20 Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails For The Best Views

Hiking trail view of sunset at Lake Tahoe

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If you want to hit the Lake Tahoe hiking trails for the best views, welcome! This is the guide for you.

Covered here are 20 of the top Lake Tahoe trails that offer spectacular views of the area. Plan an easy, moderate, or challenging hike to suit your interests, location, and time frame. 

You can go hiking in North Lake Tahoe, head for the east shore, look for the best hiking in south Lake Tahoe near where you’ll be staying, or follow a hiking trail in Lake Tahoe to the west of the water. 

This article contains 20 of the very best trails in Tahoe, so you can soak up those spectacular views. With very little or a lot of effort, depending on your preference.

Which hiking in the Lake Tahoe area will you be tackling first?


My Top 3 Picks: Lake Tahoe Hiking


Stunning views from DL Bliss State Park trail
Emerald point Trail my #2 pick for best Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails
Mount Tallac Trail my #3 pick for best Lake Tahoe Hiking

What makes me an expert?

We hike, A LOT. We've hiked many many miles all over the world! We fit in as much hiking as we can everywhere we go, and our trip to Lake Tahoe was no exception!

We loved hiking in this area. It is so beautiful and there are many trails to choose from that will fit anyone from beginner level to experienced hard-core hiker. This guide combines our personal experiences and loads of additional research to provide you with the most complete guide to hiking in Lake Tahoe!

👍ARE YOU TRAVEL OBSESSED? Join ‘Our Travel Obsession' Facebook group!


9 Best South Lake Tahoe Hikes


BARN TRAIL TO CAL NEVA LOOP

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.9 miles (4.7 kilometers)
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 524 feet (160 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Barn Trail parking lot
  • Permit required? No
lush green trees for the best hiking south lake tahoe experience

The Barn Trail to Cal Neva Loop is perfect for those seeking easy hikes in the Lake Tahoe region. This trail more-or-less follows the California and Nevada state line and is a popular snowshoeing route locally.

This unspoiled route may require you to wear sunscreen, layers of clothing, and perhaps even a bear bell. Sweeping views over the shimmering waters of Lake Tahoe are also a particular highlight. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Easy rating
  • Lots of small creatures to see
  • Beneath a mountain gondola route

💡 Good to know

  • Popular snowshoeing route
  • A bear encounter is a possibility
  • Mountain bikers can pass by at a speed

CASCADE FALLS TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 209 feet (64 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Cascade Falls Trail parking lot (via Highway 89) or near Fallen Leaf Campground in winter
  • Permit required? No
scenic view from the top of Eagles Falls while hiking in Lake Tahoe waterfalls

This Lake Tahoe hike is less accessible in summer than in winter, when you’ll need to walk to the trailhead from the Fallen Leaf Campground area.

Once you get to the Cascade Falls Trail, though, it’s only 1.3 miles long with moderate difficulty. If you’re looking for Lake Tahoe hiking to a waterfall, this one includes Cascade Falls as the name suggests.

There are also some of the finest views in Emerald Bay State Park to enjoy. Plus there are pools to paddle in, and the area by the falls makes a scenic picnic spot too. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Sweeping Emerald Bay views
  • Spectacular after winter snow has melted
  • Lovely picnic spot with natural paddling pools

💡 Good to know

  • Small parking lot
  • Popular and therefore busy
  • Closed in winter, so a walk to the trailhead is required

🚤Thinking of taking a boat tour of Lake Tahoe while you're there? Check out my top recommended boating tours!


EAGLE LAKE TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.9 miles (3 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 459 feet (140 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Eagle Falls Picnic Area (via Highway 89)
  • Permit required? No

One of the best hikes in Tahoe, the Eagle Lake Trail is a moderately challenging out-and-back route that’s just under a couple of miles long.

You can bring your pet, and it’s not too challenging for families – as long as you can all cope with some steep steps and uneven ground.  

If you want to find hiking in Lake Tahoe with waterfalls, this one fits the bill. You can even take a cold plunge into Eagle Lake if you need to cool off.

Just be aware that it's a popular and therefore busy trail. Due to mud, it’s among those Lake Tahoe walking trails that are at their best during the warmer months.

⛰️ Highlights

  • Family and pet-friendly route
  • Lush greenery and granite rocks
  • Waterfalls, creeks, lakes, and shore

💡 Good to know

  • Can be muddy
  • Very busy and the parking lot fills up fast
  • Steep stone steps and uneven terrain

PRO TIP: Make sure you grab your free packing checklist! It has everything you'll need in an easy-to-use PDF checklist that you can use over & over!


VIKINGSHOLM TRAIL TO LOWER EAGLE FALLS

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.5 miles (4 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 511 feet (156 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Eagle Falls trailhead or Emerald Bay overlook parking lot
  • Permit required? No
lake tahoe hikes with waterfalls in Eagles Falls

Of all the hikes near Tahoe, the Vikingsholm Trail to Lower Eagle Falls is one of the best suited to bird lovers. It’s not one for those with pets, however, who aren’t permitted on this route.

Among the finest Lake Tahoe hikes with waterfalls, make sure your phone or camera has plenty of battery for this one.

The falls are at their best after the winter snow has melted, in spring or early summer. This is a trail to tackle between April and October, and you can expect some seasonal compacted snow en route. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Great for birdlife
  • Sensational views
  • Amazing falls in spring or early summer

💡 Good to know

  • Pets not permitted
  • Some steep sections
  • Can be compacted snow along the way

🏠Need a place to stay in Lake Tahoe? Check out these top romantic Lake Tahoe cabins or take a look at these hotels on the lake with amazing views!


EMERALD POINT TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 4.4 miles (7.1 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 521 feet (159 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Vikingsholm trailhead parking lot
  • Permit required? No
beautiful lake and mountains views in Lake Tahoe area

Expect to run into other hikers, walkers, and runners on the popular Emerald Point Trail route – though you won’t encounter any pets.

Shoreline cliffs, red firs, mixed pines, quaking aspens, and the High Sierra all await. It’s some of the best hiking in Lake Tahoe for nature lovers. 

In summer, you can also see kayakers, sailors, swimmers, and stand-up paddle boarders at Emerald Bay. Due to tree cover, parts of the route are well-shaded. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Lots of native trees
  • High Sierra panoramas
  • The partly shaded route is cooler during summer

💡 Good to know

  • Dogs not allowed
  • Busy during afternoons
  • Can be closed following an avalanche
hiking shirts

FLOATING ISLAND AND CATHEDRAL LAKES TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 4.9 miles (7.9 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,187 feet (362 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Trailhead at the end of Mount Tallac Road
  • Permit required? No
beautiful lake and lush green forest on a best hikes in Lake Tahoe

When you’re seeking summer hikes in the Tahoe area, the Floating Island and Cathedral Lakes Trail sure have the wow factor!

As you head up Mount Tallac, you’ll see several alpine lakes, lush forests, open meadows, and the granite rock formations that characterize the area. 

Floating Island and Cathedral Lakes are among the highlights. This is among the best trails in Lake Tahoe when you want something moderate in difficulty and length, with a reasonable elevation gain. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Alpine lakes and landscapes
  • Moderately challenging in summer
  • Incredible water and mountain views

💡 Good to know

  • Storms aren’t uncommon
  • Can be chilly at higher elevations
  • At its best between July and October
Trivia Questions for road trips

GRANITE LAKE AND MAGGIES PEAKS

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 4.1 miles (6.6 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,778 feet (542 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Bayview trailhead, or on Highway 89 in winter
  • Permit required? No
gorgeous views of granite lake trail in Lake Tahoe

If the best hiking near Lake Tahoe for you is something more challenging, then you might want to head to Granite Lake and Maggies Peaks.

At around 8,500 feet, the two main peaks offer superlative views over Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Desolation Wilderness, and Granite Lake.

In winter, you’ll need to trek half a mile to the trailhead after parking on Highway 89. In summer, though, you can camp at Bayview Trailhead or the Emerald Bay State Park Campground. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Notable elevation gain
  • Good to combine with summer camping 
  • Jaw-dropping views from either of Maggies Peaks

💡 Good to know

  • Can be wet and/or snow-packed
  • No direct trail to the top of either peak
  • Winter parking is available on Highway 89 only

💼Check out our list of what to pack for Tahoe in summer!


MOUNT TALLAC TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 10.5 miles (17 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 3,274 feet (998 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Tallac Trailhead parking lot (via Highway 89)
  • Permit required? Yes
Mountain top view from Mount Tallac while hiking in south lake tahoe

If you’re up for a challenge, the Mount Tallac trail is among the best hikes in Lake Tahoe. Considered challenging, this route may require planning, as a Desolation Wilderness permit is required.

Day hikers can collect permits at the self-service area at the trailhead, but campers must arrange this ahead of time.  

At 9,735 feet above sea level, Mount Tallac offers incredible views over Lake Tahoe from the peak, so it’s worth the ten-and-a-half-mile slog.

There are also superb panoramas of Fallen Leaf Lake en route. Do beware of backcountry skiers in winter though, who also frequent the area.

⛰️ Highlights

  • Reaching the summit is very satisfying
  • Views of Lake Tahoe and other lakes
  • Emerald Bay panoramas

💡 Good to know

  • Hard route
  • Wilderness permit required
  • Popular and busy with snowshoers

EMERALD BAY VIA LIGHTHOUSE AND RUBICON TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 16.4 miles (26.4 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,339 feet (713 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Rubicon Trailhead, or at Visitor Center in winter
  • Permit required? No
Lake Tahoe hiking trail for easy hikes Lake Tahoe

Unlike other hiking trails around Lake Tahoe, this one covers both D. L. Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay State Park.

Trees, shrubs, and wildflowers are a highlight of the Emerald Bay via Lighthouse and Rubicon Trail, and you can expect to see species such as sugar pines, incense cedar, Sierra juniper, mountain dogwood, bitter cherry, black cottonwood, currant, huckleberry, columbine, bleeding heart and nightshade. 

Shoreline cliffs, eagle nesting areas, and campgrounds at the start and end help to make this some of the best hiking in the Lake Tahoe area.

⛰️ Highlights

  • Shoreline cliffs
  • Eagle nesting areas
  • Many trees, shrubs, and wildflowers

💡 Good to know

  • No dogs permitted
  • Seasonal road closures
  • Long and challenging day hike

🎒Ladies – check out my top hiking backpack recommendations!


4 Best East Lake Tahoe Hikes


CAVE ROCK TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 150 feet (46 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Cave Rock trailhead parking area
  • Permit required? No
view from Cave Rock and one of the best hiking near Lake Tahoe

The Cave Rock Trail is one of the easiest East Tahoe trail options. This route passes close to Zephyr Cove in Nevada and is an east shore trail removed from the more touristy south.

Dogs on a leash are welcome, and it’s a popular route for birdwatchers.  

It’s a good one for families too, as kids will love scrambling over rocks. In season, the trail is also lined with wildflowers. The rocky ascent at the end is optional, but more than worthwhile for the views. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Abundant birdlife
  • Summer wildflowers
  • Family-friendly route

💡 Good to know

  • Tiny parking area
  • Last section is more of a challenge
  • Some scrambling required to reach the summit

CHIMNEY BEACH TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.4 miles (3.9 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 249 feet (76 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Parking lot over the road from the trailhead
  • Permit required? No
best hiking in Lake Tahoe with stunning views of the alpine lake lush green trees and beautiful mountains

This is among the best hikes around Lake Tahoe for lovers of coastline, and Chimney Beach is also popular with paddle boarders. The trail also covers the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest area. 

Chimney Beach Trail takes only around an hour to complete, and you can bring a dog on a leash. As well as coastline and paddle boarders, you can expect to see wildflowers, lake views, and local wildlife. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Unspoiled coastline
  • Local flora and fauna
  • Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest area

💡 Good to know

  • Some steep parts
  • Can be crowded in summer
  • Parking can be on the road at times

SECRET COVE BEACH TO WHALE COVE BEACH 

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Distance: 3.1 miles (5 kilometers)
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 298 feet (91 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Chimney Beach parking lot
  • Permit required? No
Lake Tahoe Chimney Beach and Secret Cove fresh waters being one of the Best hiking in Lake Tahoe locations

The Secret Cove Beach to Whale Cove Beach hike is popular, yet those following this coastal walk can often still savor a moment of solitude.

As well as a spectacular coastline, you will also pass through forest and might spot local wildlife. 

It might be tempting to take a dip when following this east Tahoe trail, but don’t forget that the water is cold even in high summer!

⛰️ Highlights

  • Some secluded beach areas
  • A good amount of shade
  • Trail in good condition

💡 Good to know

  • Beach water levels are sometimes high
  • Water is very cold even in summer
  • Short rock scrambling section

MARLETTE LAKE TRAIL FROM SPOONER LAKE

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard 
  • Distance: 10.2 miles (16.4 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,755 feet (535 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Spooner Lake Trailhead parking lot
  • Permit required? No
amazing hikes in Tahoe with views of lush green trees, stunning mountains, and the lake in Tahoe

If the best hikes at Lake Tahoe for you present more of a challenge, then the Marlette Lake Trail from Spooner Lake might well appeal. It’s over ten miles long and rated as a difficult route. 

In spring and summer, you might see wildflowers here. The odd bear sighting has also been reported by hikers. For winter, suitable footwear for hiking in the snow will be required here. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Pretty Marlette Lake
  • Wildflowers in spring and summer

💡 Good to know

  • Some bear sightings reported by hikers
  • Snow hiking footwear is required during winter

3 Best North Lake Tahoe Hikes


INCLINE FLUME TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 4.3 miles (6.9 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 206 feet (63 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Incline Flume Trail parking lot
  • Permit required? No
hiking in north lake tahoe with amazing Lake Tahoe views from Incline Flume Village

For some of the best hiking in North Lake Tahoe, try the Incline Flume Trail.

This is an easy route, but you might want to choose your footwear carefully as there is one crossing where the flow of water can be strong. 

The trail can be done as the 4.3-mile section, or in its 12.4-mile entirety. Whichever you do, expect incredible views, local wildlife encounters, and a variety of landscapes. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Mixed terrain with meadows and forest
  • Breathtaking lake and mountain views
  • Plenty of native wildlife

💡 Good to know

  • You may need waterproof shoes and a towel
  • Start early to secure a parking spot
  • Mountain bikers often fly by 

MONKEY ROCK

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.6 miles (4.2 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 498 feet (152 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: East Shore Trail parking lot
  • Permit required? No
Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

Monkey Rock is a trail located southeast of Incline Village. This is one of the finest hiking trails in the north Lake Tahoe area. It’s moderately difficult, but only 2.6 miles long. 

The name of this trail comes from a granite rock shaped just like a primate. The Lake Tahoe views from here are pretty special, and it’s a popular trail among a variety of age groups.  

⛰️ Highlights

  • Some shaded sections
  • Unusually shaped rock
  • Sweeping Lake Tahoe views

💡 Good to know

  • Gradual incline can be tough
  • Can get very hot during sunny weather
  • Beware of cutting the corner and missing out

TAHOE RIM TRAIL TO PICNIC ROCK VIEWPOINT

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.1 miles (5 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 738 feet (225 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Parking lot on 267
  • Permit required? No
Hiking trail in Tahoe Rim Trail located at North Lake Tahoe

Though it’s one of the furthest removed North Tahoe hikes from the shoreline, you can expect wow-inducing views from the Tahoe Rim Trail to Picnic Rock Viewpoint route.

It’s a moderate family and pet-friendly hike. The area is also frequented by mountain bikers and snowshoers.

This is a good one for any time of the year. You can pick between staying on the Rim Trail for a longer hike or simply stopping at the viewpoint. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Jaw-dropping views
  • Family and pet-friendly route
  • Two hike lengths to choose from

💡 Good to know

  • Some rocky sections
  • Can be snowy areas
  • Trickier to navigate in winter

🗺PRO TIP: Make sure you get GypsyGuide before your trip. Their audio tours are just like having your own personal tour guide!


4 Best West Lake Tahoe Hikes


EAGLE ROCK TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 239 feet (73 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Eagle Rock trailhead parking lot
  • Permit required? No
Nearby road view from hiking Lake Tahoe Eagle rock trail

Eagle Rock Trail is among the best hikes near Lake Tahoe to be found in the west. Pets are allowed off the leash in some parts, and it’s a very short trail to take on.

The uphill and downhill sections are reasonably demanding, however.  Iconic views over Lake Tahoe are to be had from the top here, and you’re likely to see snowshoers if you follow the trail in winter. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Very short hike
  • Famous vistas of Lake Tahoe

💡 Good to know

  • The path is very worn in places
  • Spikes or snowshoes are required in winter

RUBICON POINT LIGHTHOUSE TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.4 miles (3.9 kilometers)
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 485 feet (148 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Lighthouse trailhead parking lot
  • Permit required? No
best hikes near Lake Tahoe with stunning views of the lake and and old lighthouse in Rubicon Point

For hikes around Tahoe that include D.L. Bliss State Park, take a look at this one to the west of the lake.

The Rubicon Point Lighthouse Trail normally takes around an hour and a quarter to complete. Pets aren’t permitted on this trail. 

The lighthouse makes for an interesting diversion when following this trail, and you can also expect local wildflowers in season and a wildlife encounter or two. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Within D.L. Bliss State Park
  • Local wildflowers and wildlife
  • Cool lighthouse to see

💡 Good to know

  • No pets allowed
  • Road closures can occur

D. L. BLISS STATE PARK TO EMERALD BAY STATE PARK

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 7.3 miles (11.7 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,020 feet (311 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Rubicon trailhead parking lot
  • Permit required? No
Crystal clear waters and beautiful mountain views during one of the best hikes around Lake Tahoe

If you have a few hours to spare, this Lake Tahoe hiking trail to the east allows you to see inside two state parks.

It’s a perennially popular route, and as it skirts close to the lake edge there are stunning panoramas over the water. 

Pets cannot join you on the D. L. Bliss to Emerald Bay hike, and it’s best followed between May and October. It’s rumored that bears are occasionally spotted in this area. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Stunning lake views
  • Various waterside areas to enjoy
  • Take a cooling dip or buy an ice cream en route

💡 Good to know

  • Bears can be seen in the area now and then
  • Waterproof footwear is a good idea

MOUNT WATSON VIA DOLLAR CREEK PATH AND SHALE TRAIL

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 12.5 miles (20 kilometers)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,116 feet (645 meters)
  • Where to park/start the hike: Street parking in the Carnelian Heights neighborhood
  • Permit required? No
Trees and lake view on a Lake Tahoe hike

On the way up, densely packed trees may make it seem that your view will be obscured, but that’s not the case at all once you reach the summit of Mount Watson.

In fact, Mount Watson via Dollar Creek Path and Shale Trail is one of the top trails near Lake Tahoe in terms of sweeping vistas.

The hike takes most people a little under six hours to complete. It’s best saved for summer, as on-street parking isn’t available near the trailhead between November and May. 

⛰️ Highlights

  • Peaceful route
  • Stunning panoramas 
  • The downhill section can be fun

💡 Good to know

  • Dogs should be on a leash
  • Mountain bikers pass by at a speed
lake tahoe facts

Lake Tahoe Hiking Facts


📑 Permits

According to the US Department of Agriculture, permits are needed in some cases when in Lake Tahoe Basin (though you currently only need a permit for one hike on this list). In the majority of the wilderness areas, you’ll need a permit for a day or night hike. 

As a general rule, day permits are easy to pick up on the day you plan to hike at the trailhead, and for free. Overnight permits for camping should generally be arranged in advance. 

🦝 Animals

So what creatures should you watch out for in the area? Species range from smaller animals such as beavers, chickarees, porcupines, and raccoons to larger coyotes or even black bears. Birds you might spot include bald eagles, California spotted owls, yellow-headed blackbirds, and Steller’s jay.

Here are some tips for staying safe when hiking in bear country.

☀️ Weather

The climate around Lake Tahoe tends to be warm to hot in summer and cool in winter. Summer temperatures typically peak at around 73°F to 80°F, though it can be as chilly as 44°F to 50°F.

In winter, highs of about 43°F are usual, with overnight lows seeing the mercury sometimes dip as low as 25°F. 

Whatever the season, the waters of Lake Tahoe are always chilly – though a little less so in summer!

💡General hiking tips

Whether you’re headed for some North Tahoe hiking, to Tahoe's east shore, to the south or west, or elsewhere, always pack more water and snacks than you think you'll need to keep you going. A first aid kit is another essential. 

Sunscreen, bug spray, the AllTrails app, a fully charged phone, and a spare battery pack are more musts for me. All of these are always on my list of hiking necessities.  

And, of course, take a break whenever you need one.

Jody's husband resting while laying down on big rocks together with other hikers hiking trails around Lake Tahoe
My husband resting a bit at the top of Mount Tallac

Guided Hiking Tours


If you’re short of time, traveling alone, inexperienced, or not keen on navigating, then a guided tour might be the way to go. These are highly rated!


What to Wear Hiking in Lake Tahoe


Whatever time of year you head off for some south, east, west, or north Tahoe hiking, you’re going to need to dress appropriately. 

Footwear

I find that hiking boots are a necessity for the rocky and uneven terrain of this area.

Waterproof ones are best, as there are sometimes muddy or snowy sections, or you might even need to cross some water at various points. In winter, some hikes are best tackled when wearing snow spikes over your hiking boots. 

These are my personal favorites:

Salomon's Women's Hiking Boots


Clothing

Layering is key when it comes to clothing for tackling the hiking trails at Lake Tahoe. Even summers in Lake Tahoe can be cool in the mornings and evenings.

During winter, you’ll need more layers suitable for daytime maximum temperatures of 43°F and overnight lows of 25°F. 

I swear by my North Face Aphrodite 2.0 pants. They are super comfortable, have the perfect amount of stretch, and dry super fast. In winter, I wear these with fleece leggings underneath.

North Face Aphrodite 2.0 pants

🌟See more of my personal recommendations for hiking clothing & gear here.


Lake Tahoe Hiking FAQs


Is Lake Tahoe good for hiking?


The Lake Tahoe area is great for hiking! This is a land of lakes, mountains, and contrasts. Expect lush forests, granite boulders, and clear, glimmering water.

While most hikes require some sort of ascent, there are easy trails available in the area. 

What are the best day hikes around Lake Tahoe?


There are some awesome day hikes all around Lake Tahoe. Wherever you stay, you can find south, east, west, or north Tahoe hiking trails to suit you.

Duration and difficulty levels vary enormously – as does the terrain.

What is the longest trail in South Lake Tahoe?


The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) Complete Loop is the longest trail in the South Lake Tahoe area. This is according to AllTrails. 

What are the different types of hiking trails in South Lake Tahoe?


The best hikes at South Lake Tahoe vary in difficulty from easy, to moderate, to challenging. These also vary in length. They can be just a little over a mile or maybe far longer.

Whatever your preference, there’s a panoramic route for everyone!

Should I be worried about bears if I go hiking in the Tahoe area?


About 15,000 black bears live in the Lake Tahoe area, making the chance of an encounter fairly high.

The Tahoe bears don’t hibernate, so you could see one at any time of the year. Seeing a bear for yourself can be an amazing experience. Just be prepared, don’t panic, and don’t run!


Which Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails Will You Follow?


Whether you’re headed to Tahoe's east shore, the south, the north, or the west, there are plenty of ways to see Lake Tahoe.

The best hiking trails will give you another perspective on this beautiful area – not least from the elevated position of the mountains surrounding the lake. 

From the best waterfalls in Lake Tahoe or the area’s unspoiled coastline to the most jaw-dropping views from the summit, there are places to hike in Lake Tahoe for all abilities, ages, interests, and time frames!

Until next time…

About The Author

Jody Phifer has been a travel blogger & travel planner since 2019. With her husband and son by her side, she takes on incredible adventures all over the world. She especially loves hiking through the mountains & soaking in breathtaking views. Jody is passionate about sharing her experiences and love of travel, by offering valuable information and inspiration! Learn more about Jody here.

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🏡FOR FINDING GREAT PLACES TO STAY:

  • VRBO – My #1 recommendation for family-friendly lodging options.
  • Expedia – My favorite for hotel bookings.

🚗FOR CAR & RV RENTALS:

  • Discover Cars & Sixt – My favorite sites for rental cars worldwide.
  • Turo.com – Rent a car from an individual owner – It's like VRBO for cars!
  • RVShare – Rent an RV for your next family road trip!

🚁FOR ACTIVITIES, EXCURSIONS, & TOURS:

  • Viator & Get Your Guide – The best sites to find and book activities & excursions.
  • Gypsy Guide – An AWESOME audio tour app. ALWAYS check to see if they have a tour available.

🩺FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE:

  • SafetyWing – The lowest-cost travel insurance out there. Several options starting as low as $42 for 4 weeks of coverage.

FOR FINDING GREAT FLIGHT DEALS:

  • Going (formerly Scott's Cheap Flights) – My #1 recommendation for saving big $$$ on flights. Sign up for a free 14-day trial.

🥾FOR HIKING:

  • AllTrails – THE APP for hikers. I recommend paying for the pro version so you can use the navigation feature while hiking.

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