Visitors to Lake Tahoe are in the midst of one of the most beautiful and accessible hiking areas in the world. Most of the park and wilderness areas are only a short drive and still maintain their pristine qualities. Whether you want just a brief jaunt in the fresh air or a rambling all day hike, there are a myriad of trails and destinations to suit any requirement.
One of our favorites is the pristine Desolation Wilderness accessed via the west shore of Lake Tahoe. We have a more comprehensive book detailing almost every hike in the Lake Tahoe area. Guests are free to reference it anytime, and were always happy to share with you our favorite hikes.
The following are some nearby hikes.
NEVADA SHORELINE 4 Miles one-way Easy
This hike covers four miles with a vertical climb of 300 feet. Begin at the paved parking lot on Highway 28, 2.9 miles south of Sand Harbor. The trail drops to the beach and follows the shoreline, passing Chimney Beach, Secret Harbor and Whale Beach. The trail eventually connects to a service road that can be followed back to the parking area.
SPOONER LAKE LOOP 2 Miles Easy
This short trail completes a loop around Spooner Lake. Begin at the Spooner Lake Parking Area on Highway 28, (fee required) and walk down to the lakes dam. Cross the dam and pass large boulders which have Indian grinding holes. Follow the path around the lake and enjoy an abundance of wildlife. Ducks, geese, and a variety of waterfowl converge on the lake.
STATELINE LOOKOUT - 1.5 Miles one-way Easy
This short, self-guided nature trail offers superb views of Lake Tahoe and the North Shore area. When approaching Crystal Bay on Highway 28, turn right on Reservoir Drive and continue past the Fire Station. Keep to the left at road junctions. Park and hike up the road for approximately 1½ miles to the lookout. The nature trails start at the old fire lookout and wraps around the mountains crest.
TAHOE MEADOWS WHOLE ACCESS TRAIL 1.3 Miles one-way Easy
This very easy trail is located at Tahoe Meadows near the summit of Highway 431, 5.6 miles east of the intersection of Country Club Drive and Highway 431. The level trailhead was designed for the handicapped (blind or wheelchair bound) and small children. Ten bridges have been constructed over this large meadow and rivulets that crisscross the trail. In the spring wildflowers abound, including pussypaws. In the fall, the rare Elephant Head appears. Wide-open views reward those that hike here.
SLAUGHTER HOUSE CANYON TRAIL 1.5 Miles one-way - Moderate
This trail has two equally beautiful destinations: A classic Sierra meadow, or one of Tahoes most secluded beaches. The trailhead for this hike is located 2¼ miles north of the Highway 50-28 junction. Look for a locked green gate on the west (lake) side of the road. Please park off of the pavement. Follow this road down to a fork at about 1 mile. The left fork will continue down to lovely Prey Meadows while the right continues on to Skunk Harbor on the lakes shore.
SPOONER LAKE TO MARLETTE LAKE 5 Miles one-way - Moderate
This is a scenic moderate hike up the North Canyon Road to beautiful Marlette Lake. This road is popular with mountain bikers and equestrians. Park at the Spooner Lake parking lot, (fee required) and begin the hike along the road heading north. Thick stands of Quaking Aspen trees make this a wonderful fall season hike with their many colored leaves of yellow and red. For the first five miles the road climbs gently, then steeply to a low summit. From here, the trail drops down to the east-shore of Marlette Lake. This beautiful lake serves as a fish hatchery for the State of Nevada. As such, no fishing is allowed.
TAHOE RIM TRAIL / SPOONER SUMMIT 5 Miles to Marlette Lake one-way Moderate
This section of the Tahoe Rim Trail offers a moderate climb and beautiful views of Lake Tahoe. Please park at the dirt pullout on US 50, just ½ mile east of the junction with Highway 28. There is a sign designating the trailhead. If you would like more information on this trail, please click on the Tahoe Rim Trail in the Recreation Directory.
SNOWFLAKE LODGE 1.3 Miles one-way - Moderate
This is a short, refreshing hike to one of Lake Tahoes best picnic sites. Park at Diamond Peak Ski Resorts base lodge and follow the dirt road alongside the Crystal Quad base loading area. The hike has a vertical rise of 700 feet. This maintenance road is wrapped with foliage indigenous to the area. Once at the top there is a 4,000 square foot sundeck with plenty of picnic tables and one of the most spectacular sights of Lake Tahoe to be found.
TAHOE RIM TRAIL / BROCKWAY TO MT. ROSE 4 Miles one-way - Moderate
Begins at 7,200 feet. There are 4 completed miles in this section. The trailhead (east) access is 200 feet east of Highway 267, accessed via a dirt road and parking pull-off .5 mile south of the summit, across from Brockway summit (west) access. Generally forested, it has panoramic views from a vista spur trail 1 mile east of the summit and from Martis Peak.
HIDDEN BEACH TO TWIN LAKES 3.5 Miles One-Way - Strenuous
Park at the scenic pullout just north of Sand Harbor and hike up Tunnel Creek road to Twin Lakes.
MT ROSE SUMMIT 6 Miles One-Way - Strenuous
Excellent views of Lake Tahoe, evidence of the volcanic period in the Sierra Nevada and glaciated canyons are visible along this route. On a clear day, the Sierra Buttes and Mt. Lassen can be seen to the North. Take Highway 431, the Mt. Rose Highway, to the trailhead, about ½ mile below the pass. Parking for about 40 cars is available in a roadside pullout, or at the Mt. Rose Campground at the summit. The trail climbs a dirt road to a junction. From there a trail leaves right from this junction and climbs 5 miles, first down through a lush meadow, and then up to the saddle west of the summit. From there the trail switchbacks up the broad shoulder of the peak over highly volcanic rocks. The summit offers several rock shelters from the wind. With a vertical climb of 2,200 feet, hikers should be properly acclimated, carry water, have good hiking boots and be prepared for all weather conditions.
At Vacation Station were passionate about Lake Tahoe. Weve hiked most every mountain and trail in this area and can recommend a hike thats perfect for what youve imagined. Even if its bushwhacking into one of the Velma Lakes, snow shoeing, backcountry skiing or a week of Sierra backpacking, call or stop by our office for specific directions to any Lake Tahoe destination. Toll free 800.841.7443.