Top 5 South Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails

mother hiking with baby in backpack

Here at Camp Rich, we’re no more than 10-20 minutes from five of the best South Lake Tahoe hiking trails. And when we say best, we mean the world-famous kind of best—the types of trails that always seem to make their way to the top of most people’s must-do lists. That said, we thought it our due diligence to give you the lowdown on these five epic uphills—ranging from beginner to expert.

#1 Mount Tallac Trail

view from mount tallac lake tahoe hiking trail

View from the beginning of Mount Tallac Trail as you begin your ascent (photo courtesy of Martin Hapl, flickr)

Often referred to as “the best hike in Tahoe,” the Mount Tallac Trail winds through some of the most breathtaking alpine scenery this side of the Pacific. At its summit, hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Tahoe, and the expansive Desolation Wilderness. This hike is on the tougher side, and it can be subject to rapidly changing weather conditions. So head out prepared.

For more info, check out the Mount Tallac Trail U.S. Forest Service page.

#2 Van Sickle Bi-State Park

Van Sickle Bi-State Park

View at Van Sickle Bi-State Park (photo courtesy of Nevada State Parks)

This fantastic set of hiking trails is just a quick jaunt from Stateline, Nevada, and is within Van Sickle Bi-State Park, one of the Tahoe Basin’s most accessible recreation areas. As the name suggests, this park’s trails take you through both California and Nevada. And trail difficulty ranges from easy to moderate, making it a great option for families. The coolest thing about Van Sickle is that it offers a  connector to the Tahoe Rim Trail, named one of the nation’s top ten trails by National Geographic Adventure magazine.

For more info, visit the Van Sickle Bi-State Park Nevada State Parks page.

#3 Eagle Lake Trail

little boys lake tahoe hiking

The Eagle Lake Falls hike is a family favorite (photo courtesy of Ian Kennedy, flickr)

This hike is, hands-down, the best South Tahoe hiking trail for kiddos. While it is decently steep, the distance is reasonable, at under two miles round trip. The best part of the Eagle Lake Falls hike is the epic reward at the top (the falls and the lake, of course). Ask just about any kid, and they’ll tell you the water’s chilly, but the swimming’s great! Another favorite surprise on this hike is a super cool pathway of stairs that are cut right into the granite mountainside.

Check out this Eagle Lake Trail blog post on TahoeSouth.com for more details.

#4 Fallen Leaf Lake Road

man walking along fallen leaf lake shore

Fallen Leaf Lake Road leads visitors to a hidden gem of the Sierra (photo courtesy of Johnathan, flickr)

Located just off Highway 89 near Camp Richardson, Fallen Leaf Lake is one of our nearest and dearest sets of trails. Depending upon your destination, you’ll enjoy a pleasant walk around Fallen Leaf Lake, to wonderful views of Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf and Angora Lakes, and all the oohs and aahs in-between. Hikers can choose from several trails ranging from easy to challenging.

For more info, take a look at this Fallen Leaf Lake post on TahoeSouth.com.

#5 Cascade Falls Trail

view of emerald bay from cascade falls lake tahoe hiking trail

View of Cascade Lake (and Tahoe in the background) from Cascade Falls Trail (photo courtesy of ray_explores, flickr)

Last but certainly not least is best-trail number five—Cascade Falls. Offering up awe-inspiring views of Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay, this trail is considered one of the most awesome short hikes in Tahoe. At only 1.5 miles round trip, the trail boasts big rewards at the top, with expansive views of Cascade Lake, Lake Tahoe, and, of course, 200 feet of roaring falls to take away what little breath you have left (trust us: it’s worth it).

You can get more Cascade Falls Trail info on TahoeSouth.com.

Takeaway

Before you head out on your top-five hike, stop by our onsite Mountain Sports Center. Here, you can pick up maps and guidebooks and even rent bikes or snowshoes and cross-country skis, depending on the season. Also, be sure to download this awesome Forest Service trail map PDF, which includes info about all the above trails and more!

Happy hiking!