Best Lake Tahoe Hikes
| |

10 Best Lake Tahoe Hikes

Are you looking for the best hikes in Lake Tahoe? Awesome! Lake Tahoe hiking is incredible!  

My husband and I are huge trail runners.  We love to run on every vacation we go on.  We recently went to Lake Tahoe and loved all of the Lake Tahoe trails.  I am excited to share with you some of the best hikes in Tahoe! 

In this post, I am going to list some of the best Tahoe hikes we did on our trip.  This will include the best hikes in North Lake Tahoe as well as the best hikes in South Lake Tahoe. These Lake Tahoe trails are perfect to add to your Lake Tahoe itinerary.

Let's explore the best Lake Tahoe hikes! 

If you want to save this information for later be sure to pin this to Pinterest. 

Best lake Tahoe Hikes Pin for Pinterest

This post may contain affiliate links that will give me a commission at no additional charge to you.

Contents hide

Be Prepared for the Lake Tahoe Hikes

Lake Tahoe Hikes

As you prepare for the Lake Tahoe hikes, I have a few tips that will help you succeed. These are pretty basic tips that will help you get ready to hike Lake Tahoe.

Buy Good Shoes

running in Lake Tahoe


Hiking Lake Tahoe is awesome and intense.  If you plan to hike make sure to get a good hiking boot.  This will give you the support you need.

If you plan to trail run you will need a good trail shoe that has good tread.  

My Favorite Trail and Hiking Boots

My husband and I have all of these shoes.  They are not too expensive and are great for hiking and running.  I have ran in my Colombia hiking boots. (They are very heavy but protect the ankle which I like.)  


Stay Hydrated

Tahoe Hiking - hydration

Lake Tahoe has an altitude of 6200ft.  For most people traveling to Lake Tahoe that is an insane elevation.  Coming from Utah, it wasn't too bad but if you are coming from Texas or somewhere on the East Coast, you are going to feel it. 

Staying hydrated is important! We always bring our running packs that have pockets for water bottles.  You could also wear a Camelbak.  

My best advice is to drink a lot of water so you don't get altitude sickness. 

Wear Sunblock

Lake Tahoe hiking trails - sunblock

The temperatures may feel perfect but don't let that fool you.  Because Lake Tahoe is so high, the sun is intense!

Make sure before you begin all of the fun Lake Tahoe hikes to block up.  You can purchase a travel-size sunblock before you leave or you can buy some once you get in town.  

North Lake Tahoe Hikes

hikes in north lake tahoe - monkey rock

We are going to start with some of the best North Lake Tahoe hiking trails.  We spent our first day enjoying North Lake Tahoe. 

We hit some of the main Lake Tahoe hikes while we were in the area.  

Best Hikes in North Lake Tahoe

Hiking Around Lake Tahoe

Most of these Lake Tahoe hikes are short but that doesn't mean they are easy. Hiking North Lake Tahoe consists of a lot of elevation gains.  

Not all of these hikes listed above are steep climbs but most are.  These hikes are the best hikes in North Lake Tahoe.  We were able to go on 3 of them, some of the hikes were flooded when we went because the snow was melting. 

I will describe the Lake Tahoe trails we were able to go on in more detail below.   

1. Monkey Rock

Best hiking trails in Tahoe - Monkey Rock

Miles: 2.6  

Difficulty: Hard

Address: Incline Village, NV 89451

Time to Complete: 1 -1.5 hours

Parking at Monkey Rock

The easiest way to find Monkey Rock is to adjust your GPS to Tunnel Creek Cafe.  You can't park in the restaurant parking lot but just below the restaurant is paid parking.  It is $3 per hour or $10 a day.  

One thing to be aware of is that there is a $2 per person fee to hike Monkey Rock.  There is an envelope where you can place your cash and deposit it.  

Hiking Lake Tahoe Monkey Rock

Monkey Rock was at the top of my list. Mainly because who doesn't want to see a rock that looks like a monkey? I had read that someone had found the rock and carved a face in it. I knew I had to see it! 

A lot of the Lake Tahoe trails on this list we ran, but this one we decided to bring our kids and walked the entire way.

Monkey Rock Tahoe Hike

It is entirely uphill! It is hard.  I felt like I was climbing a mountain.  I honestly was surprised that my kids made it to the top! 

I truly was so excited to see the monkey that it kept pushing me to keep going. My kids must have felt the same way because they pushed on too! 

The View at the Top

It was worth the hard climb.  The view at the top of the hike is incredible.  Not only do you get to see a cool monkey rock but you get an amazing view of the lake.  

2. Tahoe East Shore Trail

Best hikes in Lake Tahoe - East Shore Trail

Miles: 3

Difficulty: Easy

Address: 1115 Tunnel Creek Rd. B Incline Village

Time: 1 – 1.5 hours

Parking at East Shore Trail

You can park in Incline Village on Ponderosa Rd. or you can park near Sand Harbor.  You will see a parking lot as you drive along the East Shore Trail. 

Hiking Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail

The East Shore Trail is one of the best Lake Tahoe hiking options.  There is a paved path that runs along the lake.  You can walk, bike, run, or hike along the trail. 

This area is absolutely gorgeous!  This 3-mile trail connects Incline Village to Sand Harbor.  Eventually, this trail will go around the entire lake! 

One of the best parts of this Lake Tahoe trail is that you can easily hop off the path and jump in the lake for a swim.  As you walk toward Sand Harbor you can rent a kayak or paddleboard.  

In my opinion, Sand Harbor is the most beautiful area of Lake Tahoe! 

South Lake Tahoe Hiking

Hiking trails in South Lake Tahoe - emrald Bay

There are some great hikes in South Lake Tahoe that you will love.  We spent 2 days in South Lake Tahoe exploring the area. We were able to do more of the hikes in South Lake Tahoe than in North Lake Tahoe. 

Best Hikes in South Lake Tahoe

Hiking Around Lake Tahoe

There are a lot more hikes in South Lake Tahoe.  We didn't have time to do all of them but we did quite a few.  In my opinion, the best place to hike in South Lake Tahoe is D.L. Bliss State Park.

You can hit a lot of the best hikes in South Lake Tahoe in a short amount of time.  

3. Cave Rock

hike lake Tahoe - cave rock

Miles: .9 round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Address: HWY 50 Glenbrook,NV

Time: 15 minutes

Parking at Cave Rock

You can park along the road or you can go to Cave Rock State Park and pay to park.  

Cave Rock is on the east side of the lake. As you pass through the tunnels on the main road toward South Lake Tahoe you will see a parking lot where you can gain access to the Cave Rock. 

Hiking Lake Tahoe Cave Rock

Cave Rock is one of the best hikes in Lake Tahoe because it is super short. It will take you maybe 15 minutes round trip.  

Cave Rock offers a beautiful view of the lake.  You do have to climb up.  You have the option to stay at the base of the rock or you can climb higher.  

This is a great easy hike near South Lake Tahoe. 


4. High Meadows

Best Tahoe HIkes - Big Meadows

Miles: 8.1-mile loop (We only went 2 miles)

Difficulty: Moderate

Address: High Meadow Rd. South Lake Tahoe

Time: Depends on how far you go. 

Parking at High Meadows Trail

You will go through a neighborhood and hit a dead end. There is a parking lot located at the trailhead.  

Lake Tahoe Trails High Meadow

The first thing I want to say about the High Meadow trail is that this is a better running trail than a Lake Tahoe hiking trail. Basically, because you will find more scenic hikes in Lake Tahoe if you travel further south. 

One of our morning runs led us to High Meadows.  Locals told us a lot of the meadow trails were flooded from the snow melt-off.  Luckily, we didn't encounter any mud.  

We stayed at the Timberlodge Marriott Vacation Club.  We were looking for Lake Tahoe hiking trails closer to the Heavenly Ski Resort where our hotel was located.  High Meadows was pretty close. 

The trail we ended up on was actually an off-road path.  There wasn't anyone around.  We ran just over 2 miles.  I know that might not sound like that far but everywhere we ran in Tahoe was uphill and then down.  

It was an intense trail, I felt like I was pushing myself pretty hard but loved every minute of it.

5. Van Sickle Waterfall Bridge

Hiking Lake Tahoe - Van Sickle

Miles: Almost 3 round trip

Difficulty: Hard going up easy coming down

Address: 30 Lake PKWY South Lake Tahoe

Parking at Van Sickle Waterfall Trail

The GPS will get you to the Bi-State Van Sickle Park. You can drive into the park and head towards the last parking lot.  There is plenty of parking available. 

Hike Lake Tahoe Van Sickle Waterfall Bridge Trail

If you are looking for a waterfall hike in Tahoe, Van Sickle is perfect! 

This is another steep climb up.  If you are hiking it is not bad, running it is a little harder. The path is very clear and beautiful.  Once you reach the top you will see a beautiful waterfall and bridge.  

Running down this path was amazing! I loved it because the path is free from rocks and it is easy to run fast.  You do not have to worry about tripping! If you trail run, you know what I mean! 

This is one of my favorite Lake Tahoe hikes! 

6. Lower and Upper Eagle Falls

Best Hiking in Lake Tahoe - Lower Eagle Falls

Miles: .4 round trip from the bottom.  

Difficulty: Easy

Address: 138 Emerald Bay South Lake Tahoe

Parking at Lower Eagle Falls

You will park in the same parking lot that will get you to Vikingsholm.  This lot is Eagle Falls Vista Point.  There is a parking fee.  This is a highly popular hike so, it can be difficult to find a spot.  

Hiking Lake Tahoe Lower Eagle Falls

To get to the Lower Eagle Falls trailhead you will have to first do the Vikingsholm hike which is downhill which is a killer when you have to go back uphill.  

The Lower Eagle Falls trail is just behind the visitor center.  It is a nice short hike.  You can see the falls within .2 miles.  There is a bridge that you can get a great view of.  From the bridge, you can hike .2 miles to get an even better view. 

Hiking Trails in Tahoe Upper Eagle Falls 

There is a separate Upper Eagle Falls parking lot, just before you come to the Eagle Falls Vista Point. 

The trailhead is accessible from the parking lot. It is 2 miles up.  The good part about this hike is that you will be coming down on your way down.  It is a little more intense than Lower Eagle Falls. 

The views at the top of Eagle Falls are some of the best you can get in Lake Tahoe of Emerald Bay.  The waterfall is incredible! 

7. Rubican Trail

Best hiking Tahoe Trails - Rubicon

Miles: 16.4 miles (We only did 3)

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Address: D.L. Bliss State Park

Parking at Rubican Trail

Because the Rubican Trail is so long, there are many options for parking.  We parked on the road near the entrance of D.L. Bliss State Park and ran down to the trailhead. (only because the park hadn't opened) 

If the park is open you can go through the pay station and park right at the trailhead. 

Best Hikes in Lake Tahoe

Rubican Trail the best Lake Tahoe hike in my opinion! It actually extends a really long way! It is a beautiful trail that overlooks the lake.  It is located in D.L. Bliss State Park. 

I highly recommend a stop at D.L Bliss if you are looking for the best hiking in Lake Tahoe.  We hit three awesome trails within a short amount of time.  

Rubican is a beautiful run,  I loved it! The view from the hike is out of this world! Out of all the hikes at Lake Tahoe, this one is the one I would highly recommend. 

You don't have to go the entire way.  We only went a few miles and loved it.  

8. Balancing Rock

Best hikes in Tahoe - Balancing Rock

Miles: .3

Difficulty: Easy

Address: D.L. Bliss State Park

Parking at Balancing Rock

This is one of the first parking lots at the entrance of D.L. Bliss State Park.  You can also park on the road and walk down to Balancing Rock. 

Hiking Lake Tahoe Balancing Rock

As you enter D.L. Bliss State Park this is one of the first Tahoe hikes you should do.  You can even park on the street and it is literally a short walk to get to Balancing Rock. 

One thing that is really cool is there are large rocks you can climb on near it.  As well as an awesome ladder to help you climb up and down the area.  

This is the best hike in Lake Tahoe for kids! Not far! Lots of fun! 

9. Rubican Light House Trail

Best hikes Lake Tahoe - Light House

Miles: .5 – 1.5 depending on which way you go 

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Address: D.L. Bliss State Park

Time: 20 Minutes

Parking for Rubicon Point Light House Trail

The parking lot is the exact same as the Rubicon Trail at D.L Bliss State Park.  

Best Hikes at Lake Tahoe Rubicon Point Lighthouse Trail

The Lighthouse Trail is a cut-off from the Rubicon Trail.  From the D.L. Bliss side, you will want to follow the Rubicon Trail to the Rubicon Point Historic Light House. 

You will see a sign that says lighthouse but keep on the Rubican Trail until you reach the top.  You will see another sign for the lighthouse.  This is the best way to go because it will not be entirely uphill. 

It is a great trail and the lighthouse is fun to see. This lighthouse was constructed around 1919. It is pretty cool to check out.  

This is a beautiful hike with phenomenal views. 

10. Vikingsholm

best hiking trails in Lake Tahoe - Vikingsholm

Miles: 1.7 round trip

Difficulty: Easy down, hard coming back up

Address: 138 Emerald Bay South Lake Tahoe

Parking for Vikingsholm

The parking lot to get to Vikingsholm is located near Vista Point.  This is perfect because you can get out of your car enjoy the view and then hike down. There is a parking fee. 

South Lake Tahoe Hike Vikingsholm

This Lake Tahoe hike is tough.  Going down is easy but going back up is intense! Hopefully, you can enjoy a lot of time between coming and going. 

Vikingsholm is a castle.  You can go on a tour. Tickets are available at the visitor center located next door to the castle.  

Tours of Vikingsholm are offered every hour.  We got there at exactly 2 pm and they wouldn't let us take the tour. The next one was at 3 pm! I wasn't too happy about that! 

We were able to walk around the house but could not go in.  

Emerald Bay

This area is called Emerald Bay.  It is a nice spot to kayak and park your boat.  It also is where you will hike to Lower Eagle Falls.

The hike back to the parking lot is brutal.  I still think it is worth hiking down but with kids it is tough.  

Best Hikes in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe hikes - Eagle Falls

Are you ready to go on some of the best hikes at Lake Tahoe?  There are many more hikes than what I have included here. These are the best hikes in Lake Tahoe that we were able to go on! 

I will tell you, we pushed our bodies pretty hard on this trip. We ran every day and hiked later in the day. Most of the Lake Tahoe hikes are uphill and very steep.  The elevation is 6200 which is 1000 feet higher than Salt Lake City.  

I felt the elevation a little the first day. Normally my heart is in great condition, it's my legs that hold me back.  This time I struggled to breathe a little.  I actually took it as a challenge and pushed through. By day two I was doing great.  

Hiking in Lake Tahoe was an incredible experience. I would suggest hiking in D.L. Bliss State Park.  It has hands down the best hikes at Lake Tahoe. The trails are nice and the scenery is beautiful! Van Sickle is my 2nd favorite hike. 

Have so much fun hiking Lake Tahoe! 

Facebook Community

If you have any questions join my Facebook Travel Community. You can ask any questions you have about upcoming trips and everyone is happy to help you plan your trip.  I also try to give exclusive travel deals that companies send me.  It is a great group to join!



Similar Posts


  1. I will definitely be taking Lake Tahoe hikes if I ever get out that way. The views are spectacular!

  2. We will revisit Lake Tahoe soon, and these hikes will be on our list. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *