Fallen Leaf and Eagle Lakes at Lake Tahoe: Best Easy Hikes
No, seriously. If you are not really much of a hiker or you have a lot of baggage (i.e., family, kids, dog) and yet love to be in nature, then hiking to either Fallen Leaf or Eagle Lakes is your best ticket to exercise and stunning vistas etc. It is a win-win situation.
Fallen Leaf Lake is near Camp Richardson which is at the south end of the lake and close to South lake Tahoe city (30,000). Simply take Fallen leaf lake road from Hwy 89, go down a few miles, park. Look for the trail head sign and hike about a half mile to the lake. Once on the trail, there are no other signs, so be careful not to get lost. Once there, as we were on June 23, you will be transported to the Austrian Alps, complete with snow caps. The water is a chilly 40F, so a quick dip is all you can stand. Then, chill on the narrow pebbly beach in the sun. When we were there, it was 77F. You can just spend the day there relaxing. This hike is more of a walk since most of it is flat.
Eagle Lake (west side of lake) is equally cool- true, it is much more of hike, about 1 mile or so, much of it uphill at times, so there is some cardio workout for the family-BUT- it is totally fine for kids also-even the lazy ones. This hike has some stunning vistas and the reward is the lake at the end. The water this year in late June 2010 is numbing, 20 seconds is tops to stay in. If you visit in August, it will be warmer. Eagle lake trail head is right off Hwy 89, very near to Emerald Bay. The sign will indicate a parking lot- go early- usually the spaces are taken and you must resort to parking along the edge of the highway. Our dog, Lola, a Jack Russell, easily ,made the hike with energy to spare, as did our 11 yr old anti-exercise daughter. Allow a few hours if you hang around the lake for a picnic or so.