USA, California: Recommended Hikes in the Lake Tahoe Area

Rubicon Trail to Eagle Lake

There are two Rubicon trails in Tahoe.  One is a 4×4 trail and another is a hiking trail.  I was fortunate to be able to going jeeping with friends the last time I lived in the area on the 4×4 Rubicon.  The hiking trail is my favorite in Tahoe.  It has stunning views of the lake, and today was such a gorgeous day to do it.

The Rubicon starts at D.L. Bliss State Park, but you can also hike in the other way from Emerald Bay.  I decided to extend my hike from the Rubicon and then over to the trail to Eagle Falls and Eagle Lake.

In the off-season there is a gate blocking entry to D.L. Bliss, so you have to park and walk about a mile or so down the road.

Sections are:

  • D.L Bliss parking lot at gate to Rubicon Trailhead – about 1 mile.
  • Rubicon Trail to Vikingsholm at Emerald Bay – 3.6 miles
  • Vikingsholm to Emerald Bay Parking lot – 1 mile
  • Across the street from the Emerald Bay parking lot is the parking for Eagle Lake – 2 miles to Eagle Lake

I did this round-trip, so it was a good 14-15 mile day.  I honestly think this is the longest hike I’ve ever done by myself!  I have to start somewhere, right?  I’ve done the Rubicon many times alone, but haven’t ever linked it with Eagle Lake.

I think it would be fun to do this hike and then rent a kayak (only available summer season) and kayak to the island and tea house at Emerald Bay, hang out on the beach and swim for a bit, and then hike back.

This hike, I could go on about how amazing it is all day.  This time of year especially, because I only passed a handful of people of the Rubicon section.  I love the blue and green hues of the water, the clarity of the water, the expansiveness of the lake, the aroma of the pines (Tahoe smells so darn good!), and the cute Hairy Woodpeckers and blue Stellar’s Jays, among many other things.  However, I think I’d better let the pictures do the talking.

Castle Peak

The summit is 9,103 ft, and from the 360 degree view at the top I could see five ski resorts!

Mt Judah

This loop trail is about 4.5 miles and covers ground at what is Sugarbowl Ski Resort in the winter.

Squaw Valley

Granite Lake to Maggie’s Peak in Desolation Wilderness

The Trailhead to reach Maggie’s Peak and other destinations in Desolation Wildnerness begins at a parking lot across from Emerald Bay near South Lake Tahoe.  The parking lot is at the end of Bayview Trailhead Campground.  There is a Traihead board where you fill out information for a day hiking permit.  This hike is about 4 miles round-trip.  Granite Lake is on the way after the viewpoint of Emerald Bay.

Getting to Maggie’s Peak is a bit confusing.  There are actually two Maggies’ Peaks, neither of which have a formal trailhead, at least that I’ve read or saw while there.  We stopped our hike at the saddle because we had to head back for an appointment in South Lake, but the views from there were plenty breathtaking.  After going to South we circumnavigated the lake by driving up the East Shore (Nevada side) and stopping at Nevada Beach, one of my favorite Tahoe beaches.  We also had some Tahoe Blue lemonade cocktails at the end of the day to cap it all off.

Martis Valley Trail System


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