Tamarack Lake is a 7.4 mile out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and snowshoeing and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.4 miles Elevation Gain: 895 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

lake

views

wildlife

snow

no shade

Delightful secluded lake on Tahoe Rim Trail. Trail is short, but the climb is rocky. There is often a water taxi available at Echo Lake for some of the journey back. Please note that the water taxi does not run when water levels are low. Don't let the modest distance/gain to Tamarack fool you. This is such a rocky climb you can wear out just trying to keep your footing, especially if not used to hiking at almost 7,800 ft. Views of Echo lakes and surrounding peaks are incredibly breathtaking, with flowers, aspens, pines, critters. Tamarack Lake is a perfect destination for beginners, small children, or the 1st overnight hike trip. Horses are allowed but trail is very rocky, with large boulders & many smaller, loose rocks covering the trail (hard on dog paws). The water taxi is great fun, but waiting for it may add up to an hour to your hike. Thrilling when the boat slows in narrow channel between upper & lower Echo lakes. Continue on the Tahoe Rim Trail past the signed turn to Tamarack, you'll reach Lake Aloha just past the meadows -- worth the longer, more strenuous hike. Permits are required to hike in the Desolation Wilderness (n/c) & are available at both upper/lower Echo lakes.

hiking
icy
snow
4 months ago

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

The views were 5 star but the trail surface was so rocky I spent a lot of time looking down. The rocks were as big as my hand or bigger, loose and sharp. On the return trip I heard several hikers complain of sore feet so wear appropriate shoes. I was disappointed Echo Lakes weren't easier to access from the trail. Good reflection of Ralston Peak on the surface of Tamarack Lake.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

beautiful and easy hike. feels pretty flat. plenty of shade.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

Beautiful hike but best to go early because there is little shade. Water is the perfect temperature to cool off! Parking can be full if you go too late.

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

This trail has a few dirt sections, but is mostly rocky, well worth it though. We took 2 hours and 15 minutes to hike from Echo parking lot up to the campsite. once there we saw maybe 4 other campers and perhaps 8 more sites suitable for a two person tent. Amazingly we only ever saw 2 or 3 mosquitoes and the gnats were few and far between. The lake is set in a scenic mountainous bowl and has a cool little island to swim out to. Sunset was gorgeous and in the morning the water was laid down and was a giant mirror reflecting the mountains and the sky. A few Duck were swimming about and later in the evening were quacking. We will return to Tamarack again as it was so very quiet and peaceful.

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

I took my 10 year old dog and it wiped him out!! It tools us 6-7 hours of hiking round trip..

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful alpine lake hike. Great trail. Went on a Sunday and like everything this close to Tahoe, the parking is super packed all up and down the access road. Trail is very heavily trafficked and not always easy to pass by others as it is pretty narrow. Shade can be sparse, but there are places to get out of the sun periodically.

backpacking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

My son (13) and I backpacked in and stayed at Tamarack Lake for two nights. We started from lower Echo Lake trailhead, and it took about 2.5 hours to get to Lake Tamarack. The trail is well marked. Make sure to wear sturdy hiking boots due to the rocky trail, tennis shoes is not recommended. We also brought mosquito nets which we wore on top of our hats, but still we got bitten on the arms. The mosquito are relentless in the late afternoon/evenings. The water is not so cold, so it was very pleasant to go for a swim/dip. We also took a day hike to Lake Aloha, and the trail was well marked. Overall, it was a great trip. Not too tiring, but the mosquito was definitely an issue, so be prepared for that.

hiking
10 months ago

This was a really good lake for kids from toddlers to teens, it had a few sections that required a moderate hike over logs and downed branches, but overall the kids did great and the dogs loved every minute of our time here. Very clean, natural trails. Finding a spot to park is a bit tricky as it can get full, but nothing crazy. It was very buggy in the evening, as to be expected. Lots of awesome mossy trees and nice hike to a cool lily pad pond. No bathroom facilities or drinking water. Lake is quite cold. lots of shade. The surrounding region has areas for rock climbing and dirt biking, as well as other trails that are trail running friendly. The drive to the lake goes past the pavement and into a dirt road that's a little bit rough, but not necessarily 4x4.

hiking
10 months ago

went on this trail on July 6th. moderate trail with minimum elevation gain. The view of Echo Lake from the top is marvelous! took us about 4 hours round trip from lower Echo lake. The path to Aloha was icy and risky to climb. Next time hopefully we can go up there!

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

Great trail. Easy as well and good for families. Did today (July 6) and there was no snow on trail. Snow patches to the sides occasionally but the majority of snow was across the lake/valley on Ralston. Light water running down trail but not enough to get your feet wet and easily avoidable. A little mosquitos late in afternoon. Started at 1:30, went to tamarack and relaxed a little before heading back and made it out in time to beat the mosquitos and chilling temperatures for the most part. Look forward to coming back early in the day and doing aloha. Very dog friendly as well and plenty of water to drink.

hiking
11 months ago

awsome trail. spent night at lake tamarack. kids & dog loved it.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail, beautiful lakes. Very rocky

hiking
11 months ago

Great views of the lakes all the way. The snow started at about 3.5 miles and the trail was consistently flowing with water after that. The lake was about 75% frozen when I did the trail on 6/21. Lost the trail at about 4.2 miles but dodge the snow & made it to Tamarak pretty easily. Definitely would do this one again or even go all the way to Lake Aloha this summer after not snow has melted.

hiking
rocky
snow
11 months ago

Hiked trail on 6/27 and 6/28. Water on rocky path after about 3 mile mark, with a few patches of snow at the end. Lake is gorgeous, with lots of snow around it.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
11 months ago

Amazing adventure for my boys first overnight backpacking trip, ages 7 and 10. Took the water taxi across echo lakes and headed up to Tamarack. Still snowy S you climb and lots of water rushing over the trail, but totally passable. The snow made it a little tricky to navigate in a few spots but not too bad. Camping at the lake was amazing, lake still 75% frozen but so beautiful. warm in the day, chilly when the sun is down. overall cant wait to do it again when its warmer and we can play in the lake!

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful hike. The trail along Lower and Upper Echo Lakes is clear of snow. Shortly past Upper Echo Lake the trail turns into a river. I was able to walk on rocks and not get my feet wet. About half a mile further we had to hike over large areas of snow. It was easy to do with jusy hiking boots as we didn't have microspikes. The trail to Tamarack Lake was mostly snow, but we were able to find areas where the snow had melted and walk across the rocks to Tamarack Lake, which was 90% frozen. I thought it was a fun hike, but if you don't like the challenge of going over snow and walking in rivers, you might want to wait a few weeks for things to dry out.

hiking
snow
11 months ago

Stunning stunning views but winter conditions prevail as of 6/17. We took the water taxi and hiked to Tamarack, the majority of the trail is under water and quite rocky so it’s a slow haul and a good soaking for your shoes. Worth it for the views, I look forward to returning when things have dried up a bit!

backpacking
muddy
rocky
snow
11 months ago

backpacked to Tamarack last weekend. lake is still frozen and under snow. we camped on ridge above on snow. need poles and crampons/yaktraxs . snow still covers much of the trail and snow bridges are melting and flooding the trail fast. hard to tell where the trail is except for footprints.

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