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

we rode bikes for the first mile in. then hiked the rest of the way. worked out great. nice to to ride the last mile back to the car.

Don’t miss seeing lower Velma on your way through

Loved this trail and would be an excellent place to backpack and set up camp! Beautiful views... experienced all this area has to offer weather wise. It rained, snowed, hailed and then it was like it never happened! Incline is pretty hefty first part of the trail. Coming down got to experience the sound of Bear. Never saw it though. Started at sunrise at finished at noon which was perfect because it was very busy then.

Only saw one other person hiking in on this gorgeous September Sunday morning--very light traffic, especially compared to the much busier Five Lakes Trail at Alpine Meadows yesterday. Meeks Bay Trail is uphill and flat, uphill and flat. Five miles later you are sitting at a gorgeous alpine lake that we pretty much had all to ourselves. Lush, fern-lined paths interspersed with rocky steps made for maybe my new favorite hike! Ten miles round trip from where you park.

21 days ago

My friend and I just completed the Tahoe Yosemite trail starting from Echo Lake and ending at Meeks Bay. We spent one night each at Aloha, Fontanillis and Stoney Ridge Lakes. Once we turned off the PCT at Phipps Pass, we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. The weather during our trip was sunny and warm with fair visibility – mostly due to the current fire conditions. We didn’t use a tent since the weather was good but the gusting winds (10 – 15 mph) definitely woke us up at night. Good part about the wind is that we didn’t have a bug problem. I highly recommend this trail if you want spectacular mountain and lake views and don’t want to deal with crowds.

This trail is great for overnight backpacking. Permits required. It climbs at a steady pace. Some parts are strenuous, for me at least. It was the boulder steps that got me huffing and puffing. I have little legs. I’m not all that athletic, 5’1”, and hiked with a 20lb pack. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous!! Lime green moss cover the trees, as well as lime green berry leaves cover the ground. Several running water sitings. Wild flowers. And of course, the lakes are stunning and peaceful! Great for swimming, if you can stand the chilly water. It feels great after a tough hike.

walked from meeks to fontainillis! the beginning from meeks to stony ridge is a bit on the boring side, however from stony ridge to fontainillis is beatiful! and challenging ;-)
from there we exited through Dicks lake and eagle falls, which was a lot more crowded!

Very very long day hike. If you do this you will be the only one out there who didn’t camp out there.

I came in via bayview for the softer terrain and to avoid the tourist madness. This adds a few miles. I skipped the last loop and turned back after schmidell lake. With a nice lunch at middle Velma and one 10 minute rest stop it took me 9 hours total. I’m a fit middle aged guy. Plan accordingly.

Whoever rated this moderate must have a strange sense of humor, minus one star for that. It is NOT moderate.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike! First gain is a challenge but the view at the top is well worth it. Stopped there for lunch then ventured on toward the Dick’s Lake and Fontanillis Lake round about and up to middle Velma. Set up camp and ate dinner at dusk. Photographs because my credit card background. Mosquitoes were a nightmare (4th of July weekend) and the trails were a bit more congested on the descent with lots of day hikers.

1 month ago

Beautiful, but there's a 600+ lb California Brown bear that's way to comfortable with people and knows how to bring down a properly hung bear bag.

1 month ago

The hike itself is moderate and the trails are well kept. There was a bit more traffic than expected but the scenery is as advertised, beautiful. What did disappoint was the fishing at the lakes, specifically Stoney Ridge Lake. We saw a few decent fish cruising the shoreline early and late in the day, but we only caught a single fish. It was a very nice 23” German Brown on a fly rod but we threw everything at this lake, spinning rods with flys, spinners, we caught minnows and used those as bait (0 caught) and even power bait and worms. Very disappointing considering we had our 8-yr old sons with us on their 1st backpacking trip ever. Fishing was much better at the smaller lakes with Rubicon Lake being loaded with Brookies (8-12”). Overall, if you don’t mind seeing other hikers and if fishing is not your thing, this is a good hike. 4/5 stars for worse than expected fishing

Absolutely wonderful mix of sun and shade and smells of pine with a swim in stony ridge lake to top it off. Mellow up and down. A new favorite.

Great hike. We were headed to campers flat for an over night. We did encounter a mountain lion in the rock field before the creek prior to Middle Velma. We did see a ranger the next day on the way out and he confirmed that there was one in the area. It was a great weekend and recommend this to anyone. Bring water and/or water filter. If your in good condition this is a fun hike if not you may have a time of it. Remember - enjoy the journey.

2 months ago

Did this as a day hike with a stutdy 9 year old and a daypack from Eagle Falls starting at 8am in mid July. Steady climb for about 2 miles with great landscapes. As you descend towards the Velma lakes the trail crosses a stream, which I could imagine being easy to miss or inaccessible with higher flows. The trail gets within 200-300 yds of Middle Velma, you have to scramble through boulders to get to the shore which isnt too tough. Tried to fly fish the lake in a few spots but saw nothing. Heard the park service is clearing fish from these lakes to restore Yellow Legged Frogs, fwiw. Bring insect repellant. Passed many backpackers who had overnighted at Dicks, Fontanellis and elsewhere.

Last weekend (7/7-7/8) backpacked from the Bayview Trailhead to Middle Velma for the night. Great hike! Definitely a steep incline going up, but beautiful views and flowers along the way. Be sure to stop at the lookout halfway up the initial incline for a stunning view of Emerald Bay. We took a detour to Dick’s Lake (not on this map), then continued on to Middle Velma to camp. Once we got to Middle Velma, we had a beautiful view, great swimming, and a warm evening. Bugs didn’t come out until sunset. Beautiful hike back down— recommend poles. Definitely a great weekend trip!

this is not a trail for every one

2 months ago

This was a great first trip of the year!! We hiked all the way to Hidden Lake, more peeps at lower lakes. The wind was crazy a couple nites, but it kept the relentless mosquitoes away. As we hiked out on the 6th we passed at least 30+ peeps hiking up. We did pass several dogs OFF leash and a couple on leash. Great family hike, backpacking trip

I started my hike were the Glen Alpine trail intersects. I was day Hiking. It was challenging. I usually do 2 miles per hour, but I found myself doing 1/2 mile per hour especially through the snow. The beautiful terrain deserves 10 stars but the Tahoe Basin management could help non-local hikers a bit on the Bayview trail. It was very difficult to follow. Be safe Everyone!

I came from the PCT heading north to Bayview Trail just past Upper Velma Lake... I assumed It was going to be an easy way to get back to a Parking area where I could take the Trolley back into town. I was completely Wrong!! The scenery is absolutely beautiful, so i hope this review helps.. I thought the trail would be well marked and a bit easier than it was... Once I began to take the trail I couldn't believe how hard it was to follow. After a long day of hiking this was away more challenging exit point than I wanted. I lost the trail a few times and then luckily picked it up again. My phone GPS didn't work here. Thank goodness I had my poles to cross the river. I assumed all of this trail would be clearly marked aka a more Tahoe family friendly route. I left the bayview trail to Eagle Lake trail where there is a posted sign, but if I had wanted to follow the bayview trail all the way down...I am not sure were I would of even gone at that point. Make sure you have a good understanding of the trail before you leave your start point. Happy Hiking!

2 months ago

Nice hike with some great views and plenty of places to pull off and enjoy. Lots of people if you get there anytime after 8-9am. Couldn't make it all the way, as there was still snow on the trail. Parking at the trailhead or along the road.

Just hiked 5 miles round trip and loved the wild flowers and wild life (coyotes, butterflies, dragonflies). We were going to complete the loop but had to turn around 2.5 miles in because of a large body of water that we couldn’t cross due to inadequate footwear and the prevalence of mosquitoes. Gorgeous seasonal creeks, scattered run- down dwellings made this hike a pleasure to hike with our 4 year old. Plenty of shades and majestic redwoods.

Fantastic views. Very busy with a lot of dogs. Wonderful hike.

Beautiful hike. A little manageable snowpack low down. We were heading for the lakes and hit soft snowpack about .75 miles before the lake. Post-holing up to the knees. Had to turn around because it was too much work. Take snowshoes or wait another couple weeks if you want to reach the lakes!

Beautiful backpacking shuttle trip starting in Meeks Bay and continued from Crag Lake to the Velma Lakes and out the Bayview Trail to Emerald Bay.

Great lil hike, brought my 8 year old son on his first two nighter backpacking trip and granted some of the uphill realllyy wore on him, I prepared ahead and planned to carry his tiny lil backpack for him for parts of the way. Dogs allowed, but definitely no fires allowed. Was out there for a meteor shower and while I didn’t see anything, it was beautiful at night

Decent trail a lot of ice in December
Would be great in spring

Luckily, we had perfect weather--not a cloud in the sky and cool to start. Enjoyed the climb to the lakes where we stopped for lunch. Highly recommended.

Lots of diversity on the trail. Elevation gains not steep. You must take the time to get to Crag Lake it is beautiful. Best hike of our Tahoe experience

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