The Best Hikes in Tahoe USA

The Lake Tahoe region is one of the world’s most infamously gorgeous places. It offers some of the best opportunities for leisure and adventure available in the United States. The region comprises primarily of North and South Tahoe. The region is riddled all along the way by small towns and cities that split between the states of Nevada and California. It’s an undoubtedly breathtaking region, and one that invites awe as much as it does hikers. What is it about the region that makes it a great place to go hiking? We have created a list of some of the Best Hikes in Tahoe. It is something of a regional tradition there, made prominently interesting by the 48 different hiking trails that can be found and conquered.

Best hikes in Lake Tahoe view of colorful water with trees and mountains in the background
Best Hikes in Tahoe

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These hikes are all varied in difficulty, serving as a great experience for both beginners and experts in the hobby – the shortest trail is about 1.2 miles, and the longest is 18.5. This alone ensures you a pleasant time hiking in Lake Tahoe, but which hike is the best of them all?

The best hikes in Lake Tahoe are often debated by those who’ve been through the region themselves. The answers will often depend on what part of the journey was best for you. It may be the sights and sounds of nature, the pleasantness of the walk, or the overall workout. When it comes to general opinion, the consensus tends to agree that among the best trails up Lake Tahoe is the Rubicon Peak Trail.

Places to Stay while Hiking in Lake Tahoe

List of Best Hikes in Tahoe

1. Rubicon Peak Trail

Length: 3.5 miles

Difficulty: Hard

hiking in Lake Tahoe view from Rubicon Peak Trail rock outcropping

In terms of length, you’ll find that this trail is no more than 3.5 miles long. It is often rated as ‘difficult’ so some basic experience in hiking is recommended at the very least. Along the ways of this long walk, you’ll find it to be so well-praised and adored by many who pass by the mountain in large part thanks to the breathtaking views all along the way. Out of all the trails around Lake Tahoe, this one is known to be among the most blissful for the brevity of its length. It definitely has some spectacular sights of nature that just can’t be missed. 

As for the height, near to the end of the trail you’ll find yourself having climbed up as much as 2,000 feet. Luckily enough, nearer to the end of the trail, you’ll find the trail having become much easier as well. It straightens out somewhat and grows less steep. Although, you’ll find that the last 20-30 yards will be the steepest, so it’s worth remembering that and saving up some energy! Stopping for a break just before conquering the peak is always a good idea, and that goes for most peak trails.

You can find the trailhead near The Tahoma and the D. L. Bliss State Park. Overall, it’s a scenic route that provides some challenge and shouldn’t be missed by any circumstance by the more experienced travelers. It’s by far one of the best hikes in Tahoe.

2. Eagle Falls to Eagle Lake Trail

Length: 2.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Best Hikes in Lake Tahoe view from Eagle Falls with lake in the background

The trip from Eagle Falls to Eagle lake is a highly gorgeous one, as with most trails on this list. The length rounds to about 2.5 miles in total. You can tell this one is particularly popular, by the fact that it’s among the busiest trails in Lake Tahoe! The general shortness of the trail, however, combined with the ease of it are what makes it so attractive to many hikers (beginners included).

Not to say that it doesn’t provide some challenge, as you’ll find yourself ascending to the total height of about 400 feet in less than a mile of travel. This can be daunting to the totally unprepared. However, the scenery and steadiness of the climb make it all very much worth the effort, and make for a memorable trip. 

The trailhead is found approximately 8 miles from Tahoe Lake, at the Eagle Falls Picnic Area, and it’s likely that your biggest challenge here will be finding any parking space. Overall, this is one of the more family-friendly routes on which to go hiking in Lake Tahoe, as you’ll find yourself enjoying it as much as you find it challenging. 

3. Skyline Hike

Length: 2 miles

Difficulty: Medium

Hikes in Tahoe Skyline Trail viewpoint of lake

Yet another popular hike, particularly during the Summertime, but for good reason. This hike is approximately 2 miles long in total, over the course of which you’ll be stunned by constant and often dramatic views of Lake Tahoe. This makes for one of the most scenic ascents up any of the trails by far. 

Though it is only two miles long, it is also one of the hikes that you’ll find to be of the highest elevations at 6,240 feet. Despite this, it’s not overly strenuous as you’ll need to access it via a lift. This alone provides enough scenic beauty and wonder on the way up to satisfy you for a day of natural curiosity. The Skyline trail hike is wonderful enough on its own, but it also serves as a good means through which to access other high trails, such as the Tahoe Rim Trail.

You’ll need to access the Heavenly Ski Resort Gondola to be taken up to the beginning of the Skyline trail, found at the Heavenly Village. Overall, this is one of the more beautiful trails. It’s also a great opportunity to ride a sky gondola if you’ve never done so before. You don’t need to be an expert, but some minimal experience is recommended.

4. Cascade Falls Trail

Length: 1.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Best hiking in Lake Tahoe cascade falls view from the falls with lake in the background

This is the sort of trail that you’re bound to find in just about every list detailing the best hikes in Lake Tahoe. With a length of about 1.4 miles, it’s one of the shortest trails available. It is made only slightly trickier by the rocky paths you’ll be walking across throughout most of the journey. What makes it such an attractive trail is of course its destination – the gorgeous waterfalls of Cascade Lake. 

The highest point along this trail is at about 6,932 feet, which may make it tiring if you haven’t yet gotten used to higher elevations. However, you won’t be ascending by much more than 350 feet along the entirety of the journey. 

There are fewer options better than this one when planning out your schedule for hiking in Lake Tahoe. You’ll find the trailhead 8 miles North of South Lake Tahoe, in the Bayview Campground, off Highway 89. It makes for a good family trip, as well as an excellent trail for photography. Not overly difficult, though it may be trickier for children.

5. Fallen Leaf Trail

Length: 1-2.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Best hikes in Tahoe Fallen Leaf trail view from lookout with lake and trees in the background

If you’re looking for something closer to totally family-friendly? Then there’s no doubt that the Fallen Leaf Trail is a much better option. This one is defined as such due to the fact that it’s either a 2.5-mile round trip, or a 1-mile trip if you just want to go along to see the lake. This makes it a much easier hike for those that are looking to have a more pleasant hike on Lake Tahoe, rather than a challenge.

The elevation here isn’t overly laborious either, given that it’s at 6,427 feet. The ground is fairly level throughout the walk as well, making this one of the most peaceful hiking trails in Lake Tahoe. There’s no end to the marvelous views of Mt. Tallac and the Desolation Wilderness, making this trip entirely worthwhile even for experts.

You’ll find the trailhead to be at the Fallen Leaf Campground, in South Lake Tahoe. Overall, this is the best option for a family-friendly trip, if what you seek has more to do with a leisurely hike in a breathtaking environment. Though there’s still some minor challenge to the whole affair, there’s no way you’ll find yourself struggling in a way that could be described as dramatic.

These trails open up an immeasurable amount of opportunities for hikers and climbers. They may even give birth to new enthusiasts of the activity. Though there’s wide debate regarding which of all the many trails of Lake Tahoe is the best, there’s no doubt that the ones listed here are memorable enough on their own to warrant a place in everyone’s experience. If you haven’t yet considered hiking in Lake Tahoe, now’s the time to put it through some serious thought. There’s no better satisfaction to be had than on these – the best hikes in Tahoe.

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