Explore a list of the best hiking trails in Lake Tahoe and their features. There’s a trail for hikers of all experience levels!
Kings Beach/Crystal Bay/Incline Village Stateline Fire Lookout
Length: 1.5 miles round trip.
The trailhead is located about 3 miles east on Highway 28 from The Franciscan, , at the top of Reservoir Road just past the Tahoe Biltmore in Crystal Bay.
Why Go: This short hike offers an amazing panoramic view of Lake Tahoe and Kings Beach. This hike is short enough to be able to catch an epic Tahoe sunset and still have enough light to hike back to your car.
The Flume Trail
Length: 14 miles one way
A great way to experience this Tahoe trail is to park at Tunnel Creek Café, about 9 miles west of The Franciscan, and a shuttle runs between Tunnel Creek and Spooner Lake, where the trailhead for the Flume is. Catch the shuttle to Spooner Lake and hike or bike back to your car at Tunnel Creek.
Why Go: This is a classic mountain biking route, but it is also great for hiking. The first three miles are an ascent up to Marlette Lake, surrounded by the Sierras. The path then hugs a ridgeline high above Lake Tahoe, offering unparalleled views of the lake.
Length: 1.5 miles round trip
Trailhead is about 5 miles south on 89, down the west shore.
Why Go: The short hike to the top of Eagle Rock offers panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the West Shore.
Length: 1.7 miles round trip
The trailhead is located at the Vikingsholm parking lot 20 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89.
Why Go: This trail is shorter and more heavily trafficked, but well worth it to stand at the mouth of Emerald Bay. Vikingsholm castle is a large mansion offering tours throughout the summer, and the sandy beach outside of the castle is a great place for a picnic lunch. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are also available, and take the opportunity to paddle to the only island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island, in Emerald Bay!
Cascade Falls Trail
Length: 2 miles round trip.
The trailhead is located about 20 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89 at the Bayview Campground, across from Inspiration Point.
Why Go: This hike offers great views of Lake Tahoe, and ends at Cascade Falls, which is a stunning waterfall over Cascade Lake.
The West Shore/South Lake Tahoe Rubicon Trail
Length: 9 miles round trip, 4.5 miles one way.
There are two trailheads, with parking lots at each trailhead. You can either park about 20 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89 at Vikingsholm and shuttle a car to DL Bliss, which is located about 17 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89, or vice versa. Alternatively, you can hike the full trail parking at either of these trailheads.
Why Go: The Rubicon trail is a relatively flat trail that follows the shoreline between DL Bliss and Vikingsholm. DL Bliss is a beautiful state park with long, sandy beaches, and Vikingsholm is a Tahoe mansion located at the mouth of Emerald Bay.
Length: 4 miles round trip, or 2 miles up and take the tram down (it’s free on the way down!)
The trailhead is located on Chamonix Pl., at the top of Squaw Valley Road.
Why Go: This hike starts off meandering along Shirley Creek before steeply ascending over 1,000 feet to High Camp at Squaw Valley. With great views of Granite Chief Wilderness on the way up and views of Tahoe from the top, this rugged hike is well worth the challenge. The tram is also free on the way down for folks who would prefer not to hike back to the trailhead.
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows Five Lakes Hike
Length: 4 miles round trip.
The trailhead is located 6 miles up Alpine Meadows Road, at the intersection of Deer Park Road.
Why Go: This challenging hike through the Granite Chief Wilderness offers great views of Alpine Meadows and the Sierras. The cluster of alpine lakes that gives this route its name is the perfect spot to stop for a picnic before heading back down. Experience Tahoe’s Best Kept Secret at The Franciscan.