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Archive for the ‘Hiking and Camping’ Category

A Sky Island Kuna Crest in Yosemite

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Time lapse of the recent Walker Fire outside Yosemite.

Who: Rachel McCullough
What: Hiking and climbing
Tuolumne/Yosemite National Park
August 2015

It was a surprisingly warm morning last month in Yosemite National Park, which was nice because our destination for the day was more than 12,000 feet in elevation.

A week before the trip my hiking partner, Tom, and I studied the Yosemite map and bemoaned that we’d done nearly all the established trails close to the road.

So, we set our sights on a high-elevation hike with no established trail. This hike would take us to the top of Mammoth Peak at 12,117 feet and then south along the Kuna Crest, which rose and fell above and below 12,000 feet.

Mammoth Peak, our first destination.

Mammoth Peak, our first destination.

If you’ve read any of my other posts that involved Tom and Theresa (Hiking Yosemite’s Bermuda Triangle: Tenaya Canyon or Gorgeous Day Hike from Lukens Lake to Tenaya Lake in Tuolomne), you know that while we always intend to get an early start, it doesn’t actually ever happen.

We left the trailhead at 8:45 a.m. and immediately stepped off the trail and into the conifer forest, our objective coming in and out of view to the southwest.

Abandoning our usual fast clip we settled into a one-mile per hour kind of pace that involved frequently looking for the easiest route to the summit and agreeing upon our path. We went from a pond to forest to meadow to forest and then to the craggy upper reaches of Mammoth Peak.

Throughout our journey we spotted sheep poop and hoped to spot a bighorn sheep, which were rumored to be in the Mono Pass area just to our east.

We gained the ridge to the west and followed it to the summit, but not before I called a “food emergency.” Some in our group are known to realize they are absolutely starving just before the “hangry” phase sets in. Instead of the usual summit food and water break, we stopped just below the top of Mammoth Peak, with expansive views to the west, north and south.

Summit bound.

Summit bound.

This is where you can really see the difference between areas in Tuolumne that were glaciated and those that rose above the glacier. The Tuolumne domes that many are familiar with, such as DAFF, Fairview, Medlicott, and Lembert, were smoothed over into their dome shapes as the glaciers ran over them. The taller jagged peaks, such as Cathedral and Unicorn, stood above the glaciers.

We summited Mammoth Peak about four hours in, after a little more than 3.5 miles of off-trail hiking and scrambling. And that’s when we saw that the small wisps of smoke we’d spotted earlier that morning were now billowing. In those few hours, what we would later learn was the Walker Fire expanded quickly, and even closed Highway 120, which is the nearest park exit.

We signed the summit register and saw that the last party to sign had been up three days prior. We had the top to ourselves, but didn’t linger long. We headed south along the Kuna Crest.


Walking along the Kuna Crest.

Walking along the Kuna Crest.

Kuna Crest is a sky island, which is one of the reasons Tom and I (the planners for this hike) were interested to check it out. We were drawn to it after watching the Yosemite Nature Notes Sky Island video, which explains that sky islands are isolated high elevation places with unique plant species that don’t grow anywhere else. There are a few of these sky islands in the Park and Kuna Crest happened to be relatively easy to access.

Although we didn’t see the famed blue sky pilots (you can see them in the Nature Notes video), we saw many of the other plants known to grow in the sky islands, such as alpine gold, Sierra columbine, lupine and buckwheat. From afar, you’d never guess that, such as rocky place, was full of so many plants.

We followed the Kuna Crest up and down, stopping along the way to take a time-lapse of the growing Walker Fire, which started billowing white smoke at the top of the plume partway through the day.

The nice thing about our plan was that we could find a place to come down off the crest whenever we felt like it and pick up the Mono Pass trail to walk back to the car. There was a short section of talus to get off the Crest to reach the lakes below, but after that, it was easy walking back to the trail.

We timed it well and were back to the car well before dark, and were eating our pasta dinner in no time. The only thing we didn’t time well was the line at the Tuolumne store, where we stopped to get typical camping essentials, like chips and our ice cream appetizer.

This post comes from Rachel McCullough, an avid hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, yogi, skier and photographer living in Truckee, CA. Follow @rachelmcphotos on Instagram for stunning images of beautiful Sierra scenery. When Rachel isn’t enjoying her free time in the outdoors, she’s teaching skiing at Northstar California or building and marketing websites for her clients at McCullough Web Services.

Peak Baggin’ the Eastern Sierra Nevada

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Who: Chris Cloyd
What: Trail Running/Peak Baggin’
Where: Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter
When: Sept. 12, 2015

In mid-September Tahoe Mountain Sports Ambassador Chris Cloyd set out from the Rush Creek trailhead (37.78227°N/119.09786°W) off the June Lake Loop on the eastside of the Sierra with Bill Clements and Luke Garten for a dayshot effort on Banner Peak and Mount Ritter. Check out their day in the high Sierra!
And check out the huge selection of topo maps and guide books at Tahoe Mountain Sports for your next adventure…

Using the Rush Creek trailhead for an approach of Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter isn’t the most economical (it’s closer to start at Agnew Meadows trailhead  37.68296°N/119.09263°W out of Mammoth), but Bill, Luke and I had run the River Trail before and wanted to explore a new zone. Seeing the cable tramway up from Silver Lake, the dam at Agnew Lake and new trails was well worth the extra work.

We ascended North Glacier Pass from Thousand Island Lake and refilled our water supply at Lake Catherine. From there, we ascended just north of the glacier via rock and talus to gain the saddle between Banner and Ritter. Ascending Banner was a glorified walk up via the southwest face — and well worth it.

Views of Thousand Island Lake, Mono Lake and Garnet Lake reward your efforts. Retracing our steps to the saddle, our next challenge was the north face of Ritter. Muir waxed poetic on his ascent and our route was every bit as awesome. We utilized a chute rising from the apex of the glacier and gained the summit ridge, summiting our second peak of the day in fine style.

We opted to descend down the SE face of Ritter to Ritter Lakes to take in some new scenery, regrouped at Lake Catherine and then ran back to the trailhead retracing our route. Just under 10 hours!

Chris Cloyd is a TMS Ambassador and lover of endurance sports. When Chris isn’t training for his next big run in the mountains or out exploring the Eastern Sierra on bike, he’s managing the Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso. Watch for more race reports, gear reviews and fun reading from Chris and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Mud Lake: The Journey Was Better than the Destination

Thursday, June 25th, 2015


This post comes from Rachel McCullough, an avid hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, yogi, skier and photographer living in Truckee, CA. Follow @rachelmcphotos on Instagram for stunning images of beautiful Sierra scenery. When Rachel isn’t enjoying her free time in the outdoors, she’s teaching skiing at Northstar California or building and marketing websites for her clients at McCullough Web Services.

Who: Rachel and Garrett McCullough
What: Hiking
Where: Tahoe Rim Trail – Brockway to Mt. Rose segment
When: June 2015

Only I could think up a hike where the destination was a muddy lake that would require 23 miles of hiking. And only my husband, Garrett, would think this was a good enough idea to tag along cheerfully. 

So, it really had to be all about the journey; as is my goal of day hiking the entire Tahoe Rim Trail.

The Tahoe Rim Trail has presented a challenge to Garrett and me. Not because of the hiking itself, which seems to be the easy part, but in the logistics. Being a one car family, and the fact that no one has shown too much interest in 20-30 mile day hikes with us, shuttling is a bit difficult.

The Tahoe City to Brockway section took 4 modes of transportation to complete. We drove to Brockway, rode our bikes down to the bus stop in Kings Beach, took the bus to the trailhead in Tahoe City, walked the trail to the car, then drove back to pick up the bikes in Kings Beach! And while that seemed somewhat reasonable (except to anyone we explained this convoluted plan to, planning for the others hasn’t been as easy).

We completed the Brockway to Mt. Rose section a bit differently. Last year, we started at Mt. Rose, with our goal destination being Mud Lake, about halfway between the Brockway and Mt. Rose trailheads. We didn’t quite make it all the way, but we came close. So this particular weekend, we headed out from Brockway to tick off the remaining piece. That made our destination somewhere past Mud Lake.

So as my wise friend, Gretchen, pointed out when I hatched this plan of day-hiking from either trailhead to the middle – when we are done we’ll have hiked nearly the whole trail twice. So here’s to hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail twice, once in each direction!

Our adventure on the Brockway to Mt. Rose section began by loading up with 5 liters of water (each!) and setting out at the not-so-early hour of 8:30 from Brockway towards Martis Peak. Have I mentioned before we are not morning people?! Almost immediately, we were both drenched in sweat. Garrett asked me if the trail seemed harder than usual (we’d done the first part many times). Maybe it was all the water we were carrying to prevent getting overwhelmed by the heat.

This did not seem like the way to start 23 miles. I think the problem was that it was actually warm out. Summer temps plus some morning humidity wasn’t something we’d gotten used to yet.

The lake came in and out of view on our right side for the first several miles, until it eventually opened up so that all you could see was blue. The blue of the sky, the blue of the lake; what a gorgeous color.


One of our earlier views of Lake Tahoe. It just kept getting better.

The trail meandered and switchbacked through the forest, before eventually leading to more open and treeless terrain. We stopped for a break at the last bit of shade, not so much because we were tired, but more because we were scared of the sun-baked terrain in front of us! We might wilt! Luckily as we climbed higher, it cooled down and we got a nice afternoon breeze. Being at over 9,000 feet definitely helps.


Someone needs to go back for this photo in a couple of weeks. The yellow flowers will be gorgeous!

We joked along the way about our goal of Mud Lake. We wondered if there was even going to be water. Garrett still hasn’t let me live it down that I built up our hike to Twin Lakes on the Mt. Rose to Spooner section, only to find no water upon reaching the first lake. He claimed I was leading him on again. I started to wonder myself since we had decided on the route late the previous night and hadn’t asked around.

We agreed this was the best section of the trail so far. Views like on the Flume Trail, but without the bikes or crowds.

On the way to Mud Lake, there were a couple of tempting diversions. One was a rock outcropping with an easy climb and a lake view. Garrett reminded me that all diversions should be done on the way back. That way you know if you have enough energy to make it to the end. And he’s right! It’s easy to be excited 7 or 8 miles in! We did end up stopping for the short rock climb, but held off on Rifle Peak to see how we felt on the way back.

Then, I spent the next few miles tripping over my own feet as I forgot about the trail and stared at the lake. The most gorgeous part of the hike definitely went by the quickest.

We finally reached Mud Lake, and while it wasn’t as disappointing as one might think, it might not be the destination most people have in mind after hiking 10+ miles. But it did have water and it wasn’t muddy at all! So, we grumbled a bit about carrying a total of 10 liters of water, but oh well.


Mud Lake. It seemed clearer in person, I promise!

At this point, we figured we must be getting close to the spot we’d left off last time. So, we commenced what seemed like the longest part of the hike, which consisted of about a mile, with more uphill than perhaps we had envisioned. I say envisioned because the topo clearly showed the uphill, we just didn’t quite internalize what we saw.

We finally reached a familiar spot and were able to remember where we sat to rest and a trail that could be seen in the distance. Somehow we still questioned ourselves a bit. We couldn’t come all this way and miss a few hundred foot section in the middle! So went just a little bit further until we spotted Ginny Lake. Now we were sure. Ginny Lake is a muddy lake. Strange that the clearest lake in the area is named Mud Lake and the muddy lake is named Ginny Lake. I didn’t take long to ponder that because we started to head back and I had my sights set on Rifle Peak.


Garrett and Ginny Lake (that small puddle in the background). This was our turnaround point.

Rifle Peak is not too far off the trail, but it’s a little steep! We found another hiker at the summit who snapped our photo. Confusion ensued when we told him where we came from and how we got there. And then counted out the miles for him!


Rachel and Garrett on the summit of Rifle Peak.


Rifle Peak summit with clouds building.

We only spent a couple of minutes at the summit, wondering if the building clouds would produce any rain. It wasn’t in the forecast, but they did seem to be staying east.


Garrett descending from Rifle Peak, which is seen in the background.


More descending from Rifle Peak. No complaints about this view. Except that it made me trip over anything in my path. Too distracting!

We took our longest break of the hike right before we lost our most expansive lake view. It was hard to motivate to leave that spot, but after 10 minutes, it was go time.


Panoramic view of North Tahoe from the trail, with Garrett.


There’s me. About to trip on something as I look at Lake Tahoe, I’m sure! Good thing for hiking poles!

The final miles somehow melted away. Good conversation definitely helps. We hit the road at about 5:45pm, ready for some dinner. Our evening plans entailed walking two miles to happy hour at a friends’, putting us at 25 miles for the day. We joked we should make a lap around the neighborhood and make it a full marathon. Oh well, another time!

Tahoe Mountain Sports Gear We Used:


Adventurous Dining at the Peter Grubb Hut

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

This post comes from Guest Blogger Michelle Shea. Michelle lives in Lake Tahoe and is the host/creator of the outdoor series Adventure Dining Guide. She created Adventure Dining Guide because “food is the unrecognized hero of our journeys, and its about time backcountry meals get the recognition they deserve”. Learn  more at

Who: Chef Brian Robinson from the Clair Tappaan Lodge, cameraman Calvin Scibilla, dogs Bella and Shogun, and myself
What: Hike to Sierra Club’s Peter Grub Hut and cook lunch in the hut
Where: Tahoe National Forrest and the Clair Tappaan Lodge
When: November, 2014

This was the first official episode that I filmed for Adventure Dining Guide with a cameraman, a script and an experienced chef. I was both nervous and excited for this adventure and spent weeks making sure everything turned out as planned.


Calvin and I arrived in the morning to the Clair Tappaan Lodge to be greeted by Chef Brian and the friendly staff and volunteers who were at the lodge. We all sat down to enjoy a family style breakfast, where Calvin and I were able to hear some great stories about the lodge and its long history.


Prepping the taco meat ingredients in the Clair Tappaan kitchen


Thin Tahoe Winter Provides Us With Multi-Sport Paradise

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

TMS Ambassador Mike Tebbutt outlines all there is to do and be active in Tahoe during another low-snow winter. The following is his report on this re-imagined winter pastimes. Follow Mike on Instagram at @irontebby

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On top of Mt Baldy with Donner Party Mountain Runners for some off-trail running.

As I wrote this, Tahoe and Truckee were getting some much deserved snow!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with the lack of snowfall this winter, and scared for what this means for all of California as we are forced to fully embrace this severe drought we are in. However, the Lake Tahoe/Truckee region always provides us with the goods by which to enjoy this world-class destination. And in my 26 years of living in the area, I have seen many drought years that leave the “experts” telling you it will take several years of big winters to bring the Lake back up to capacity, only to have them contradicted by one winter with the HUGE precipitation that the Sierras are so famous for.

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Skiing at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe with my wife, Liz

This year has been an exceptional winter in that we have been able to enjoy Mt. Biking, Hiking and Trail Running all winter on the trails down low and still get some great skiing in up high. With these unique conditions, I have made it a point on several occasions to get in multi-sport days, even a couple of what I like to call “Tahoe Triathlons”. These triathlons consist of heading out early with my dog, Loosey, for a run on frozen dirt trails before the lifts open, then making my way up to Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe (which has been surprisingly good ALL winter) after breakfast for a few hours of skiing, then coming home to take Loosey out for round two and some quality “brown pow” mountain biking. I have also enjoyed some great off-piste running on the firm snow up high, as well as a handful of lift served and backcountry powder days.

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Stormy backcountry skiing with Sam Skrocke and Loosey on Mt Rose

I’ve seen many others taking advantage of the warm and calm days out on Tahoe and Donner lakes stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking, even a few brave swimmers. Others have also enjoyed some epic surf and kite surfing conditions this winter with the couple big storms that packed strong winds along with the snow.

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Mt Biking the February “brown pow”

I know we are all dreaming of bluebird and waist deep powder days, but until Mother Nature decides to bless us with those conditions, life is always good in Tahoe! While it hasn’t be waist deep this winter, we’ve still been having fun!

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Pond ice skating in Tahoe Vista!

Deuter Backpacks Shine in Yosemite

Monday, November 24th, 2014

The following trip report and gear review is brought to you by Kevin Snow of Tahoe Mountain Sports:

“I should have bought another banana,” I thought as I turned onto Highway 140, entering the Merced River Valley. I wasn’t sure how long the drive was going to take me, and I’d hastily misjudged my morning hunger level as I flew through the gas station just outside of Lee Vinning hours earlier. “I heard there’s a pizza place down there somewhere,” I remember thinking, when all of a sudden, I realized what was happening, my car slowed, and a tear came to my eye. I had just entered the Yosemite Valley and what had just come into view was one of natures’ most awe inspiring, grand, and massive gifts of beauty, towering three thousand feet above the valley floor. I stood before El Capitan, in all of its majesty, in pure astonishment, as I contemplated not only the massive geologic events it would have taken to make this gargantuan monolith, but the amount of monumental historic events for the climbing world that have taken place on its walls and in its shadow. I felt like an ant. All of a sudden the world had been pulled into perspective for me, I felt small in it, and another tear came to my eye.


The gang at the trailhead in Camp 4 in front of Midnight Lighting. The iconic bouldering problem is defined by the chalk lightning bolt in the background, and has been kept up by climbers outlining it in chalk for 3 and a half decades.


Canoeing, Fishing (sort of) and Camping at Faucherie Lake

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

This trip report comes from Robyn Embry, a local pro downhill racer living in Kings Beach, California, for the past seven years. She can be found climbing rocks and skiing powder when not enjoying life on two wheels; Fine more from Robyn at

faucherie lake camping

Faucherie Lake had been spoken of highly by several friends who spend time there yearly, and we had always thought it would be fun to check it out. It’s hard to get far away from crowds by car on a busy summer weekend, but we took a gamble figuring it was a bit out of the way and the road is quite rough. Looking for a paddle-in campsite is also a good way to avoid the masses, and gave us an advantage over the car campers.

Getting to the lake required 2 ½ hours of bouncing up rock-studded dirt roads. After nearly losing the canoe off the top and fearing the destruction of other key items, we finally reached the lake, intact. Off came the canoe and we began stuffing gear into waterproof dry bags. Though sleeping under the stars is nice, a tent seemed ideal for this trip if we intended to keep mosquitoes away. Inflatable sleeping pads went in as well, which had not been used in at least a few summers since I’ve been too busy with bike racing.

For food and kitchen we went for luxury, packing a cooler full of good eats and hauling along the old 3-burner camp stove. The canoe should still stay afloat, and it would be worth carrying the weight since the paddle to camp is short. It might be ideal to pack lighter for a longer trip on a river or larger lake, bringing a backpacking stove and maybe some dehydrated camp meals, though the advantage of a canoe is being able to carry a fair amount more than would comfortably fit in a backpack. We did, however, pack a water filter instead of lugging in a full jug. After all, we were camping near a pretty decent water source.

campsites faucherie lake

Upon launching the canoe, (more…)

30 Hikes in 30 Days in the Lake Tahoe Basin: Round 2

Thursday, August 28th, 2014


TMS Ambassador Justeen Ferguson aka @SummitHunnies tackled a major pedi-project this summer. She hiked a new trail in the greater Lake Tahoe area each day for 30 days and reported back to us with details. Most were family-friendly. Some involved 4WD roads, some were strictly singletrack, and several were straight-up bushwhacks. Here are the second ten descriptions of her 30 hikes. Catch up on the first ten here, and stay tuned for the final ten, coming soon to your favorite outdoor sports blog.

What: #11 – 20, 30 Tahoe Day Hikes in 30 Days
When: July- August, 2014
Gear Used (and sworn by):
Lake Tahoe Basin Adventure Map, Lightweight Women’s Hiking Shoes,Eco-Friendly “Soft” Water Bottle, Organic Trail Snacks

*Take this information and use it as you will. Tahoe Mountain Sports is not responsible for accident, injury, or anyone getting lost trying to replicate this Summit Hunnie’s routes.

Day 11 – Coyote Mountain aka Cowboy Peak
Right in the heart of Meyers lays a nice little mountain; I went into this thinking, Oh, piece of cake. I’ll get a nice hike in before work. I was so wrong! This trail starts behind the Humane Society and practically goes straight up, and the trail back down is also really steep. Once you are covered in sweat and your legs are on fire, there is a wonderful view of South Lake Tahoe and Echo Summit. This hike is recommended for someone who wants a quick yet fulfilling workout.













Day 12 – Desolation Wilderness behind Fallen Leaf Lake
The trailhead is located on the southern end of Fallen Leaf Lake, the same trail used to get out to Grass Lake from Day 1 of my 30 Tahoe Hikes. This route takes you out and back over a beautiful bridge and alongside some amazing mountains. You’re given a number of route options: continue traversing along the mountain side, make your way even further out toward a variety of lakes, or, if you are up for it, eventually make your way to the top of Mount Tallac. It’s a perfect place for all levels and abilities because hikers can decide how strenuous they want their hike to be. It is beautifully covered with both trees and wild flowers, and has great views of Fallen Leaf Lake.

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Day 13 – Back of Dunlap Mountain
This trail is a trip! I accidently stumbled upon it on my way to Angora Lake. The beginning of the trail is just before the main gate to Angora Road. It’s a singletrack that takes you the opposite way of Angora, along the backside of Tahoe Mountain (from day 10) and all the way down to the infamous Camp Richardson. This is an easy hike, great for trail running or beginning mountain bikers, and ideal for walking the dogs. There is also a lovely view of Tallac almost the entire way. Beware of fallen trees…there’s some mandatory log-hopping but it’s a lot of fun!













Day 14 – Big Chief
This amazing rock/mountain trail is near the town of Truckee. It’s a perfect little hike that leads to the Big Chief climbing area [link to big chief climbing Tahoe Info page] where we stopped to do some rock climbing! I like this hike because the trek out isn’t too tough and there are some rad trees and amazing rock formations to gander at. If you’re not a rock climber you can still enjoy the beauty of this cool rock! Try playfully climbing around and up the back of it to enjoy the view from the top! There are trails that take you beyond the Big Chief climbing area and out toward the woods with pretty views of the mountain ranges. The area has a very relaxing feel and is great for all abilities of hikers, bikers and trail runners. However, if you want to be adventurous and climb Big Chief, I highly recommend finding a buddy and making it happen. It makes the hike that much more rewarding!

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Day 15 – Five Lakes
The Five Lakes trail starts on Alpine Meadows Road and winds its way between the Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley ski resorts, providing wonderful scenery the entire time. (more…)

30 Hikes in 30 Days in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Round 1

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

tunnel creek trail hike lake tahoe

TMS Ambassador Justeen Ferguson aka @SummitHunnies is tackling a major pedi-project this summer. She’s hiking a new trail in the greater Lake Tahoe area each day and reporting back to us with details. Most are family-friendly. Some involve 4WD roads, some are strictly singletrack, and several are straight-up bushwhacks. Here are her first ten hikes. Stay tuned for twenty more.

What: #1-10, 30 Tahoe Day Hikes in 30 Days
When: July-August, 2014
Gear Used (and sworn by):
Lake Tahoe Basin Adventure Map, Comfortable Hiking Shoes, Kiss My Face Sunscreen, Deet-Free Bug Repellent

*Take this information and use it as you will. Tahoe Mountain Sports is not responsible for accident, injury, or anyone getting lost trying to replicate this Summit Hunnie’s routes. 

Day 1 – Grass Lake
Grass Lake is located near South Lake Tahoe. This trail starts at Fallen Leaf Lake and winds out through Desolation Wilderness, passing a variety of waterfalls, streams, and swimming holes along the way. This is a mild hike that the entire family can enjoy. The trail varies from dirt to some granite and has a few spots where stream jumping becomes necessary (nothing too large, however). This hike provides spectacular views of different mountains and meadows and plenty of wild flowers. Once you get to Grass Lake, the views get even better. You can hop in and cool off, have a picnic and even camp out if you’re willing to brave the wilderness overnight! It’s an easy hike for just about anyone!

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Day 2 – Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls is located on the West Shore and sits above the infamous Emerald Bay. This is one of the shortest hikes in the basin. It is perfect for the novice hiker, but when you reach the falls the adventure does not have to stop. There are plenty of trails that leave from here and take you to the top of nearby peaks, or farther out into Desolation Wilderness. This is one of those hikes that can be as hard or as easy as you make it. Once you get to the falls, there is an amazing view overlooking both Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe. Perfect for hikers of all ages and abilities.

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Day 3 – Heavenly Ski Resort- Roundabout Trail
Heavenly Ski Resort is most famous for its wintertime fun. However, the ski slopes provide for excellent hiking in the off-season. This round-about trail starts at the base of Heavenly and winds its way up the mountain to the top of the resort, overlooking the Double Black Diamond runs Gunbarrel and The Face, and an amazing view of Lake Tahoe. This trail provides a bit of a challenge as it is uphill the entire way, but the way down is all downhill! The other good news is the views of South Lake Tahoe help ease the leg pain as you make your way to the top! So would having some poles made for hiking, if you have any. This hike is recommended for those who hike some, but by no means do you need to to be an expert. It’s fun to get out and see the resort when it’s not covered in snow!

heavenly roundabout trail sunset

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Day 4 – Corral Loop, Power line & Big Meadow
These trails are in South Lake Tahoe and start way back out in Meyers off of Pioneer trail. They are mostly used for mountain biking, but also make for excellent day hikes. There are so many ways to go from the trailhead so you can easily use the beginning for multiple routes. Its pretty soft and sand so it makes the down hills a bit tricky but there are a few spots where the lake peeks out and the tedious up hills become worth it! If you choose you can even make it to heavenly ski resort! Although you’re allowed to hike these trails, keep your eyes and ears open for mountain bikers flying downhill.

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Day 5 – Shakespeare Rock
Shakespeare Rock is on Tahoe’s northeast shore, near Glenbrook. This is an amazing, must-do hike! Not only does the peak resemble Shakespeare, but there is a miraculous cave that leads out to an incredible view of the east side of the lake. It is a challenge to get to the top because it goes practically straight up the mountain, but the cave itself makes it worth the trek and the view from the top is breathtaking. This is easily one of my favorite hikes in the Lake Tahoe Basin. You’ll find little-to-no people on this trail (many locals don’t even know about it), and it’s the perfect hike for sunset as the sun disappears behind the West Shore; you have the best seats on the lake for viewing.

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Things To Do In Lake Tahoe: The Best Trails and Classic Day Hikes

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

This guest post comes from Lauren Gregg, a professional mountain biker living in North Lake Tahoe. When Lauren’s not working on, or dreaming about mountain bikes, she’s out exploring the trails in the greater Tahoe region. Happy trails, Lauren. We hope your knee heals quickly!


Lake Tahoe day hikes are a great way to experience the Tahoe area. From quick picnics to half-day or full day adventures, there are many options for people seeking trails with beautiful scenery, picturesque mountain lakes and spectacular views. There are few better ways to spend a Tahoe summer day than with a hike to an alpine lake! The Tahoe region has an endless amount of awesome hiking trails, but here are highlights from some of the best Tahoe hikes that are not to be missed! Stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports to pick up a Tahoe Trail Map and any gear you may need before your adventure, making sure you are prepared with means for hydration and nutrition, and that you apply sunscreen and suit up with proper hiking shoes and apparel. Once you are all geared up, enjoy one of these classic Tahoe hikes!

Echo Lakes Hiking Trail

Echo Lakes Trail
This trail offers a beautiful hike with stunning views of alpine mountains and lakes. The trailhead begins at the Echo Lakes Resort and is one of the most popular entry points to Desolation Wilderness. Hikers can follow the trail out and back for a total distance of five miles, or can cut off about 2.5 miles by utilizing the water taxi service ($10 per person, $5 per dog) for a fun and scenic boat ride through the granite basin of Echo Lakes. Both Upper and Lower Echo Lake (which connect at a narrow channel) provide awe-inspiring views and relative solitude as well as great swimming in the summer! If hikers are feeling adventurous, they can continue further into the Desolation Wilderness to Lake Aloha and Rockbound Valley, both popular destinations.



Skunk Harbor
Accessing Skunk Harbor requires a short hike down to a secluded bay on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore. Hikers journey 1.5 miles down from the trailhead to the beach at Skunk Harbor where they can explore the remains of the Newell House, a summer home built in 1922. The view of Lake Tahoe from the tiny harbor is the main attraction of this hike, and huge boulders and the remains of an old pier add to the scenery. Skunk Harbor is the perfect place for a summer swim or picnic, especially as a detour during a bike ride on the Flume Trail or around the perimeter of the lake.



Five Lakes Trail
This easily accessible trail nestled in the foothills of the Granite Chief Wilderness brings hikers through the north side of the Alpine Meadows valleys to the gorgeous Five Lakes Basin. This hike is roughly 4-5 miles out-and-back to the five beautiful lakes between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. This hike is very popular, however the lakes provide many areas of solitude and serenity. Adventurous hikers can continue beyond Five Lakes and into the Granite Chief Wilderness, picking up the Pacific Crest Trail shortly past the lakes.


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