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South Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails

The south shore of Lake Tahoe has an extensive variety of easy to hard hiking trails to explore during the spring, summer and fall. We have organized a list here into the following categories; wildflower trails, hiking trails and ski resort trails.

Wildflower trails are generally very easy, and the focus on viewing flowers is best scene during late spring and early summer.

Big Meadow
Trail Length: 1.2 miles.
Vertical: 300 feet
Easy to Moderate
Common Flower Types: Pink Monkeyflowers, Brown Pinedrops and Purple Columbine.
Trailhead Location: 8 miles south of the city of Meyers, off of SR 89.
Notes: Big Meadow is a subalpine meadow covered in flowers with a creek running through it. It is a great spot for a picnic.

Winnemucca Lake, Frog Lake and Round Top
Trail Length: 4.5 miles.
Vertical: 1,110 feet.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Common Flower Types: Red Mountain Sorrel, Blue Flax and Red Alpine Paintbrush
Trailhead Location: Past Kirkwood Ski Resort, east on Highway 88. When you reach Kit Carson Pass, there is a large parking lot on the right (there is a fee for parking).
Notes: The first lake on the trail is Frog Lake, then Winnemucca, then Round Top.


Mount Tallac
Trail Length: 11 miles
Vertical: 3500 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous
Duration: 6-7 hours
Trailhead Location: Coming from South Lake Tahoe drive Hwy 89 to the Camp Shelly turn off (3/4 mile past the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center). Then follow the signs to the “Tallac Trailhead.”
Notes: This trail is a very challenging hike that rewards you with a panoramic view of Lake Tahoe and other parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The best time to hike this trail is from July through early October. Permits for hiking are self issued at the trailhead.

Tallac Historic Site
Trail Length: 2 miles
Vertical: 80 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead Location: Drive north on Hwy 89 3 miles. The entrance is located on the lake side, across the street from Fallen Leaf Lake Rd.
Notes: Only open on weekends between Memorial Day and the middle of June. Open daily from the middle of June to September.

Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm Castle
Trail Length: 1.25 miles
Vertical: 730 feet
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trailhead Location: Drive from South Lake Tahoe 9 miles on Hwy 89. The parking lot is on the right when you reach the interior end of Emerald Bay. Parking does get busy during summer season, so get there early.
Notes: Emerald Bay is a National Natural Landmark, and the Vikingsholm Castle at the base is a very interesting architectural experience. The trail to the base is wide, almost like a fire road.

Bayview to Velma Lakes
Trail Length: 10.5 miles
Vertical: 2,725 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 5-7 hours
Trailhead Location: From South Lake Tahoe take Hwy 89 North 8 miles to the Bayview Campground. Parking can be found at the end of the camping area. All overnight permits must be purchased before getting to the trailhead, and day hikers can self serve a permit at the trailhead.

Eagle Falls
Trail Length: 2 miles
Vertical: 425 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
40 minutes – 2 hours
Trailhead Location: Take Hwy 89 N from South Lake Tahoe 8 miles to the Eagle Falls Picnic area (on left). There is a parking fee at the trailhead area. Permits can be obtained at the self serve area near the trailhead.
Notes: This is a very popular and congested area in the summer. It offers great views and is a relatively short hike.

Fallen Leaf Lake/Moraine Trail
Trail Length: 2.5 miles.
Vertical: Minimal
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 1.5 hour
Trailhead Location: Follow Hwy 89 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe. At 2/3 mile past Fallen Leaf Lake Rd is the campground. Enter the campground and park before campsite 75.
Notes: Fallen Leaf Lake is the second largest alpine lake in the Basin (3 miles long).

Angora Lakes
Trail Length: 1.5 miles.
Vertical: 250 feet.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 1 hour
Trailhead Location: 3 miles north on Hwy 89 from South Lake Tahoe. Turn left on Fallen Leaf Lake Road, and left at the first paved road. Then turn right on Forest Service Road 12N14 and go past Angora Lookout. There is a parking lot at the end of the road.
Notes: Angora Lakes Resort has a parking fee, and is privately operated.

Echo Lakes
Trail Length: 12.6 miles.
Vertical: 1225 feet.
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 3-4 hours
Trailhead Location: Drive on Hwy 50 to Echo Summit. Turn onto Johnson Pass Rd and stay left. The road will take you to a parking area by the Lower Echo Lake.
Notes: A few options for hiking exist, and you can take the water taxi to cut off 3 miles from your hike each way. A self service permit area is located by the trailhead, and overnight permits must be purchased ahead of time.

Glen Alpine Trailhead
Trail Length: depends on trail
Vertical: depends on trail
Difficulty: depends on trail
Duration: depends on trail
Trailhead Location: Take HWY 89 north from South Lake Tahoe onto Fallen Leaf Rd. Turn left at the Glen Alpine trailhead sign.
Notes: Multiple hikes can be taken from this trailhead. The southern trail will take you on a short 3 mile walk to Grass Lake or a longer 6 miles to Lake Aloha. Another trail heads to Half Moon or Alta Morris Lakes, and a third trail heads to Gilmore Lake and Dicks Pass. Also at Gilmore Lake is the option to head up to Mt. Tallac. Day permits are self service and overnight permits must be purchased ahead of time.


Three hiking trials begin from the top of Heavenly’s gondola, and range from easy to moderate. Most feature fantastic views of the lake and surrounding areas.

Located high in the Sierra, Kirkwood gives you access to many trails such as the Mormon Emigrant Trail and others. The Kirkwood general store and adventure center can provide you with maps and information about the many trails available at the resort.