5 In North America

Five Amazing Lake Tahoe Hikes

During our three days in Lake Tahoe, it felt like each hike we went on was more beautiful than the last.

Lake Tahoe Hikes

In reality, they were all equally stunning in their own way. It would be hard to choose a favorite! More than anything else, I was continuously surprised at the varied landscape and diversity of options. Whether you’re looking for a full-day challenge or a short break to stretch your legs, you’ll easily find the perfect trail.

Keep scrolling for five amazing Lake Tahoe hikes.

Cascade Falls Trail

This short hike gives you two-for-one lake views of both Cascade Lake in the foreground and Lake Tahoe just beyond. The falls were actually dry when we were there, but the hike was still beautiful.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe

The trail is clear at first but widens and becomes less obvious as you near the falls, making it a little tricky to determine the end point. (I imagine it would be easier with actual falls to aim for!) Friendly fellow hikers helped us on our way.

Lake Tahoe

There’s not much elevation change on this hike and it’s less than two miles round trip, so it’s a great option for something short and sweet. There is a little rock scrambling to be done by the falls, so make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes.

Rubicon Trail

We spent the majority of our first full day on the lake hiking the Rubicon Trail. I wrote a detailed post about it here.

Lake Tahoe Hikes

If you only have time for one hike on the lake I would recommend this one, even if you can only manage a section of it. Visit my post above for all of the details you’ll need to plan your trek!

Lake Tahoe Hikes

Eagle Falls Trail

This is another short but sweet hike. It’s a quick walk up to the falls from the parking area. These falls were dry as well (it was that time of year!) but the views again made up for it.

Lake Tahoe Hikes

This was such a peaceful way to start our day before heading to our next hostel in North Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe Hikes

From Eagle Falls, you can continue on to Eagle Lake and other destinations in the federally protected Desolation Wilderness.

Dolder Nature Trail

You’ll find the Dolder Nature Trail at another one of the lake’s beautiful state parks: Sugar Pine Point.

Lake Tahoe Hikes

This flat, meandering loop offers lake views and plenty of forest shade. The towering trees covered in bright green moss and blankets of honey-colored pine cones made for a pretty magical setting.

Lake Tahoe Hikes

You may also like: Hiking Lake Tahoe’s Rubicon Trail

Lake Tahoe Hikes

Also worthwhile here is the Lakefront Interpretive Trail, a quarter-mile walk along the water. I’d recommend spending some time on the edge of the large dock here. It’s a great place to observe the lake’s famously clear water.

Lake Tahoe Hikes
Lake Tahoe Hikes

Stateline Fire Tower Lookout Trail

When we arrived at our hostel in Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe, we had some time to kill before checking in. I opened Google Maps on my phone and noticed a nearby icon for a “Historic Stateline Fire Lookout.” It looked like there was a trail leading up to it, so we decided to give it a try.

Lake Tahoe Hikes
Driving through Tahoe City on our way to Kings Beach

It was a little tricky to find the trailhead. Navigating to our original destination of “Historic Stateline Fire Lookout” led to a dead end road in the vicinity of the lookout. Make sure you enter “Trail Head for Stateline Lookout” instead and it will guide you to the actual path.

And in case that doesn’t work, here’s how we got there:

  • Follow State Route 28 E out of Kings Beach. You’ll cross the state line into Nevada and drive by a few casinos.
  • Turn left onto Reservoir Road. If you’re coming from the other direction, it will be a right onto Reservoir.
  • Turn right onto Lakeview Avenue.
  • When you come to a Y in the road, veer left to stay on Lakeview.
  • As you approach another Y in the road, pull over and park (you may see a few other cars here).
  • You should now see Lookout Road, with a large green gate, veering off to the left.

You made it!

Now for the trail itself. It’s paved the entire way, so it’s more accessible than the other hikes on this list. It’s also very easy to follow…or so you would think! Partway up the path we came to a forest trail leading up and to the right. A blog post I quickly scanned mentioned you could either follow the paved road or take a detour along the forest path. Always a fan of the scenic route, I advocated for the path.

Lake Tahoe Hikes

As it turns out, we didn’t head down the same path that was mentioned in the blog post. Before long it became clear we were no longer approaching the lookout. The trail was pretty, but we had no idea where we were.

Luckily, we ran into a local walking his dog. He confirmed that we weren’t approaching the lookout but advised that if we kept going, turned right and continued uphill, we’d reach even better views from a higher vantage point. We were both hesitant, thinking we might just get lost again. But we went for it, climbing up and up, until we reached an unbelievably beautiful lookout, as promised.

Lake Tahoe Hikes
Lake Tahoe Hikes

A bonus: no one else was up there! I guess that will happen when you get yourself lost on an unmarked trail and follow the advice of a local. They always know best!

Lake Tahoe Hikes
Views over Nevada’s Crystal Bay
Lake Tahoe Hikes
TFW you’re responsible for getting lost but it ends up being so worth it

After soaking up the sunshine and views for a few minutes, we headed back down the hill. Once we reached the paved road again, we turned right to check out the actual lookout…and stuck to the road this time!

Lake Tahoe Hikes

When you reach the top of the hill, there’s a circular loop with informational signs. While the solitude of our first lookout was pretty special, the views from the lookout are beautiful too. Definitely worth the short climb!

Plus, how often do you start a hike in one state and end up in another?

Lake Tahoe Hikes
Views over California’s Agate Bay

Hiking is a great way to get to know Lake Tahoe. From trails leading directly along the clear, teal water to rocky, uphill climbs offering bird’s eye views, you’ll be able to experience this stunning mountain setting from every angle.

What’s the most beautiful hike you’ve been on lately? Let me know in the Comments below!

Pin it for later!

Lake Tahoe Hikes

I’m sharing this post to one of my favorite blog link-ups: the Faraway Files, with Fifi + HopHilary StyleOregon Girl Around the World, and Suitcases and Sandcastles. Follow the links to check out their sites!

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  • Reply
    Corey | Fifi + Hop
    March 1, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful Lake Tahoe is. I wish I spent more time there when I lived in San Francisco years ago. I love to hike so really enjoyed reading this post…maybe it was a good thing you got lost so that a local could bring you to the best vantage point possible! Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      April 24, 2020 at 9:47 pm

      I was blown away by how stunning it is. And I agree – it was definitely a best case scenario for getting lost 🙂 Thanks for reading, Corey!

  • Reply
    Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays
    March 6, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    We’re passing by Tahoe this summer … pinned foe later! #FarawayFiles

  • Reply
    March 6, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Can you believe that I lived in the Bay Area for 8 years and never made it to Lake Tahoe! Ugh, now that I’ve seen your gorgeous photos I’ll need to make a special trip. #farwayfiles

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      April 24, 2020 at 9:49 pm

      I would say I am surprised but honestly California is so full of stunning places to visit that I’m not! We could have extended our trip by weeks and still not seen everything. I hope you can make it there soon (once it’s safe to do so) if you haven’t yet 🙂

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