Distance: 4 miles roundtrip out-and-back. Elevation gain: 420 ft. Scenic. Short and sweet. Good picnic places. Good for families & dogs. Rock climbing. Mushroom hunting.

The trailhead starts (and ends) by the beautiful Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe, and goes west. The trail is well-marked and composed of mostly granite steps.

Once you get to the lake, you can swim: it's cold but beautiful. If you keep following the path to the wooded areas (to the left), there are some good picnic areas and mushroom hunting opportunities (there are a bunch of morels in the woods if you go at the right time after rain; just make sure you don't find any false morels!).

You can hike longer if you want (around the lake) but the trail melds away into the scree and it can be hard to keep going. If you manage to scramble over the scree, there are some incredible granite walls you can rock climb. Beyond the walls/scree, you can see the incredible waterfall that feeds into the lake. Highly recommend it!

Parking can be a pain, so arrive early. The trail can also get crowded at times. There are facilities at the trailhead. A wilderness permit is required (also at the trailhead).

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Camera
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Activities Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Lots Of Bang For Your Buck

A relatively short hike extremely popular with tourists. Parking can be very difficult so show up early. But the hike is fantastic, you're rarely without a great view. Some sections are steep but trail levels out quickly and staggers climbing. Enjoy!

Easy Hike Great Reward

Gradual elevation of this short 2.9km hike allowed us to enjoy the surroundings on the way up, not feeling out of breath. The clear path was easy to follow and the reveal of the lake was simple beautiful. Some great spots around the lake, so bring a picnic/snack and enjoy the area while the sun is out. The water is beautifully clear and there are a few rocks in the middle of the lake for you to swim to and sunbathe if the weather is right. Loved it, particularly being fresh into my second trimester and looking for an experience that wasn't too taxing.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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