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.

Went to Lake of the Woods then Lake Aloha. Fantastic day hike. Took the water taxi both ways so it was only 7.3 miles. I've seen most of the eastern part of Desolation Wilderness and this was as good a day hike as I've done. Beautiful lakes, views, wild flowers. Highly recommend it.

backpacking
4 days ago

Hiked to Susie Lake and camped on July 3rd. Beautiful hike, but extremely Rocky! Make sure you have shoes for your dog! I didn't have any for my 75lb black lab and his paws we're hurting him by the end! The mosquitos were horrible!!! Make sure you bring bug repellent! Other than that, the views we're absolutely stunning!!! The waterfalls were a great way to cool down along the way! I will be back to this trail again for sure!

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

This hike is superb - well worth the beautiful drive from South Lake Tahoe. Mid July wildflowers were off the hook - as were the views. Loved hiking up through an aspen grove at the start, then up and over a ridge with spectacular 360 views. Beautiful creeks, meadows, snow capped mountains peaks, iris fields, waist high lupine, endless awesomeness.

The instructions shown for parking for this hike are odd - just park at the well marked Meiss Trailhead lot. Follow the pct to showers lake. $5 day use - self pay post at the trailhead.

backpacking
6 days ago

Pretty lake, secluded. Tougher hike than I expected. Map shows it as 5.5 from Glen Alpine but it felt more like 7. Could just be my lack of conditioning backpacking though. Wildflowers were outstanding. Loose rock on parts of trail were tough on feet.

Amazing wildflowers today. Just stunning! Highly recommend this gem of a hike!

Beautiful hike. Wildflowers everywhere and they smelled wonderful. Pretty good incline at the end before arriving to the lake. Some spots of shade along trail but lots of exposed areas.

Wildflowers! A great hike for July! Mile 1-2 and 4-5 is uphill, but doable even for me. So beautiful the entire time. About 8 tiny streams that you can hop over. Showers Lake is picturesque.
When you arrive, there is Carson Pass trailhead with bathrooms and a ranger station. It’s better to park across the street and pick up trail there.

This was a gorgeous hike! Meadows with lots of wildflowers and many lakes to look at along the way. It’s a rocky trail for the most part with narrow passings. Lots of overnight backpackers on the trail. Recommend really good hiking boots.

the most beautiful wildflower hike i’ve ever done anywhere in the world. Acres of lupine, angelica, corn flowers, paint brush, Jacobs Ladder, valerian, mariposa and more. Many reaching heights of 4’. The peak is now and it won’t last so go.

walking
9 days ago

Beautiful trail, lots of open areas and not much shade.
One lane road getting to and from so drive slowly for cars and boats coming opposite direction. Good size parking lot that still fills up. I parked on side of road about 0.3 mile out. First quarter mile or so of trail was a lot of seeded rocks on the trail, unavoidable. You have to pay attention to where you step.
A couple of spots had forks in the trail with no clear indication of where to go to stay on the trail. I couldn’t get GPS for Alltrails app so I just followed fellow hikers’ decisions.

Started from echo lakes, past lake aloha, up mosquito pass and over to lake Clyde. Stayed the night here and it was gorgeous, no one around. FYI a few trees have fallen, blocking the trail down to the lake, but you can walk over them. Bring bug spray!! It was really bad down at the lake.

backpacking
9 days ago

The most beautiful hike! Not too difficult even with the full pack on, but it pushes you. The wild flowers are everywhere and there is still snow on the peaks... makes for incredible views the entire way. . Camped at Showers Lake, more amazing views off the rock cliffs overlooking Tahoe. Beautiful sunset/sunrise. The mosquitos are out in full force though. Bug spray even on my clothes and they still got me everywhere! Plan on doing this hike again it was beautiful!

Awesome hike, some of the most outstanding wildflowers I’ve ever seen!

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.

14 days ago

Great Lake to stay at before heading up to Mt Tallac. Beautiful lake, we went on a busy weekend and still didn’t see too many people. You can get a good campsite off the trail.

backpacking
14 days ago

Saw 0 people. Amazing views all around. The right half is all meadow and left in granite and trees- left is your best bet for backpacking. All facing a beautiful waterfall. The hike is very easy after the Gilmore lake split.

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
2 months 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
4 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
6 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

10 months ago

beautiful, well worth it.

hiking
10 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.

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