Best Hikes Near Lake Tahoe [Sponsored]

Every year, millions of tourists flock to Lake Tahoe to take advantage of the incredible ski slopes, boating, cycling and hiking in the Sierra Nevada. Set at 6,225 feet above sea level, the surrounding mountainous landscape provides myriad options for scenic hikes. Since the area is so well developed and geared towards tourists, it;s easy to set up base camp at one of the many hotels, Airbnbs, or vacation rentals in Lake Tahoe before hitting the trails. Here are five of the best hikes in the Tahoe area. Some are relatively easy. Some will leave you sore for days. But all are extremely beautiful.

 Mt. Rose

Views from the Mt. Rose summit Trail, Nevada


Mt. Rose is the tallest Tahoe Basin peak in the state of Nevada…so it’s no joke. Despite the high elevation, this 10.6 mile loop is only categorized as moderate and gains 2,444 feet of elevation. The fact that Mt. Rose is so manageable for many hikers means that the trail could be relatively well-trafficked at times during the summer. The trail winds past waterfalls, lakes, streams, and provides outstanding views of Lake Tahoe. If you don’t want to spend a full day hiking, you also have the option to hike in half way to the waterfall before turning around. Either way it’s one of the best hikes in the area.

Shirley Canyon Cascades Trail

Good view on Shirley Canyon Trail.

[Source: Hiking Project]

Located near Olympic Valley, California, this hike is not to be missed. The relatively challenging 4.1 mile out and back hike is quite popular despite its difficulty. The trail gains 1,433 feet of elevation. If you like trails with lots of water features then this is the one for you.  The trail has plenty of rivers, creeks, lakes, and two large waterfalls that you’ll come to within the first mile of the hike. If you want to cut the distance in half, you can take the tram back down to the trail head. Another option is to just hike in for 0.8 miles until reaching the second waterfall. This 1.6 mile out and back is a very popular way to hike Shirley Canyon, and gives you many of the same views with considerably less effort.

Mt. Tallac Trail

[Source: Outdoor Project]

Standing 9,735 feet, Mt. Tallac is the tallest and one of the most iconic mountains near Tahoe and the views from the summit are exactly what you would expect from such a prominent peak. While there are four main climbing routes to the summit, the Mt. Tallac Trail is the most popular and most direct route for summer hiking. The hike is 9.6 miles round trip and gains 3,500 feet in elevation. It’s not to be taken lightly, but is commonly done as a day hike. The trail, lined with wildflowers, winds along mountain ridges and passes many alpine lakes on the route to the summit. It’s a challenging day hike, but the views are worth the effort.

Rubicon Trail

[Source: Outdoor Project]

Located in the vicinity of South Lake Tahoe, this 8.3 mile out and back hike is relatively long but not all that strenuous. Despite traversing over 8 miles, there is only 1,141 feet of elevation gain so it’s never terribly steep for long periods of time. If you don’t want to hike all 8.3 miles, you can do a two-car, one way hike since there are campgrounds and parking at both ends of the trail. This hike provides incredible views of both Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay, and if you want to, you can check out the Vikingsholm Castle near the trail head. This amazing 38-room mansion was one of the first summer homes on Lake Tahoe and is now open to the public through Emerald Bay State Park.

Five Lakes Trail

[Source: Outdoor Project]

This 4.7 mile out and back hike is extremely popular and accessible. Due to its popularity, don’t be surprised if you’re not the only hiker on the trail, especially on weekends in the middle of the summer. Despite being a moderate hike, there is 1,151 feet of elevation gain, most of which is towards the beginning of the trail. Within the first two miles, after gaining the majority of the elevation, you arrive at the first lake. There are several smaller trails that connect the five lakes, giving you the opportunity to explore all five before making your descent. During this hike, you’ll be greeted with beautiful surroundings and plenty of opportunities to take a break and go for a swim or even go fishing in one of the five lakes along the trail. The trail head is located near the Alpine Meadows Ski Area in the foothills of the Granite Chief Wilderness.


…And there you have it. The Tahoe area is incredibly scenic, and one of the best ways to experience the area’s natural beauty is by hitting the trails. Whether you do all of these hikes or just one, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

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