You probably know that a well-known quote from naturalist John Muir is “the mountains strike, and I have to go.” Yet perhaps you wouldn’t realize he was thinking of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, where Lake Tahoe is situated. And if you leave the urban life in the wooded and beautiful Lake Tahoe for a few days, you’re sure to walk on your route. Fortunately, Tahoe Lake is a walking paradise for athletes of any level. With a lot of options. Many hiking trails, including the Tunnel Creek Trail, are less than a short distance away. Some, including Mount Tallac, require you to walk down steep paths through thousands of deep forest before you get spectacular views of the lake.
Recall that you will be in bear country when you hike in Tahoe. Tahoe bears are black bears (although they appear brown) and are afraid of people–but people love food and so be careful that they don’t leave food wrappers or garbage. During winter and autumn, Lake Tahoe also has very heavy snowfall, which can hinder access to the path all year long. Until you continue your trip, please do research on these routes and test the trail conditions.
The Mount Tallac is potentially Tahoe’s most difficult walk and the 10-mile-higher path that climbs nearly 3,000 feet. The land is sometimes rough and rugged, and the road may be icy before August. The payoff for your achievements from a plateau nearly 10 000 meters above sea level is amazing views of the whole country. On the road, there are no services.
The Rubicon Peak Trail is a quick, yet challenging 4-mile round trip up to a rugged point with great views. Not to be mistaken with the longer and far flatter Rubicon Trail. It never gets too busy because of its challenge (it reaches 2000 feet in 2 miles of height). Parking is a little difficult here because on the side of the street you will locate a parking place in a residential neighborhood.
Tunnel Creek Trail
This simple and broad route is perfect for families. Better yet, Lake Tahoe views start less than half a mile away, so there is lots of reward for less effort. This path has benches and vantage points along the route, as well as mountain bike enthusiasts. It’s out-and-out, so you can travel as far as you want (or not). Tunnel Creek Cafe is an excellent place to pick up lunch or breakfast in advance.
Eagle Lake/Eagle Falls
You have to choose from two trails in the popular Emerald Bay State Park: an easy 15-minute stroll to Eagle Falls and a1-mile-hike to Eagle Lake which rises to around 500 meters. In the summer months, Eagle Lake is a great place to swim. The Eagle Falls road, which also has a parking fee during the summer months, provides rooms with drinking water. Perhaps the busiest trail on the list is, so try to come a weekday or early in the morning.
This is a wonderful and moderate walk up a shady mountain meadow that houses five lakes (surprise!). The walk is two and a half miles each, with wildflowers near the lakes and large building blocks pointing up the trail. You can extend your walk all the way to the Pacific Crest Trail if you pass through the lakes at the top. Make sure that you bring bug spray because mosquitoes can occur near the lakes, particularly when the snow melts. Once you continue up to P.C.T. you’ll reach nearly 1000 feet of height and another 500.
For any nature lover, Mount Rose is a fantastic walk: you can rest 2.5 miles in the waterfall if you want to take it quickly. Your halfway point is Mount Rose, which looks down at Lac Tahoe, on one side and Nevada’s high desert on the other, if you want to do the whole 11-mile (2400 feet in altitude!). The last mile is quite steep and crosses loose rocks, so you can bring walking poles or at least solid boats. During the season, the restrooms are on the road, but you will need your own drink.
You can find Donner Summit, named for the notorious Donner Group, in Truckee, north of the city. The5-mile Judah loop trail, which begins at the Donner Summit Sugar Bowl Academy, is a fun walk through rocky peaks, giant trees, and ultimately looks into the wilderness on Lake Tahoe. Through turning right at the Donner Lookout sign near the top you will extend a half-mile and then follow the trail back and forth to another viewpoint.