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West Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails

The west shore of Lake Tahoe is full of easy, moderate and difficult trails. Here are a few of the best options for exploring this area during the spring, summer and fall seasons.


Page Meadow
Trail Length: No trail
Common Flowers:
Various wildflowers
Vertical: Flat
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead Location: From Tahoe City take Hwy 89 2 miles south and turn on Pineland Dr. Then take a right on Forest Service Road 15N60 or 16N48.


Sugar Pine Point (General Creek Trail)
Trail Length: 14.5 miles
Vertical: Very minimal
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: depends on route
Trailhead Location: From Tahoe City follow Hwy 89 South 13 miles to the Sugar Pine Point State Park. Rangers on-site have various trail maps.
Notes: Most of the hiking is along the general creek. Trees are a common attraction here, with Sugar Pine, Jeffrey Pin, Stately White Fir, Black Cottonwood and Quaking Aspen.

Cascade Creek Falls and Cascade Lake
Trail Length: 1.5 miles
Vertical: 75 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Short
Trailhead Location: Drive on SR 89 North from the city of South Lake Tahoe 8 miles to Bayview Campground. Parking can be found at the end of the camp area.
Notes: This short trail offers great views during springtime (when the snow is melting) of the 200 foot high Cascade falls and the Cascade Lake.

Rubicon Trail
Trail Length: 9 miles
Vertical: 1478 feet
Duration: 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Location: From South Lake Tahoe take Hwy 89 north for 10 miles to D.L. Bliss State Park.
Notes: Rubicon Trail wanders along the shores of Lake Tahoe from Rubicon Point to Emerald Bay. Various coves along the way offer spots for relaxation or picnicking. There is a fee for parking at the state park.

Granite Chief
Trail Length: 11.2 miles.
Vertical: 2850 feet.
Difficulty: Very Difficult
Duration: 5-6 hours
Trailhead Location: From Truckee take Hwy 89 South and turn left on Squaw Valley Rd. Before entering the Squaw Valley Village, turn right towards Olympic Valley Inn. Go to the parking lot and to the right is the trailhead (no markers and room for about 10 cars).
Notes: This is a very strenuous hike with plentiful views along the trail and at the top. Early to mid season also brings a wide assortment of wildflowers and streams.

Meeks Bay to Crag Lake
Trail Length: 10 miles.
Vertical: 1270 feet.
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 6 hours
Trailhead Location: From Tahoe City take Highway 89 South to Meeks Bay. The trailhead parking lot can be found by following the signs.
Notes: Although this trail accesses the desolation wilderness just like many other trails, it gets much less traffic than the south shore trailheads such as Emerald Bay.

Eagle Rock
Trail Length: 1.5 miles.
Vertical: 250 feet.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 1 hour
Trailhead Location: From Tahoe City take 89 South to Blackwood Canyon Road (also called Route 3).
Notes: Eagle Rock is an old, eroded and dormant Volcano. The view from the top offers a panoramic sight of Lake Tahoe.

Ellis Lake
Trail Length: 6 miles
Vertical: 1800 feet
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 4.5 hours
Trailhead Location: From Tahoe City take 89 South to Barker Pass Rd. Barker Pass is poorly marked and somewhat hard to find. When on Barker Pass, the road splits. Take the paved side of the road. The trailhead is at the end of the paved road.
Notes: The trail can be quite steep and windy at times. Once at 400 feet, the trail forks. Bear right here to continue to Ellis Point.

Also see related articles on lodging options
Lake Tahoe Vacation Rentals
North Lake Tahoe Vacation Rentals

South Lake Tahoe Vacation Rentals