Popular Short Hikes - Hiking in Lake Tahoe

Weather conditions can change rapidly. Trails may be under snow in some areas, especially in late Spring. Be prepared  with proper clothing and equipment, no matter how short the hike. Backcountry users need to obtain a VISITORS PERMIT for any hike into desolation wilderness, obtainable at the Forest Service Office.
Eagle Falls / Eagle Lake

This trail starts at Eagle Falls Picnic Area, highway 89 across from Emerald Bay. Permits are required on this hike and a self-registration station is at the trailhead. The hike is only about 2 miles round trip to Eagle Lake (only about 1/3 mile to the falls); the terrain varies from steep to flat and crosses beautiful Eagle Falls on a steel footbridge.

Emerald Bay - Vikingsholm

Trail starts at the parking area on the north side of Emerald Bay, on Highway 89. It's a wide, well-maintained trail, but fairly steep, about 2½ miles round trip. At the bottom of the trail is a picnic area, as well as world-famous Vikingsholm, a replica of a Scandinavian castle.

Glacier Meadow Loop

A very short, self-guided nature trail that begins and ends at the Eastbound I-80 rest stop on Donner Summit. This is a relaxing stroll with signs along the trail explaining how glacial action carved and polished the area.

Loch Leven Lakes

Three beautiful glacial tarns make up the Loch Leven group. A well-graded trail climbs 3 miles to the first lake and then reaches two more in the next few miles. The island-dotted lakes are beautiful and excellent for swimming. Trailhead: Big Bend Exit off I-80. The parking lot is 1/8 mile east of the Visitor Center. A good hike if you're headed for Sacramento or the Bay Area at day's end.

Lower Lola Montez Lake

From I-80 west of Truckee, take the Soda Springs exit. Make two quick rights, passing the fire station, to the trailhead and parking area. Follow the trail north until you come to a road that will take you across Castle Creek (may cause some wet feet in springtime). Follow road about ½ mile to a trail which veers to the right. Another ½ mile ahead, the trail rejoins the road. Continue climbing on the road about 1 mile until you reach a flat, open meadow where the road ends. The trail begins in the meadow but may be difficult to follow due to overgrowth. At the fork in the meadow, bear right to go to the lake, which is about ½ mile ahead. There are campsites and fishing. This is an easy 6-mile round-trip hike. Much of the trail is on private property; hikers are requested to stay on the trail and observe the rights of landowners.

Marlette Lake

Trail starts near Spooner Lake Picnic Area, at the junction of Highway 28 and 50, Nevada (green metal gate on east side of 28). It's about 5 miles each way to the lake but it's mostly mild terrain (one full day will do it). Years ago, its water was diverted to Incline Village via flume and used to shoot logs through a tunnel to Washoe Valley for use in the Virginia City mines. (no fishing.)

Rubicon Trail

This shoreline route starts in D. L. Bliss State Park, about 13 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89. The trail has moderate ups and downs, following an undeveloped portion of Lake Tahoe's shoreline for about 3 miles to the mouth of Emerald Bay. From there it follows the Bay shoreline another One ½ - Two miles to Vikingsholm. (NOTE: Vikingsholm up to Highway 89 us a steep mile but the hearty can return along the highway instead of doubling back on the trail.) Handicap accommodations are available with advance reservation. State Park fee: $5 per vehicle. No dogs are allowed on the trails in state parks. Call (530) 525-7077 for information.

Shirley Lake

It's in Squaw Valley and the trail starts at the end of Squaw Peak Road. (There are numerous trails which follow the creek up to Shirley Lake; this is one of them.) It follows Squaw Creek about 2½ miles each way to Shirley Lake, passing gorgeous waterfalls and canyon boulders. (Top of tram to Shirley Lake adds considerable distance.) Going uphill, stay to the left of the creek; going downhill, stay to the right. The trail diverges and disappears at times but just keep following the creek and you'll get there. Carry water. The hike is somewhat difficult and takes 2½ - 3 hours. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes.

Summit Lake

From I80 take Donner Summit Rest Area exit and park. Just beyond the picnic tables behind the building are trail signs for Summit and some longer trails.

Tunnel Creek Station

Trail road starts at Nevada Highway 28, across from Hidden Beach, about 1 mile past Ponderosa Ranch (no sign, look for gate). A steep trail road, about 1½ miles each way, at the ruins of the western portal of the old log flume tunnel. Limited parking along Highway 28.


Restaurants Tahoe's Best Travel Info

Restaurant Info

Price Range:


Cascades at Squaw Creek Offers Gourmet Breakfast And Dinner Buffets

Address: 400 Squaw Creek Road Olympic Valley, CA 96146
Squaw Valley

Price Range:

Visit Mountain Pizzeria at Squaw Creek for Delicious Italian Cuisine
Address: 400 Squaw Creek Rd Olympic Valley, CA 96146
Squaw Valley

Price Range:


Six Peaks Grille at Squaw Creek Is A Lake Tahoe Favorite for Fine Dining

Address: 400 Squaw Creek Rd Olympic Valley, CA 96146

Heavenly's Tahoe Vista Hiking Trail

Interpretive Guided Hikes Begin Saturday, July 4th. Guided Hikes depart daily from the Top of the Tram sun deck.


Tram Hours: 10:00am to 9:00pm
Trail Hours: 11:00am to 6:00pm
Guided Hikes: 11:00am & 1:00pm

Ticket Prices: Adults - $12.00,
Children (12 & under) - $7.50

Squaw Valley USA Hiking Trails

Hike with care on trails that are easy, to trails that are not.

Help us maintain the natural environment by staying on designated trails and roads. While hiking on roads and trails, keep an eye out for maintenance vehicles, mountain bikers, and other hikers.

There are hazards that require you to be alert and vigilant. Use common sense when hiking and follow the tips listed below:

  • Hiking is restricted to designated roads and trails only . Stay out of
    construction areas.
  • Observe all signs and hike on marked trails only. Do not cut switchbacks.
    In case of an emergency, please dial 0 from a phone at the base of our lifts or have any Squaw Valley team member contact an EMT.
  • Carry adequate clothing. Mountain weather and temperatures can change
    dramatically in a short time. Use sunscreen for protection from the high
    altitude sun.
  • Carry food and an ample supply of drinking water. Wear sturdy shoes. Many of the trails traverse rugged terrain. Stay off chairlifts and towers. During our summer maintenance, lifts may be started without warning.
  • NO smoking, please. The fire danger in this area is extreme.
  • Seek shelter during thunderstorms. Stay off ridge tops and away from tall
    trees, lift towers, and large rock outcroppings, as they attract lightning strikes.

Easy To Moderate

  • These hikes can be enjoyed by families, but they do involve some uphill walking.
    High Camp to top terminal of Newport Chair (approximately 1.5 miles). 460'
    elevation gain and a view of the valley below and the Palisades, a favorite cliff for extreme skiers.
  • High Camp to top of terminal of Gold Coast Chair (approximately 1 mile).
    High Camp Loop (approximately 1 mile). 150' elevation gain to the top of the
    Links Chair and back to High Camp around our wintertime beginners' ski area.

Moderate to Difficult Hikes

  • High Camp to the top terminal of Emigrant Chair (approximately 1.5 miles).
    500' elevation gain with a 360 degree view from the top. The historic Watson
    Monument is located at the top and to the left of the chairlift.
  • High Camp to the top terminal of Siberia Express (approximately 1.8 miles). 600' elevation gain with a view of the Granite Chief Wilderness and Squaw Valley below.
  • High Camp to Shirley Lake (approximately 1 mile.) Most of this hike is downhill on a dirt road. There are some steep areas on the road and hikers must be prepared to hike back uphill to return to the Cable Car for a ride to the base area.
  • High Camp to Shirley Lake, then down Shirley Canyon (approximately 4 miles). This is a beautiful half day hike. There are some steep pitches to negotiate. Hiking boots are strongly recommended. The trail can be difficult to see in some areas. However, if you keep the creek on your left side and follow it down, you will arrive at the base of the mountain. Squaw Valley Ski Corporation may start improvements to the trails in Shirley Canyon as early as August(1997). The 1-2 month long project is targeted at making the trails easier to use, minimizing erosion, and improving the scenic beauty. The project has been in the works since 1992 and is overseen by the US Forest Services. It is expected to cost $30,000.

Things to Do Tahoe's Best Travel Info

Activity Info
South Shore (CA)

Fantastically Fun Lake Tahoe Fishing Charters

Address: 900 Ski Run Blvd Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

All Summer Rafting close to Lake Tahoe!

Address: 10068 Hirschdale Rd. Truckee, CA 96161
North Shore (NV) / Incline & Crystal Bay
Teaching You To Ride Like A Champ! Open seasonally.
Address: P.O. Box 4267 Incline Village, NV 89450