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Lake Tahoe Area Hiking Trails

Updated on January 6, 2014

Hiking Trails in the Lake Tahoe Basin

The Sierra Mountains and it's classic rugged peaks, with it's gnarly old trees on windswept ridges with breathtaking panoramic vistas, framed by abundant wildflowers is what you can expect trekking the trails of the Tahoe Basin and surrounding area. In this lens we'll take a look at hiking trails in the Lake Tahoe Area, featuring everything from nature paths to strenuous hiking trails with steep elevation gain and my favorites the moderate trails in between!

DCMA Notice by Walter Baumgarten

Winnemucca Lake Hiking Trail

One of my favorite trails in the Tahoe area is Winnemucca Lake Hiking Trail is a wildflower extravaganza! You'll be amazed at the variety, and sheer volume of flowers on this incredible trail that takes you up into the Mokelumne Wilderness Area in the Eldorado National Forest, along the Pacific Crest Trail. The wildflowers grow everywhere along this trail in the most picturesque settings imaginable! The trail also affords breathtaking views of Round Top Mountain and The Sierra Mountains.

The best time of the year to hike the Winnemucca Lake Trail for beautiful flowers is in July, but this trail is beautiful right thru fall too. Spring is questionable as the area receives massive amounts of snowfall, In fact over 850" of snow fell here last winter, that's over 70 feet! And that's why the flowers are so amazing.

The hike is on a typical rugged trail and is easy to moderate in difficulty.

If your in the Lake Tahoe Area during the summer, you should hike this trail.

Echo Lake Hiking Trail

Eldorado National Forest

Here's what I recommend. Take the boat ride for around $10, across Echo Lake, through the channel and across Upper Echo Lake to the far NW side where to the drop off and hike up from there. From this point the trail heads up into the Desolation Wilderness Area of the Eldorado National Forest. Beat feet up the trail about and when you come to the fork, which is well marked (.4 mi) Hiking left takes you to Tamarack Lake (.3 mi) and Ralston Lake another Half mile. It's so beautiful up there I highly recommend this as a nice moderate difficulty trail. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it! Now, skip the boat ride back to the parking, so you don't miss the awesome hike along the lake back to the car. It's just wonderful! It's a nice gradual downhill most of the way for one thing and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. It's a little over 3 mi miles of relatively easy hiking back to the car.

Were back at the fork and went left? If your a little more hardy and adventurous go right! Hike 3 mi up to Lake Aloha in the Desolation Wilderness Area. Oh-My-Goodness is it beautiful! The Islands on this lake? Well, there must be a hundred of them. Bring your camera on this hike, theres lots of great images to be had. Once again I'd recommend the hike back along Echo Lakes shoreline trail to the car. This variation is moderate also but longer.

Don't just take my word for it check out my Echo Trail lake Gallery and see how nice it is there. Better yet make some popcorn and view the Echo Lake Trail Slide Show.

Meiss Lake Hiking Trail

One of the best Lake Tahoe hiking trials must be The Meiss Lake Hiking Trail.

Meiss Lake Trail is a favorite trail of mine to hike in July, because of it's amazing fields of wildflowers. This trail isn't far from the Winnemucca Lake Trail and the amount of precipitation this area receives, is impressive. Were talking 500 inches per winter, on the average, over the last 10 years!

This hiking trail in the Eldorado National Forest starts almost right away winding it's way up to Meiss Pass when you crest the pass you'll hike down into the most beautiful valley high up in the Sierra Mountains of California, where a look to the North affords the hiker a view of Lake Tahoe far off in the distance. A look to the south rewards the hiker with panoramic views of Round Top Mountain in the Mokelumne Wilderness.

Meiss Lake Hiking Trail starts out climbing for a while but it switch backs around so it's not too steep. Then it's not that bad down into the valley where the wildflowers are so unbelievable. I'll call this one a moderate plus in difficulty.

This Trail begins near the top of Carson pass along CA 88 not far from Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

It was so beautiful, I took a lot of photos up there. Check out this Meiss Lake Hiking Trail Photo Gallery I made up, or if you prefer, you can view it as a Slideshow

2008 Sierra Wildflower Calendar

Enjoy the Sierra Mountain Wildflowers year-round with this beautiful 2012 Sierra Wildflower Calendar by flowski. All the photos on the calendar were taken on hiking trips into the National Forest and wilderness areas.

Cascade Falls Trail

Lake Tahoe hiking trail- Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls hiking trail in the Eldorado National Forest is a scenic hike that traverses a steep mountain side and all along the way provides the hiker with spectacular views of Cascade Lake, Lake Tahoe and the beautiful Sierra Mountains.

At the end of the two mile, moderately difficult hike in, is a gorgeous rushing waterfall, Cascade Falls. Fed by snow melting on the high Sierra mountain peaks the whole Cascade Creek above the falls is worthy of your exploration as well, the way the river takes several paths through the classic Sierra landscape is so pretty.

Don't forget your camera on this hiking trip the scenery on this one makes it something to remember. The trail is easy to moderate in difficulty with some elevation gain but nothing too long and steep and typical rugged uneven walking surfaces it's a trail not a path!

Hiking Tahoe? Pick-Up Some Maps Today - Start planning your next hiking trip in the Sierra Mountains around beautiful Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe Rim Trail Hiking Information - Here's what you need to start planning your Tahoe Rim Trail Hike.

The Tahoe Rim Trail is an amazing 165 mile loop around Lake Tahoe through the rugged Sierra Mountains of California and Nevada. It's quite an experience, to do the whole thing at once. Most hikers split it up into seperate trips.

More Lake Tahoe Resources - Helpful links to more Lake Tahoe information.

For more information about Lake Tahoe activities and the wonderful recreation activities and sports equipment available around the lake, visit these excellent sources of information.

© 2008-2014 Flowski. All rights Reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Commercial reproduction of this Lake Tahoe Hiking Squidoo Lens in part, or in whole without written permission is prohibited by law.

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    • profile imageAUTHOR

      flowski lm 

      4 years ago

      @MrAusAdventure: Most of the bears in the Tahoe area are black bears. Even the brown fur, are black bears which are less aggressive and just as scared of us as we are of them.

    • css75575 profile image


      5 years ago

      I need to make a spring/summer trip. I have only been for winter skiing, beautiful.

    • MrAusAdventure profile image


      6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I would love to visit Tahoe in the summer months to do some hiking. The thought of bears freaks me out a little though. We have lots of snakes and spiders to worry about over here in Australia, but no large killer animals to worry about! Do you ever come across bears there while hiking?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm from Colorado, but I do think that Lake Tahoe is Gorgeous! Thanks for the info.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Sounds like a great trip! Thanks for the good travel advice!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow, I've now hiked Colorado ... and it is time to hike on over to Lake Tahoe! Can you meet me there? I'd like a margarita and some chips. See ya! THANKS to Kipsy for getting this adventure started. You know?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful area!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      A lens on hiking is at the bottom of your list (today anyway)? No, that's so not right! :) I haven't done much hiking in this area, but I'm planning to hike the PCT at some point. If I get out that way in the meantime, I'll have to check some of these out.

    • AppalachianCoun profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens. Thank-you for the tips and pics. We want to go. 5 stars*****

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Well done. Your pictures of the area are wonderful. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      good lens, if you want to decorate your rooms with various things please visit

    • JanaMurray profile image


      10 years ago

      What an awesome slideshow :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice lens! I've never been hiking up in that area before, but it certainly sounds beautiful. I'm from Sequoia though and it sounds like our two areas have some things in common. The meadows up here are full of wildflowers in the spring and really are an awesome sight. 5*! Check out my lens about Sequoia if you like.

    • Recession Proof2 profile image

      Recession Proof2 

      10 years ago

      Hey flowski, Great lens. This lens brought back some great memories, I grew up not too far from tahoe, over by Quincy. Thanks for building this lens, it's great. ~Jesse

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      10 years ago

      What a beautiful area (and lens!), I wish I could spend more time there. You photos are so wonderful!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      As a hiker and outdoorsman, your lens is a plethora of information for both the new and seasoned hiker. Good information and well presented. High 5

      Thanks and Peace.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 

      11 years ago

      Five stars. Makes me want to go hiking in the Sierras. If you'd like, come visit my lens on hiking and backpacking books.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Nice information here, thanks for sharing. I am kansari and have Great Weight Loss Tricks Lense. You may check my lense and give comment on it. Submit Articles

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very nice lens and congrats on the top 100 I have to check LK Tahoe out. Please stop in and visit my lens. Best regards


    • Arizona-Snow profile image


      11 years ago

      I sure hope I make enough on Squidoo to visit such a wonderful place, 5*.

      Hike over to my lenses and see if there is anything you like :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      excellent lens! Lovely gift of nature. Can't wait to hike again :) rated 5*!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I hope none of these beautiful spots were destroyed by the recent wildfires that hit the Tahoe area.

      Your lens gets Five Stars from me!

    • ronpass lm profile image

      ronpass lm 

      11 years ago

      Who wouldn't want to hike in this beautiful country. Thanks for transporting us, Brandon.

      Ron Passfield

      Squidoo marketing

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      love your lens love hiking and the outdoors.

    • Casey van B profile image

      Casey van B 

      11 years ago

      Completely and utterly five'd you and fave'd you. You've done it again!!

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 

      11 years ago

      Also, please feel free to submit this lens to my group Faraway Places.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Haven't been to Lake Tahoe yet. Hope to visit someday as it looks BEAUTIFUL. Very informative lens! Five stars......

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 

      11 years ago

      Excellent work! I gave you 5*s and lensrolled this lens to min about Balaton. If you have a minute, please visit and rate, and give a lensroll to my Balaton lens! Thanks

    • ChristopherScot1 profile image


      11 years ago

      Nothing like the best exercise of a good long hike! A Day of Hope"target="_blank">Join the official A Day of Hope group

    • digitalscrap profile image


      11 years ago

      Lovely lens!!

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    • profile image


      11 years ago

      The wife and I are at a point in our lives that traveling and seeing what a beatiful country we live in is a favorite passtime.

      Always good to pick up information before we head out.

      Great lens

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Have owned "Sierra Nevada Wildflowers" 5 years--perfect pictures, easy to use--my main guide on hikes. A 5 STAR book, much better than the Audobon book or any other I've tried.


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