1. Ward Canyon to Paige Meadows
Classification : Easy
Distance : 1.4 miles round trip
Low / High Elevations : 6520 ft. / 6840 ft
Highlights : Paige Meadows area with great wildflowers and terrific fall colors.
Location : Ward Creek Boulevard Trailhead. This trailhead can be found off Highway 89, 2.5 miles south of Tahoe City. Turn (right if coming from the north and left if coming from the south) onto Ward Creek Boulevard. Go 2.5 miles till you see a small TRT kiosk.
Best accessed from : West and North Shore of Lake Tahoe and Truckee.
Users : This section is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.
Description : The trail heads east for 0.2 miles, then joins a northwest climbing dirt road. For the next 0.5 miles, you will follow this road steeply uphill through a thick forest of white fir and Jeffrey pine. Near the top of the hill there is a break in the trees, allowing for views of Ward Canyon, Ward Peak, and the Sherwood Chairlift of Alpine Meadows. AT the next dirt road be sure to turn left and stay on the TRT. Paige Meadows is actually a series of five interconnected meadows, which provide spring wildflowers, colorfull drifts of aspen leaves in the fall, and great mountain views all year long. Make sure to remain on the trail as meadows are very fragile ecosystems! After enjoying your meadow experience, turn around and return to your car.
2. Barker North to Vista Point
Classification : Medium
Distance : 3.5 miles round trip
Low / High Elevations : 7650 ft / 7970 ft
Highlights : Amazing views of Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness, open fields full of mule's ears and other wild flowers, and a nice creek area.
Location : To reach the Barker Pass trailhead, take Hwy 89 4 miles south from Tahoe City or 4 miles north from Tahoma, then turn (right if coming from the north and left if coming from the south) onto Blackwood Canyon Road at Kaspian Campground. The trailhead is 7.5 miles from the turnoff.
Best accessed from : West and North Shore of Lake Tahoe & Truckee.
Users : This trail is open to hikers and equestrians. This part of the TRT is also the Pacific Crest Trail, and due to PCT regulations mountain bikes are not allowed.
Description : For the first mile, a moderately steep walk heads west around the south side of Barker Peak, through open fields of mule's ears and past eastward views down Blackwood Canyon to Lake Tahoe. After another 0.25 miles, you will cross a beautiful stream bordered with asters, delphiniums, tiger lilies, columbines, paintbrushes, and other wildflowers. A0.5 miles gentle trek up through open volcanic terrain and red fir forest leads to two lofty volcanic plugs which provide excellent wind protection for a picnic and sightseeing. The TRT continues from here, but if you go further make sure to give yourself enough time to get back to your car before the sun sets.
3. Echo Lake to Lake Aloha
Classification : Hard
Distance : 12 miles round trip
Low / High Elevations : 7525 ft / 8540 ft
Highlights : A true wilderness experience, with pristine lakes and spectacular mountains scenery.
Location : On US Highway 50, follow signed turnoff to Echo Lake 0.5 mile west of Echo Summit. Look for a parking lot about a mile from the turnoff, near Lower Echo Lake. The trail starts at the dam below Echo Chalet.
Best accessed from : West and south sides of Lake Tahoe, Meyers, Kirkwood, Markleeville, and Placerville.
Users : This trail is open to hikers and equestrians. Because it is a wilderness trail and as such mountain bikers are not allowed.
Description : From the dam at Lower Echo Lake, the trail follows the shoreline past gnarled trees and some quaint cabin homes. It then curves south over the rocky peninsula between Lower and Upper Echo Lakes, and arrives at a trail junction. Going down to the left will take you to the Echo Lake Taxi Pier, where a water taxi goes back to the chalet. (For information contact Echo Chalet at 530-659-7207). The TRT continues straight and climbs steadily over more rocky terrain. After another 0.6 miles, the trail levels off as you enter Desolation Wilderness. In the next 2.9 miles you will many trails, so be careful not to stray off the TRT/PCT. During this time you will be climbing steadily through open granite areas, several mixed forests of red firs, mountain hemlocks and western white pine and scattered small grassy meadows that bloom with wildflowers. Finally after 6 miles of fairly steady uphill you will arrive at Lake Aloha. This is the ideal spot to relax, have lunch, swim, and soak in a the sun before returning to your car.
Special Note: There are many incredible lakes and back country options in Desolation Wilderness. If you would like more information on the range of possibilities in this area please contact the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit at 530-543-2600.
Permit Required : This hike takes you into Desolation Wilderness where a permit is required.
Distance: 5 Miles (out and back)
Details: Ellis Peak Trail is a 5 mile out and back trail located near Homewood, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking & mountain biking and is accessible from June until October.
Trailhead: Head south on #89 from Tahoe City for another 4.2 miles to Caspian Picnic Area. Turn west on Blackwood Canyon Road. The road follows Blackwood creek for 2.3 miles, crosses the creek and then climbs 4.8 miles to Barker Pass. Ellis Peak Trailhead is located on the south side of the road where the pavement ends on the summit.
Details: From Tahoe City take Hwy 89 south 25 miles to Emerald Bay, to the Eagle Falls Picnic Area is on the right. This is a popular and congested area. A Wilderness permit is required. This steep trail leads into the heart of Desolation Wilderness. Eagle Lake is a popular short hike. Longer hikes include the three Velmas, Dicks and Fontanillis lakes. Trails: 4.5 miles to Dicks and Upper & Middle Velmas, 5 miles to Fontanillis.
Details: From Tahoe City take Hwy 89 south 25 miles, go around Emerald Bay to the Bayview Campground across from Inspiration Point. Parking is located at the far end of the campground. View Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe along this steep trail that leads you up the side of Maggie’s Peal into Desolation Wilderness. Sights include Granite Lake. Corral and watering facilities for horses are available at the trailhead. A Wilderness permit is required. Trails: 1 mile to Granite, 4 miles to Azure, 5 miles to Dicks.
Details: From Tahoe City take Hwy 89 south 22 miles to D.L. Bliss State Park. Fee for day use parking. 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 many quiet coves along the way. No pets allowed.
Details: From Tahoe City take Hwy 89 south 12 miles to the Meeks Bay Resort. Parking is across the highway from the resort at a small dirt parking lot. A Wilderness permit is required. 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. View Alpine lakes before the trail ascends 1,000 feet up a series of switchbacks leading to Phipps Pass. Trails: 4.5 miles to Genevieve, 5 miles to Craig, 5.7 miles to Hidden, 5.9 to Shadow, 6.3 miles to Stony Ridge, 8 miles to Rubicon.
Distance: 1 mile (one-way)
Details: From Tahoe City take Hwy 89 south 25 miles to Emerald Bay, there will be a parking lot on the left. View an authentic replica of a Viking castle. Daily tours from mid-June through Labor Day for a nominal fee. View Emerald Bay and Fannette Island from the shoreline of Emerald Bay State Park. Hike the short trail to Lower Eagle Falls which begins directly across from the castle. No pets allowed.
Details: From Tahoe City take Hwy 89 south 11 miles. Turn left into the park. The park charges a parking fee for day use. Contact 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. Call (530) 525-7982 for more information
Distance: 1 mile (one-way)
Details: From Tahoe City take Hwy 89 south 25 miles, go around Emerald Bay to the Bayview Campground which is located across from Inspiration Point. Parking is located at the far end of the campground. View Cascade Lake and the 200-foot high falls.
Details: Take Hwy 89, two miles south of Tahoe City, turn right on Pineland Drive. Go up the road approximately 2 miles and look right for Forest Service Road 15N60 or 16N48 to get to the area. Page Meadows is located approx. 1 mile up the dirt road. There are no designated trails in the meadow.
Here are a couple of other ways to get to Paige Meadows from either 64 acres via Granlibakken Road or Ward Creek Road vs trying to ride up the gnarly steep, loose, rocky single track trail to the north side of Granlibakken.
From 64 acres the easiest way is to take the TCPUD bike path to Granlibakken Road to Rawhide Road and on up the fire road about 2 + eventually into Paige Meadows.
Another easy, but longer way is to ride up Ward Creek Road all the way to Chamonix to the end and enter through the green gate. Ride the double track north to the single track and head east into the meadows about 1 mile and to the right