Area: Tahoe
Distance: 4 miles
Type: Out & back
Difficulty: Medium
Elevation gain: 900ft (from 6,600 - 7,500ft)

Nestled in the foothills of the Granite Chief Wilderness peaks just north of Lake Tahoe, the Five Lakes promise dramatic yet tranquil surroundings, a place to relax, fish or swim.

The hike starts out at the junction of Alpine Meadows Rd and Deer Park Rd, rises gently towards the Five Lakes plateau and up the side of KT22 peak through expanses of exposed granite and jagged volcanic rock.

The two mile trail maintains little more than a slight incline, but still gains nine hundred feet of elevation before reaching the lakes. On the warmest Tahoe days this trail lacks a great deal of shade, but the lakes themselves provide plenty of cover from the sun and opportunities to cool off in the waters.

A four mile hike takes you to the lakes and back, but if you want to explore the lakes themselves, add another mile or so. Trails exist between all the lakes, making them nicely accessible. Bugs weren’t a big problem when we visited on a warm September day, but we always recommend carrying insect repellent just in case.

By summer when the snow has retreated, the Five Lakes Trail is one of the easiest and most accessible hikes in the Granite Chief Wilderness so don’t expect to have this trail to yourself. Don’t be disheartened if the trail is busy however, as the lakes themselves allow for plenty of chances for quiet and solitude.

- Trailspotting Images: Five Lakes on Flickr

Top Trails Lake Tahoe: Must-do Hikes for Everyone by Mike White