent to adventure mountain was a steep decline. Adventure mountain was closed for the season but there is a small parking lot just before the gate. We parked at Johnson Pass rd. And added about another 2 mi. to the trip. I wasn’t a fan of the several freeway crossings or the fact that I camped right next to a coyote den in big Meadow. But other than that it was great!

hiking
Wed Jul 11 2018

Went clockwise: correct choice! It ends with some crazy downhill. Great meadows and variety of views across the trial, there's no one view that stands above the rest

backpacking
Wed Jul 04 2018

Started at Big Meadows and ended at parking at Lower Echo Lake. Camped at Showers Lake. Plenty of water along the trail. Beautiful views. Still a bit of snow on north facing ridges but that just provided nice, cold, fresh streams. Lots of mosquitos so be prepared.

hiking
Sun Aug 27 2017

My Garmin shows we did 21.3 miles on this loop. We also decided to do this loop C'Clock wise and started from the Parking lot of Big Meadows Trail head. Our Goal was to make Showers Lake for day 1. That's fine but it was 12.4 miles mostly up hill.( 2425' elev. gain in 9.6 miles) Add an extra hour to your plans if you do this with heavy night packs. From Big Meadow parking lot we walked down Upper Truckee Rd and caught the Hawley Grade Trail. The trail was up hill but not bad at all! We hit hwy 50 and a short trek to the Adventure Mountain parking area got us back on trail. Note, the trail starts just before the gate. Day 1 was hard but finished up with very easy 8 remaining miles on day 2. Mostly flat and down hill after Showers lake. Awesome views all the way.

Mon Jul 17 2017

We did a six mile hike on this trail up in the mountains. It was awesome! We loved it. It took us down to the south side of Lake Tahoe. We plan on going back in a few years. We were on vacating in Tahoe. This was our first time visiting there.

backpacking
Tue Jun 28 2016

This has been one of my favorite hikes along the Tahoe Rim Trail so far. We had one vehicle, but doing some research, I found that we can park at Echo Summit (Adventure Mt.) walk a short distance to the Hawley Grade Trail and make our way Upper Trucky Rd and access the Big Meadow Trail-head. It added a good amount of distance on our overnight but it was part of the adventure. Our goal was to make Showers Lake and camp out, but it was fairly crowded by the time we arrived. We pushed a couple more miles and found a clearing and some great solitude at one the higher points of this hike. I could not have asked for a better view to wake up to. There were still some snow patches, but not enough to slow us down and tons of streams, creeks, and lakes to keep us going. Do not miss out on seeing Neiss Cabin and take on all the hike has to offer.

backpacking
10 months ago

road biking
10 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

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