What? : The Eagle Lake
hike is popular 2 miles out and back hiking trail near Emerald Bay, in South
Shore Lake Tahoe. On this trail you will hike up the creek surrounding by
mountainous peaks, you will see a waterfall on your way up and the lake itself
is a perfect example of an alpine lake.
Where? :Trailhead is located on highway 89 at Emerald
Bay, at the south west “corner” of Lake Tahoe.
There is a
small parking lot at the trailhead, you can park on highway 89 roadside parking,
or you can park your car at Emerald Bay State Park parking lot quarter of a
mile north of the trailhead.
Due note 1: Dogs are welcome
but must be on a leash.
Due note 2: it is $5 to
park in the lot directly next to the trailhead but this is a very small parking
lot, it’s free on the side of Highway 89, and it costs $10 to park at the
Emerald Bay parking lot (quarter of a mile to the north).
Due note 3: You do need a
permit as this hike is in Desolation Wilderness. You can get a free wilderness
permit at the trailhead.
Due note 4: The hike to
the lake is all an incline, but it’s not particularly steep. Families with kids
can do this hike.
My thoughts: I like this
short and rewording hike. In less than a mile you hike in a running water
creek, getting into mountain valley surrounded by high ragged mountain ridges
and have the view of an alpine lake. This is probably one of the best short hikes
in south lake Tahoe.
This is 1.9-mile
out-and-back trail near South Lake Tahoe, California.
considered a moderately but if you take it easy, I will rank it as easy hike
that families can enjoy. It can take you 1.5 hour including rest time at the
You do have in
this hike 450 feet of elevation gain, up all the way to
the lake and down on your way back to your starting point.
The Eagle Falls
Trail showcases all what you can find in lake Tahoe landscape the Lake Tahoe
Basin has to offer. This route is short and easy enough for the whole family.
There is something for everyone here: waterfalls, creeks, towering granite
peaks, and Eagle Lake view.
This is a very
popular area for hiking and landscape viewing, so you'll likely see many other
people hiking the trail. The best times to visit this trail are May (after snow
melt) through October.
Make sure to
get to the parking lot early, try to arrive here before 9 AM, as the small
parking lot fills up fast.
After your hike
to the lake cross the highway to the lake side and see the lower falls.
starts by heading up on a path of stone stairs climbing up the creek. About a 0.2
mile into the hike the trail crosses the creek to the other side over a high bridge,
the trail continues up through a forested area.
At some point
the forest clear and you can enjoy the view of the surrounding granite rock
wall of the surrounding mountains.
After this, you
will enter the Desolation Wilderness, which you can get a permit for near the
About 0.8 miles
in, you will see the sign to continue right for Eagle Lake and soon you will see
the lake in front of you.
When I visit
here (mid-June 2022) it was cold late afternoon with blowing wind, a summer
storm front was getting into the area, no one entered the lake to swim.
It can be crowded
where the trail reaches the lake.
You can’t walk
around the entire lake, but if you walk to the left or right far enough, you’ll
soon leave the crowds behind.
After you are
done relaxing here, you will head back the way you came for an easy downhill
before, your hike be sure to spend some time checking out Emerald Bay view.
Cross the road
to the lake side and see up close the lower Eagle waterfall. You can also walk
up the road north to Emerald Bay Park, take the protected people trail on the
bay side of the road. After short walk you will get to Emerald Bay Park parking
lot, it has an amazing bay panorama viewpoint.
If you have time
from the viewing point you can walk one mile down and get to the bay shore.