travel, writing

Tahoe – Three Great Hikes

Inspired from a trip in 2013

In 2013, I found myself in Lake Tahoe for the second time in my life. It was late April, the low season. Snow could be seen on the ground, but had mostly melted away. The temperatures were comfortable to cool most days.

We stayed in an old resort located right on Lake Tahoe with a beautiful view of the pristine blue lake. During our stay, we found our way on three separate hikes.

Fallen Leaf Lake

We parked in a grassy parking area near one of several paths to Fallen Leaf Lake on Fallen Leaf Lake Rd., off Emerald Bay Rd.

The trail was very visible. On this trip, the trail we took was dry and fairly easy. We found our way through a wooded area and a few small switchbacks at the small rise which surrounds the lake. The path wound around the east side of the lake. Once you arrive over the rise, there is a 4.1 mile loop around the lake. We only walked part of this area during our hike.

The photo below I took when we arrived at the lake shore. Funny thing….when I went to frame it at home, the frame had an almost identical photo. Guess this is a popular picture spot!

A view of Mt. Tallac from Fallen Leaf Lake

Two fallen trees right along the lake shore provided us the perfect picnic spot to enjoy our lunch before heading back to the car. We encountered several large fallen trees during our hike. Most had sections sawed out to ease the hike. Based on another trip, the trail can be very wet depending on snow melt and the time of year, so I recommend waterproof boots.

Cascade Falls

Our second hike of the trip was up to Cascade Falls, above Emerald Bay. We parked along Emerald Bay Road, just outside the gates of the camping area, which was not yet open for the season. The trail starts just inside the Bayview Camping area with options to go to the falls or to Desolation Wilderness.

This trail was higher in the range and quite craggy. The distance was a short 1.4 miles out and back and is rated as moderate. I enjoyed the hike, but was thankful to actually have on hiking boots instead of sneakers. Spots on the trail were only wide enough for one person and there were some steep drop-offs. But the view was spectacular. We were able to walk to a flat spot above the falls where we could see the water fall away.

Cascade Falls

From the top, you could see out over Cascade Lake. The light shimmered on the water and one could easily get lost in thought among the tranquility of the location. On the way back, we saw a couple families also making their way along the path. One lady even had a stroller, but did appear to have a difficult time navigating the rocky area.

Big Meadow

Our third hike was further away from Lake Tahoe, Big Meadow via Tahoe Rim Trail. As we started to hike, I wondered how far it would be to the meadow as this was to be a 3-mile trail, out and back. The start of our hike was steep and rocky. Eventually, it gave way however to a beautiful stream and field, so the climb was worth it.

The ground was wet on the meadow so we did get a little muddy on our hike. There were no flowers yet, we were too early in the season. I had to use my imagination a bit on what it would look like in bloom. Perhaps I’ll get out there again one day to see it dotted with flowers.

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