Explore the most popular birding 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.

20 hours ago

Did it on 5/19. The gate is open now. 3.5 hr to the top and 1.5 hr down (started at 6:15am - first car in the parking lot). After Cathedral Lake, (all the way to the summit) the trail is useless - mostly covered with snow. Used crampons - going up the chute - didn’t need crampons after that. Did see a guy who successfully summited with no crampons and/or ice axe. Barely any people on the trail - nice views, no wind, warm.

1 day ago

did it on 5/13 Sunday. The last 2 miles is covered by deep snow, would be much easier with micro spikes. The view on the peak is absolutely stunning. I've been to other peaks like Mt Rose and Pyramid, but Mt Tallac is the best!

Hiked to the top Saturday, May 12th. Had to walk to extra miles round trip to pass the barrier from the first parking lot to the actual trailhead. Started at 7:50 a.m., summited at 12:45 p.m. and finished around 3. This was our first time out on this trail so we weren't sure where the peak was and we lost track of the path when we started up this deep snow field. We clambered up loose rocks for a while and after consulting with GPS ended up back in the snow. Mountain boots/crampons/ice axe not necessary. We got by fine in solid hiking boots and lightweight pants. Glissading down the shallower hills was fun.

4 days ago

We climbed the trail on 5/13/18. The gate was locked closed so that added a couple of miles to the hike. There was some snow on the trail in spots we hiked about 2000 feet up from the trail head and had to turn around because the snow got very deep. It was a great day with amazing views.

Lovely trail! There’s a nice change from rocky to meadow to forest to lake throughout, which keeps it exciting. Not a lot of great vistas for the most part, but I found the meadow charming, some nice mountains were visible after a while, and the lake was gorgeous. It was a little wet this time of year (mid-May) - I’d recommend waterproof hiking boots if you’ve got them, but I got by fine in my tennis shoes for the most part, just had to do a little scampering on rocks adjacent to the trail when I came upon puddles in the meadow. Further up it got a tad muddy, but I didn’t see any consistent snow until the last half mile or so. It got cold FAST once I got close to the lake - I almost turned back before I realized how close I was. 70+ degrees in the parking lot but the water was still partially frozen. Bring layers!
Also, note that there are two different trailheads that leave from this parking lot - you want the one that’s downhill, further away from the bathrooms. I almost went on a completely different adventure!

6 days ago

Did it two days ago. Wonderful trail! Very good elevation gain. We hiked about half mile after Cathedral Lake, then stopped at about 8400 ft. due to snow. Great view of Tahoe, Fallen Leaf and Cathedral Lake from the top. On the way back the Floating Island Lake was as green as an emerald. Highly recommended. Plan for about 6 hours or more if you plan to the very top.

Wonderful trail! Great view of the lake, beautiful rocks, boulders and trees all along the trail. Easy trail. It's also part of PCT and TRT!

Did this trail today. Camp group was closed so that added 1 mike each way to get to and from the trailhead. It’s tough coming back up but worth it! It rained during the hike and parts of the trail were slick. Overall beautiful trail.

Beautiful, long but worth it. You walk along the lake and there is a portion of the trail that it goes into wilderness .start early because to many people during summer..

12 days ago

Excellent trail with amazing views of the lake!! Runs along the cliffs overlooking the water and through some forested areas. Spotted many ospreys in the nests along the way! Will do again if I come back!

trail running
14 days ago

Great for trail running. No snow on the trails.

14 days ago

Nice little hike/walk. I did the clockwise version which leaves the best vistas for the last half mile or so. It’s easy to take a wrong turn and get off the trail so keep the app handy for guidance. Very enjoyable light hike. I plan to do this regularly with my dog.

So this is definitely an awesome spot for about a mile in each direction from the trailhead. But it’s extremely hard to hike around the entire lake. I did it but following the trail to the left landed me trespassing. I walked about 2 miles on a paved road in a neighborhood. Someone stopped to ask me how I got there. Then I had to walk through a summer camp to get back to the trail. It was clearly marked from that point until about the 6 mile range in where it became overgrown and difficult to navigate. I wouldn’t recommend this as an all the way around the lake hike due to the trespassing, paved road, poorly marked trails and frankly in the summer it will be too overgrown to complete. But it was a super beautiful lake!

17 days ago

We parked in the main lot right by the entrance and laid $10. Weather was good (around noon) and the views were pretty awesome! I’m 7 months pregnant and still completed the hike. So if I can do it, so can you. :)

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

18 days ago

This trail starts easy. Before the hard climb starts there is a beautiful lake at the base of the mountain it is a good meet up point for hiking with people with different speeds. The view from the top is stunning and well worth the hike. Spent 1 hour at the top exploring all the different side. Well worth the hike. It took my friend and I 6-7 hours.

Been going here every year since I was in 1st grade. I love it there and I am also looking forward to another trip. Great fishing and greats views. If you are up to it you can even hike to the peak.

20 days ago

wonderful hike along emerald bay. we started with the lighthouse trail and then headed to vikingsholm. no snow on the trail, it was in excellent condition and after the clouds blew away the mountain peaks were on full display. A ton of wild life were active and the pileated woodpeckers let us get within 5 feet to get some fabulous photos. the water was greenish blue and Crystal clear. A fantastic hike before the crowds show up.

22 days ago

I was there yesterday. I had to walk about two extra miles in order to get to Mt. Tallac Trailhead, because the access road was closed for traffic. That is why my trip was about 13 miles long. I started around 11am and I was back to my car around 5.30pm. The summit was pretty cold and windy, and the temperature was about 10F. I would recommend an ice axe and micro spikes for your safety. I truly enjoyed glissading on my way down from the summit.

Mt Tallac is a majestic mountain.

Long because of the snow and somewhat challenging.

With the snow in late April.

We started at 1:30AM and got to the summit at the 10am. Took our time for the most part and needed crampons and an ice axe for the steeper portions. There’s a lot of scree as well, so you’ll probably end up taking off your crampons and hopefully it’s a bit warmer and you wouldn’t need the crampons to finish the summit.

We also glissaded down which cut a good 2 hours. Cool views.

Still snow now. Gotta come back in the early summer to go the later half of the trail .

24 days ago

Hiked 10 mi on the Rubicon Trail! Sights are to die for.

24 days ago

Amazing views. Must hike through snow half way in.

Unfortunately he road was impassible and we could not get there. April 26,2018

nature trips
28 days ago

SUPER EASY and informative trail that made me appreciate how Lake Tahoe has stayed crystal clear.

Well marked trail, mix of gravel, wood decking, and asphalt. Hardly any elevation.

28 days ago

Great trail for any visit to Tahoe. Beautiful lake views through the trees and some beaches along the way.

29 days ago

Since it is still early in the season, Vikingsholm is not yet open for tours. So for those who want to extend their visit to this part of lakefront Lake Tahoe, I would recommend this 1 mile out-and-back trek. Even though the Rubicon trail extends for miles in either direction, you don’t need to hike the whole thing to give yourself a different vista from where all the tourists gather. You can leave the crowds behind the well-paved section and breathe some hiking bliss into your system for not a whole lot of additional time or effort. The terrain is flat, and would have been categorized as an easy hike if not for some parts of the single track that you hike on are still slippery with snow (as of 4/22). But the views are so worth it. We got good weather so the aquamarine hues really showed through the clear lake water.

Awesome views of the lake on the whole trail. Leads down to a beach.

1 month ago

Did this trail starting at Emerald Bay above Vikingsholm. Ample parking available ($5) fee if starting from this lot; an 0.5 mile walk down a wide road brings you to the Rubicon "trailhead." Additional parking available at nearby Eagle Falls Trailhead.

Having completed a number of short, snowy treks, I wanted to complete my Tahoe trip with a longer hike without crowds. On a Tuesday in April with sketchy, remarkably windy weather, there were few people on the Rubicon trail. The crowds thinned out substantially, opting to explore the Vikingsholm area or head up to Lower Eagle Falls. Some remained at the viewpoint near the parking lot.

Rubicon Trail runs parallel to the shoreline of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe. At first, the trail periodically switches between singletrack and wide, with sporadic sections of gravel dotting the path. This continues until the Emerald Bay Campground. From there, the trail is primarily singletrack and adopts a more rugged demeanor. Though it's a mostly flat trail, there are intermittent sections of elevation gain and decrease. The heart of the trail seldom ventures more than 20 feet above the shoreline.

If any landscape can be considered objectively beautiful, this is it. Even on a cloudy day with fierce winds, Lake Tahoe retained its aquamarine hue with exceptionally clear water. Patches of snow along the shore contributed a unique wintry essence. Though the views of Lake Tahoe are vast and lack the immediate punch of a waterfall or alpine lake-and-mountain, it provides perhaps the most serene area in Tahoe. There are some small sandy strips and rugged shoreline access that allow calming breaks from hiking.

As of 4/10, there's sparse snow on the trail, mainly on the western portion of the trail. The Emerald Bay area is devoid of snow. There is snow/ice on narrow portions of the trail, however, that require some care to pass. It's completely doable in hiking boots or running shoes. Some (very) minor seasonal flooding and streams appear on the trail infrequently; this should clear up by the summer months.

If hiking from the D.L Bliss Trailhead (North), either hike through Lower Eagle Falls or don't bother with the Emerald Bay section at all. The Rubicon trail is ironically the least scenic in Emerald Bay, as some forest cover and wide paths detract from the trail's beauty. In short, there's little to see that isn't visible in the western portion of the trail. Lower Eagle Falls, however, is powerful and serves as an impactful reward to a tranquil hike. If you make it to Vikingsholm, there's no reason to not continue up to the falls.

Rubicon Trail offers the premier coastal hike on Lake Tahoe. It can be mixed with the nearby alpine Eagle Lake, paired with Cascade Falls, or culminated with a seasonal cruise to complete a full Tahoe day. Regardless of the weather, it's difficult to go wrong with this trail, and should be seen as a safe winter/spring alternative to more questionable conditions.

1 month ago

Did this from Spring Creek trailhead via North East ridge.. which is half the mileage(~5 miles round-trip) and same elevation(~3.3-3.5K), so a lot harder, but totally worth every step. Had a very clear/sunny day and had to wear snowshoes all along.

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