The Lake Tahoe-Truckee area encompasses almost half a dozen wilderness areas and national forests and countless acres of forest. Hiking is a fun and easy way to explore Tahoe and see all the different environments it has to offer, from dense forest to sandy, granite-lined paths.
Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails
Shirley Canyon: This trail will bring you from the base of Squaw Valley to its summit. You start out following Squaw Creek as you climb through the forest, until you reach the open expanse of a granite-filled canyon that will lead you to the backside of the mountain. The hike is long, but gives hikers a stunning view of Olympic Valley and all of the hidden wonders Squaw Valley has to offer. At the top, ride the aerial tram down from High Camp, to give your feet a rest and get a bird’s eye view of the canyon you just hiked through.
Five Lakes: This trail brings hikers into the Granite Chief Wilderness area, close to where the famous Pacific Crest Trail crosses through Tahoe. Starting right off the main road in Alpine Meadows, the trailhead is hard to miss. While you hike through an arid area to start, you eventually hit the shade-lined trail which leads you to the trail’s eponymous lakes. Pack a picnic and enjoy the solitude.
Eagle Lake: Emerald Bay is a must-see on any trip to Lake Tahoe, but there’s more than just the bay to take in at this trailhead. Start off on the trail towards Desolation Wilderness, and after a few miles of gradual climb you’ll reach Eagle Lake, a stunning alpine lake nestled between craggy rock faces. It’s a great place to cool off on a hot summer day.
Castle Peak: This is one of the most popular hikes in Truckee, and for good reason. A less than 3-mile trek will bring you to the peak, overlooking the Sierras. The last portion of the hike to the summit is a rock scramble, so be ready to get your hands dirty. Because of its steep climb at the finish this hike is not recommended for families with young children.
Rubicon Trail: This hike leads you right along the edge of the aquamarine shores of Lake Tahoe, from D.L. Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay. Stop by the Vikingsholm, a sprawling estate on the beach of Emerald Bay that has stood for almost 90 years. The intricate Scandinavian design lends an eerie element to the property.
Eagle Rock: this is the “most bang for your buck” hike in Tahoe. From the road, you can’t miss this volcanic outcropping on the West Shore. Walk just a mile to the top, and you’ll be greeted by an uninterrupted panoramic view of Lake Tahoe