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Backpacking in Lake Tahoe

If you're looking for the real deal, the following trails may be for you. With any of these trails you must have a Wilderness Permit. Day hikers can get your permits at the self service stations that exist along the way, or any visitors bureau. It is important to have a permit, so if you get lost... someone can find you. With all trail hikes, please leave no trace where you have been. Here are a few of the popular trails to give you some flavor for the area.

State Lookout

- Difficulty: Easy - Elevation: 7,017' - Mileage (one-way): miles
From Highway 28 on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, turn north on Reservoir Drive, just east of the old Tahoe Biltmore Casino. Turn right on Lakeshore Avenue and left on Forest Service Road 1601 (by the iron pipe gate). Park in the parking lot just below the lookout. During the summer the lookout is staffed with knowledgeable volunteers. Superb views of the lake can be seen through the free telescopes located here. A short self-guided nature trail, located by the lookout, explains the history of the north shore of Lake Tahoe.
Backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas.

Prey Meadows / Skunk Harbor

- Difficulty: Easy -Elevation: 6,200'/6,800' - Mileage (one-way): 1 miles
Take Highway 28 from Highway 50 north approximately 2 miles. Look for an iron pope gate on the west side of the highway. This is a great walk through a mixed conifer forest with filtered views of Lake Tahoe along the way. Look for the remains of an old railroad grade along the way, built in the 1870's as part of the network to supply timber to Virginia City.

Rim Trail North

- Difficulty: Moderate - Elevation: 7,000'/8,600' - Mileage (one-way): 5 miles to Marlette Lake, 13 miles to Tunnel Creek
Take Highway 50 east approximately mile from the junction of Highway 50 and 28. Parking is located just beyond the summit along the north side of the highway. This trail provides wonderful views of the Carson Valley as well as glimpses of Lake Tahoe along a forested trail.

Rim Trail South

- Difficulty: Moderate - Elevation: 8,560'/8,800' - Mileage (one-way): 2 miles to Duane Bliss Peak, 3 miles to South Camp Peak, 4 miles to Genoa Peak, 12 miles to Highway 207 (Kingsbury Grade)
Park at the Spooner Summit Rest Area located along Highway 50. - The trail begins behind the Nevada Department of Transportation building. Several Views of the Carson Valley as well as glimpses of Lake Tahoe can be seen along this forested trail. It is possible to climb Duane Bliss Peak (8,658'), South Camp Peak (8,866') or Genoa Peak (9,150') by traversing cross country.

Mt. Rose

- Difficulty: Strenuous - Elevation: 8,700'/10,778' - Mileage (one-way): 6 miles
Take Highway 431 (Mt. Rose Hwy.) north of Incline Village. Park at the trail head located one mile south of the summit. Mt. Rose (10,778'), one of the highest peaks near Lake Tahoe, offers excellent views of the lake, the city of Reno and the surrounding area. Follow a dirt road for three miles through a Lodge pole cloaked forest interspersed with mule ears and sagebrush. In the spring, a lush meadow at the halfway point is filled with lupine, paintbrush and larkspur. Don't forget to write your name in the logbook at the summit to show the world you made it!

Mt. Tallac Trail

- Difficulty: Strenuous - Elevation: 6,480'/9,735' - Mileage (one-way): 1.7 miles to Floating Isle, 2 miles to Cathedral, 5 miles to Tallac
Providing a spectacular view of Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Tahoe and Desolation Wilderness, this strenuous hike is well worth the effort. The first part of the trail to Floating Island and Cathedral lakes is moderate and can be enjoyed by the novice hiker. Beyond Cathedral Lake, the trail becomes steep and strenuous as it continues up the front face of Mt. Tallac. The trail head is located approximately 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. Look for the Mt. Tallac Trail head sign directly across from the entrance to Baldwin Beach and turn left down the dirt road. Continue to the trail head parking. Weather conditions can change rapidly in the Sierra mountains; bring a jacket, carry lots of water and allow plenty of time for your trip. A wilderness permit is required.

Sugar Pine Point State Park

- Difficulty: Easy - Elevation: Flat - Mileage (one-way): .7 mile
You best bet is to stop by a visitor bureau or find a state park rangers to obtain maps of the many trails located here. While you're there don't miss a tour of the historic Ehrman Mansion, one of the most beautiful historic summer homes on Lake Tahoe.

Vikingsholm Trail

- Difficulty: Easy - Elevation: 6,230'/6,630' - Mileage (one-way): 1 mile
View an authentic replica of a Viking castle. Daily tours are given from mid-June through Labor Day. A nominal fee is charged. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the fabulous view of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island from the shoreline of this state park. Hike the short trail to Lower Eagle Falls which begins directly across from the castle. Pets are not allowed. Take Highway 89 north from South Lake Tahoe approximately 9 miles to the parking lot on the right. The parking lot fills up quickly in the summer season, so arrive early.

Rubicon Trail

- Difficulty: Moderate - Elevation: 6,230'/6,580' - Mileage (one-way): 3.1 miles to Emerald Point, 5 miles
Dipping up and down along the shoreline of Lake Tahoe, this trail offers some of the most scenic views of the lake. Bring a swimsuit, towel and picnic lunch to enjoy a sunny day at one of the may quiet coves along the way. Take Highway 89 north 10 miles from South Lake Tahoe to D. L. Bliss State Park.

Meeks Bay Trail

- Difficulty: Moderate - Elevation: 6,240'/8,880' - Mileage (one-way): 4 miles to Genevieve, 5 miles to Crag, 5.7 miles to Hidden, 5.9 miles to Shadow, 6.3 miles to Stony Ridge, 8 miles to Rubicon
This moderate hike takes you along the northernmost part of the unofficial Tahoe-Yosemite Trail. After following a road for approximately 1.3 miles, the trail passes a small spring, parallels Meeks Creek and continues upward into a forested valley. A chain of alpine lakes can be seen before the trail ascends 1,000 feet up a series of switchbacks leading to Phipps Pass. Take Highway 89 to the Meeks Bay Resort. Wilderness permit required.

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