Best Hikes: Lake Tahoe, CA

If the pristine beaches and clear waters weren’t enough for you, and you want a change from the nightlife and casinos of the South shore, there are plenty of ways to further enjoy the tranquility of the Lake Tahoe region on two feet. We’ve explored and reviewed the best hiking trails around Lake Tahoe, from alpine lakes and snowshoeing around historic events to climbing the highest peaks in the region.

Please remember to take things easy up here in Lake Tahoe, which begins at an elevation above 6,000 feet and many of the trails we cover here ascend even higher. Planning for these conditions is very easy however - just remember to pack plenty of water and allow for plenty of time as you adjust to the altitude.

Listed below are our favorite hikes around Lake Tahoe. Since the area is so large, we’ve broken them up geographically. If you’re visiting from points West – like San Francisco and Sacramento – you want to take Interstate 80 to reach the trails in North Lake Tahoe and the quieter US 50 to reach the Southern trails. Both are a great drive.

North Lake Tahoe:
Castle Peak – 5 star hike | 3.5 miles | Hard
Donner Memorial State Park – 4 star hike | 3.5 miles | Easy
Donner Peak and Mount Judah – 5 star hike | 5.5 miles | Medium
Five Lakes, Granite Chief Wilderness – 4 star hike | 4 miles | Medium
Loch Leven Lakes – 4 star hike | 8 miles | Medium
Mount Rose – 4 star hike | 10 miles | Medium

Alpine lakes on the Loch Leven trail.

South Lake Tahoe:
Echo Lakes and Desolation Wilderness – 4 star hike | 6 mile | Easy
Horsetail Falls and Pyramid Creek – 5 star hike | 3 miles | Medium
Mount Ralston – 3 star hike | 7 mile | Hard
Mount Tallac – 5 star hike | 9.5 miles | Hard
The Potholes at Silver Lake – 5 star hike | 1.5 miles | Easy
Round Top, Carson Pass – 4 star hike | 6.5 miles | Medium

Wildflowers and distant mountains from the Mount Tallac trail.

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