Tamarack Lake

MODERATE 47 reviews

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
6 days ago

There was a light shower for an hour early this morning, but it cleared up! Beautiful sunny day after that. Very nice trail with little incline. Come early because the parking lot is always full.

hiking
22 days ago

Loved this hike- somewhat rocky but a nice challenge! Our 2 Golden’s loves the swim in the lake!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Be careful of the loose rocks. I rolled my ankle several times and I hike and jog regularly. Consider myself very athletic. Otherwise it’s a nice workout. It’s a little more than 7 miles. I started the hike at 7am and was about 60 degrees. Shorts and t-shirt.
Will definitely be back.

1 month ago

I did this as my first day and night in Desolation Wilderness. Short hike so I poked around for awhile after setting camp at Tamarack. Nice spot with crazy trees that I photographed for an hour before hanging out by the Lake processing water and meditating (aka napping).

hiking
2 months ago

I agree with other reviews; nice hike, rocky and loose rocks make some sections a little difficult but not bad. The worst part is the number of people, many who have zero awareness of trail etiquette. We loved the lake on this hot day. Spent time relaxing and sun bathing. Water taxi is a great option for the return trip $14/person.

hiking
3 months ago

This was our first hike to Tamarack Lake. Our plan was to stop at the Upper Echo Lake but the upper trail offered no view of the lake so we decided to hike more and stop at Tamarack Lake. This was the best decision. The reflection of peaks on the lake was simply amazing. My GPS logged 8.3mi from the upper parking lot.

snowshoeing
8 months ago

Very Nice Hike! The trail is really icy right now with a little snow.
We needed snow shoes at the very end near Tamarack but other than that it's pretty packed snow and ice.
We parked in the upper parking lot due the road in being very icy and slippery too.
Echo is not totally frozen over yet.
From the upper parking lot my gps showed 8.1 miles.
Bummer is my phone didnt have signal so pics I took and tracks are gone. Glad I had a Garmin for back up.

9 months ago

Always a beautiful hike. VERY wet today about 2 miles in, like walking up a running creek. Waterproof boots and gaiters worked great. Snow at 2.5 miles and snow shoes needed after 3 miles. Some sleet and hail last night camped next to the lake so just crampons made the walk out easy.

backpacking
Monday, September 04, 2017

Was a pretty easy hike along the lakes. Once you depart from them, the trail gets steeper and rockier. Loose granite and shale in many places. Lots of people on the trail, but it was Labor Day weekend. Too many off leash dogs. At the lake the place was nice and quiet until these 4 kids showed up with their yappy dog. Barked every 2 min and the kids were super loud. Oh and then on the day we hiked out, there were some people who thought it would be awesome to have drone races around the lake. Glad it was our last day. Hiking out we took the water taxi back. Overall a super trip. But still to close to the trailhead to keep out the city folks.

hiking
Sunday, September 03, 2017

This was a beautiful, but very rocky hike. We ended up taking the boat back from upper echo lake.

hiking
Friday, August 04, 2017

Great hike, although a little too many people for my liking. Many groups of kids and people talking and making noise. Might be better after school starts. Tamarack Lake is beautiful, secluded and quiet, which was nice. For another even more secluded lake, keep on the trail to the left side of Tamarack to come across Ralston Lake.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Little rocky in places but great day hike.

hiking
Monday, July 31, 2017

On the easy side of moderate and so beautiful. The trail is partly shady, wildflowers along the forest parts of the trail and Tamarack Lake is stunning!

backpacking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

Took my 6year old son on this hike as his first overnight backpacking trip. He did awesome and had a blast. Great hike for a beginner.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Beautiful Lake. Only went half way to Tamarack Lake but more of an easy hike than moderate that far

Friday, July 07, 2017

I did this hike last year and I was with my friend who isn't much of serious hiker. Great trail, amazing views. Hard in spots but once you get to the lake you have great views of Echo

hiking
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

6/24/2017 Hike
This trail is amazing! Trail was more a stream in some areas, there are a lot of downed trees, and some snow packs blocking the path. It was safe enough to walk on with just regular hiking shoes so we pushed through and it was very much worth it! The views from above of Lower and Upper Echo Lakes were phenomenal and getting to see the still frozen Tamarack Lake was an amazing treat. Highly recommended but prepare for soaked shoes, still lots of snow melting from higher elevation.

backpacking
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My husband and I have done this hike a few times in summer and early fall but we wanted to go this Memorial Day 2017 and boy was there a lot of snow! It took us much longer to reach Lake Tamarack than usual and you definitely need micro spikes or snow shoes, we used the micro spikes that go over our hiking boots and they worked great. There were people doing it without spikes or snowshoes but they were sliding around and that's dangerous on the steep slopes. Also about half way through upper echo it becomes all snow so no trail to follow. Be sure to have a gps or be very good with your compass and map! It was like a totally different hike and even though it tooks us longer we really enjoyed to different scenery and solitude. Also there are now little streams everywhere and most of the trails have become streams as well so be careful.

backpacking
Sunday, October 02, 2016

It was a good choice for my first backpacking experience. The last up incline was a killer with all the loose shale and uneven terrain. The lake is pretty and not to populated for overnight stays

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Great mid-August hike. Beautiful weather, beautiful views. Very little climb, easy on the knees. Lake views for most of the trek. Should wear mid-thick soled shoes. Lots of dogs on the trail :) defs get an early start on weekend days- lots of people want go enjoy this Sierra beauty.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tamarack and Ralston Lake (just 5 mins beyond) are gorgeous! I took water taxi ($14 one way) to far end of Echo Lake so Tamarack Lake was only 1 mile hike, then went to Ralston Lake and hiked all the way back to parking lot, so about 6 miles total. Hike along ridge above Echo Lake was quite sunny and hot with very little shade so I'm glad I only did it one way. When you arrive at Tamarack Lake, consider leaving something at the trail to mark your return path (like water bottle or jacket) bc it may be hard to find it again, esp if you go on to Ralston Lake. Bring $ for ice cream at Echo Lake Chalet at the conclusion of your hike!

camping
Sunday, July 10, 2016

Took the water taxi as we had a first time hiker whom was 7 yrs old. We camped at lake tamarack. Really gorgeous views, can't wait to return abs explore some more!

hiking
Friday, June 03, 2016

We took the water taxi to the end of Upper Echo Lake and hiked to the trail for Tamarack Lake. We wanted to see how far we could get before the snow got too deep so we continues towards Lake of the Woods. We made it about another half a mile before we got into snow. So we turned around and took the trail to Tamarack Lake. The lake was still partially frozen over but the ground around it was clear of snow. Took the trail all the way back to the Chalet at Lower Echo Lake. I'd expect to be able to get into Lake of the Woods within another 1-2 weeks at the rate the snow is melting. This was a beautiful hike.

hiking
Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beautiful hike! Loved it. The only downside are all the people. The rest of Desolation is isolated, or at least gives the impression with few hikers, but this trail to Tamarack was very crowded. Parking was crazy! People were parked way out into the road narrowing it down to a one lane road. We walked down to the Chalet and decided to take the boat taxi because it sounded like a unique start to the day. We then hiked to Tamarack for lunch, and hiked back to the Chalet. Beautiful views and beautiful granite. The trail was marked. It was at the junction of Triangle and the PCT.

hiking
Saturday, March 09, 2013

Great hiking and ill do it again. <3

hiking
Saturday, September 08, 2012

There's no water taxi in sept. you must hike around echo lake to get to the unmarked trail head. The directions from this site are very wrong.

hiking
15 days ago

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