Explore the most popular backpacking trails near South Lake Tahoe with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Started at Big Meadow early, 15 miles plus. A good day, came across lots of hikers on my way back in. Wind picked up at the lake lowering temps but keeping the bugs away. A few water crossings but nothing to sweat. Wildflowers will be blooming in the next few weeks so the meadows will be stunning.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail is clear until about 7500 ft elevation and then it’s all snow and you’ll need GPS. Lots of buds starting to push through the ground. We made it out to Susie but will be back in a couple of weeks after the trail is a little easier to navigate and the flowers are blooming.

Had a one night camp in Lake of The Woods. The lake es beautiful offering many great views of Pyramid Peak and greenery.

backpacking
3 months ago

Completely echo everything Lisa mentions below. Very slick at points on the way down and have to hike through thick brush. Fun hike but took longer than expected because the trail was fairly unmarked and unmaintained.

My husband and I completed this hike in two days- creating a little back packing adventure out of it. We did this trail in Oct. 2016. The hike was fairly easy (for the most part) with various scrambling sections over a few rocks. There were patches of snow in shaded spots but we mostly hiked along the mountain ridge and through several meadows. Take plenty of water!!! The altitude can really get to you if you aren't used to it.

We camped in Meiss Meadow along Meiss cabins and continued on the following day back to Echo Summit. I'd say the hardest part was Hawley Grade. It was a steep climb back to Echo Summit.

backpacking
5 months ago

Amazing views, great trail. We hiked this from Carson pass and it was about 12-14 miles total. Even in the middle of summer, there were snow here and there and it got pretty cold at night. During the day it was great and people were coming up to fish in the lake. Beautiful spot, we will be going back

Great trail. Decently challenging, but the destination is rewarding. We spent our first night at Aloha, and the next 4 at Susie

One of the most beautiful Lakes in Desolation. A favorite destination. Climb the peak at the north end of the lake with the lone pine tree on top for a spectacular view of Lake Aloha and Lake of the Woods.

Went up via Glen Alpine, great little hike. Was surprised to see so much water still, the falls were running strong! Here's to another great winter!

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked here from Aloha Lake - ~10 mi round trip. Steep climb up to the lake, but lovely little lunch spot. Had hoped to summit to Mt Tallac but had to turn back due to the time. Plenty of spots to camp around if you get up here!

Had a great weekend at Lake of the Woods. I think this is the best place in Desolation to camp. There's an awesome rock face nearby you can climb that has great views of lake Aloha and the surrounding area.
Wasn't too cold this past weekend, didn't notice any mosquitos. The hike is pretty steep and rocky going up, have good shoes because the rocks get hard on the feet after a while.
If you catch a warm day on your hike back, don't miss the small trail down to the water about 1/4 a mile from the trailhead. We had a great time swimming around hanging out here

9 months ago

beautiful, well worth it.

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome hike! Nobody on the trail after split with Gilmore Lake trail. Awesome views. Not really a tough hike compared to some. Lake was great to take a swim in after the climb up. Start early to beat the heat.

Beautiful

on Showers Lake

backpacking
9 months ago

I loved this hike! Very easy to do, most of the hike is flat going through beautiful meadows. In the beginning and end (near Showers Lake) there was elevation gains to climb. Very little snow left and trail was easy to follow. Some wild flowers still but spring and early summer would be the best time to see them. I will definitely return to explore the area more. The trail was not too crowded at all which was nice. Definitely a good choice if you're looking for a good moderate hike.

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing hike!! Beautiful meadows and a very enjoyable moderate hike. Some wild flowers still in bloom but Spring or early Summer would be a better time for full blooms. A little snow left and lots of little creeks. Showers Lake is gorgeous! It's a definite must see/do hike! I will return to hike more of the area!!

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.

backpacking
10 months ago

Amazingly beautiful hike through the wildflowers!

hiking
10 months ago

Pretty much all uphill from the start until you reach the lake. Terrain is really rocky. I wore my trail running shoes and had wished I'd wore my hiking boots. A lot of the hike is exposed. It is an absolute beautiful hike with all the different landscapes. The wild flowers were amazing. When we got to the lake they were 4 feet tall and we had to push through them for about 500 ft because they had overgrown the trail. Quite a few people on the trail until the split to go towards Gilmore lake. After that it was just us on the trail.

hiking
10 months ago

Did this trail to get to Clyde lake. There was an ice cave right before heather. Lake Susie and aloha and absolutely beautiful

hiking
10 months ago

Did a quick out and back hike to look for backpacking trails. Found my next trip

This is now my favorite local trail. There was a cool ice cave right before lake heather and lake aloha was just beautiful!

Make sure you bring mosquito repellent. It was impossible to stop at the first few creeks and ponds without being swarmed by them

hiking
10 months ago

Did this trail two days back. Steady climb. Lots of waterfalls and wildflowers on the way. The view is great too and it never gets boring. If you have a filter, you need not carry a lot of water. Went on to climb Mt. Tallac. If you are not in the best of shape but want to climb Tallac, this is probably the best route.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike, challenging distance, very green trail with lots of flowers. Had a really nice swim in the lake. The walk through the meadow is pretty magic.

backpacking
10 months ago

Trail is well maintained, with a steady climb though you must like steps! Went the first week of August, found a wonderful camp site and were treated to a full bloom of wildflowers. Climbed Mt Tallac to a magnificent view of Lake Tahoe. Word of warning bring your bear can or be prepared to do a bear hang; our last night there one of the fellow campers had a bear visit their camp.

Went back today to check on wildflowers which were spectacular! They will be still near the Peak bloom for another 7-10days.

hiking
10 months ago

Day hike starting from Glenn Alpine and ending at Clyde Lake.

Pros: beautiful changing scenery, plenty of lakes, wild flowers, fly fishing, day hike or overnight, moderate terrain with not too steep of an incline and then levels off.

Cons: Mosquitoes.

This was a fairly difficult trail, our group started at Fallen leaf lake and went up Tallac. This was a long trek up Tallac that left our group feeling exhausted at the top. After that section the rest of the hike was very enjoyable with great lakes and sights along the way. The difficult elevation gain going up Tallac to start the hike made this hike a very difficult overnight-er, I would not recommend doing the loop this way if trying to complete in 2 days 1 night.

We camped at Lake of the Woods last weekend. It was fantastic! We rode the water taxi across both Echo lakes. We then hiked for a few hours and then picked out a nice camp spot on the west side of the lake (Lake of the Woods). The next day we hiked to Lake Aloha and then to Heather Lake. Fishing was disappointing at Lake of the Woods but Heather Lake was better. The mosquitos were out in force at night so bring long sleeves and spray. I highly recommend this area. Lake Aloha is full and still snow in a few areas. Go enjoy!

backpacking
10 months ago

I was surprised by this trail, thinking it wouldn't be particularly scenic or impressive. But it was a wonderful, beautiful trip with a different landscape every mile or so. We took my brother, who is a first time backpacker, and this trail was just perfect both in terms of exertion and introducing him to the California outdoors. Great mountain views of Round Top and other snow covered mountains in the Tahoe region, wildflowers of every color and shape, lovely meadows and basins to walk through, and Showers lake at the end of it provided good campsites. Mosquitos weren't too bad when we went, at least at the lake, but the meadow the second day had a few mosquitos and biting flies. Not a ton of elevation gain (only at the beginning and at the end), since you're already starting so high up, so most of the hike is a leisurely stroll through beautiful flower-covered fields with creeks and volcanic mountains all around. Watch out for the afternoon thunderstorms, as they do happen everyday and on the second day we were hailed on (lightly) and had lightening flashing around us.

backpacking
10 months ago

I was surprised by this trail, thinking it wouldn't be particularly scenic or impressive. But it was a wonderful, beautiful trip with a different landscape every mile or so. We took my brother, who is a first time backpacker, and this trail was just perfect both in terms of exertion and introducing him to the California outdoors. Great mountain views of Round Top and other snow covered mountains in the Tahoe region, wildflowers of every color and shape, lovely meadows and basins to walk through, and Showers lake at the end of it provided good campsites. Mosquitos weren't too bad when we went, at least at the lake, but the meadow the second day had a few mosquitos and biting flies. Not a ton of elevation gain (only at the beginning and at the end), since you're already starting so high up, so most of the hike is a leisurely stroll through beautiful flower-covered fields with creeks and volcanic mountains all around. Watch out for the afternoon thunderstorms, as they do happen everyday and on the second day we were hailed on (lightly) and had lightening flashing around us.

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