6 of the Best Hikes Near Lake Tahoe, to Add to Your Summer Bucket List

Rayna Skiver - Author

Apr. 20 2023, Published 4:05 p.m. ET

Interpretive signage on a trail in Lake Tahoe with mountain view in the background
Source: ISTOCK

With summer quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about all of the amazing trails you want to explore. Planning ahead is always a good idea, especially if you’re visiting an area that’s popular, such as a state or national park.

For those heading to the Sierra Nevada this summer, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled this list of some of the best hikes near Lake Tahoe — checking out trails has never been easier!

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Tahoe East Shore Trail

Landscape view of Lake Tahoe's East Shore
Source: ISTOCK

If you’re looking for a hike that will suit the whole family, the Tahoe East Shore Trail is perfect. Located in Sand Harbor Beach State Recreation Area, this 2.6-mile paved trail is stroller-friendly, wheelchair-friendly, and not too strenuous.

Throughout the trail, hikers will get to see wildflowers, mountains, and of course, a stunning view of Lake Tahoe. This route is best enjoyed in the late spring, summer, and fall. Be sure to always check trail conditions before heading out — there could be snow depending on the month.

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Eagle Lake Trail

Out in the Desolation Wilderness, visitors can explore Eagle Lake Trail. This moderate 1.9-mile route features a little bit of everything: Creeks, lakes, waterfalls, mountain views, and amazing greenery. Once hikers reach their destination, they can enjoy a nice swim in Eagle Lake.

The best time to visit is between the months of May and October. For this trail, visitors will need a wilderness permit, so it’s important to acquire that before heading out.

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Floating Island and Cathedral Lakes Trail

Floating Island and Cathedral Lakes Trail is located near South Lake Tahoe. This is a 4.9-mile out-and-back route that’s best enjoyed between July and October. Visitors enjoy this trail for its spectacular lake views, lush foliage, and mountainous landscape — it’s not too difficult either.

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If you’re looking for a hike that won’t take all day but also isn’t too short, this is a good choice. Just be sure to plan your trip for the summer because there’s still a lot of snow on the trail in the spring!

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Emerald Point

Emerald Point is a 4.4-mile out-and-back trail that’s moderately challenging. This popular area is frequented by other hikers as well as runners, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. Visitors can expect a forested trail with wonderful views of the mountains and the bay.

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This route is typically traveled between the months of April and October, making it a good option for those wanting to visit earlier in the year. Since this route is located in Emerald Bay State Park, drivers will have to pay a parking fee.

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Rubicon Peak

If you’re one of those hikers that loves a good challenge but doesn’t love being on the trail all day, then Rubicon Peak is definitely for you. This 4-mile out-and-back trail is very steep and rocky, and it even requires a few creek crossings.

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Despite the intense elevation gain and other difficulties, one hiker on AllTrails described it as the “hardest, but best hike of my life.” In terms of endorsements, it doesn’t get much better than that.

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Mount Rose Trail

On the other hand, if you like both challenging and long hikes, you can’t go wrong with the Mount Rose Trail. This 10.7-mile loop trail will take you on the journey of a lifetime! Hikers can expect lush foliage, wildlife, lakes, and expansive mountain views that will completely blow you away.

It’s best to check out this trail between May and October. Conveniently, a permit isn’t even required for the Mount Rose Wilderness. This trail is worth a visit for sure.

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