The Eagle Lake hike is one of the most popular Lake Tahoe shore hikes. The quarter mile hike to the falls is easily within the ability of virtually all visitors, although for just a bit more effort, the hiker to Eagle Lake is well rewarded with stunning views of the Tahoe backcountry.
This steep trail leads back into the heart of Desolation Wilderness, passing by several lakes along the way. Eagle Lake is only 1.5 miles and a popular destination for day-hikers looking to picnic lunch or take a swim. 4.5 miles to Dicks Lake, Upper and Middle Velmas; 5 miles to Fontanillas. The trail continues into Desolation Wilderness and becomes a more intermediate to expert trail.
Technically, in order to hike past the falls (1/4 mile) you need to fill out the wilderness permit at the trailhead. In reality, few people bother here unless they are heading further than Eagle Falls. The Trail starts off climbing gently, but quickly comes to a stone staircase. The stairs are short lived however, ending just before the bridge over Eagle Falls where one gets a nice view back towards Emerald Bay. After the falls, the trail continues to climb steadily for another 3/4 mile to Eagle Lake. All in all, the hike involves 420 feet of climbing, challenging but well within reach of most. At the end of the trail, the peaceful, glacially formed Eagle Lake rewards all who endure.
If going past Eagle Lake, a wilderness permit is required. Day hikers can pick up your permit at the self serve area at the trail head.
- Near: Lake Tahoe, CA
- Distance: 3 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 500 ft
- Hike Time: 2 hours
- Difficulty: 3/10
- Trail Condition: Well maintained trail
- GPX File Download: >>CLICK HERE<<
- Dog Friendly: Yes
- Kid Friendly: Yes
Getting to the trail head:
From Sacramento: 80 fwy (east) to Hwy 89 (south) to trail head.