There are so many options for spectacular hikes, great exercise and amazing topography here in Truckee-Tahoe! Whether you seek to ascend a rocky trail, discover hidden lake views or explore a meandering stream in an open meadow, here are the best hikes around the Sierra.
Tahoe Donner & Donner Lake
The Tahoe Donner Trail System – Offering over 60 miles of trails, this system is perfect for all ages and activity levels. Mountain biking, hiking, and trail running are all great summer activities within the Tahoe Donner trail system.
With an abundance of wildflowers during the spring and summer months, that is the perfect time to take the Wildflower Guide provided by local explorer, Susan Kelso, and experience all the Tahoe Donner Trail System has to offer. Tahoe Donner also offers an extensive Trail Ambassador Program for those who would like to get more involved on and off the trails. Don’t forget to bring your trail map too!
Hawk’s Peak & Euer Valley– With a 5.9-mile loop and 1,030 feet elevation gain, Tahoe Donner’s Hawk’s Peak hike is a rewarding hike with gorgeous views. Once you reach the peak, head down to Euer Valley for even more stunning sights. This trail is also a popular snowshoeing and cross-country skiing spot! Be sure to take the Tahoe Donner Trail Map for your outdoor adventures. All are ideal for year ’round adventures!
Cold Stream Loop – For those who enjoy a quick hike, Cold Stream Loop is the perfect morning pick-me-up. Great for families and hikers of all skill-levels, this 2.6 mile loop offers beautiful views of the creek and plenty of other sites to see along the way.
Emigrant Canyon – For hiking, off-road driving, and mountain biking, Emigrant Canyon is full of history and views. An out and back 4.1 mile hike, this spot has a mild 715 feet elevation gain and is ideal for those who enjoy incredible views and a fabulous forested setting. For more information on the History of Emigrant Canyon find the Donner Memorial here.
Martis Creek Trail – Most popular from May to September, the Martis Creek Trail is located near Truckee and features a river, and kid friendly terrain. With forest views, bird watching, river access. An easy 4.3 miles, this trail has a minor 203 feet elevation gain. Bring your four-legged friends and children alike for the swimming and scenic meadows and creeks provided by this fantastic trail.
Test Trail – Primarily used for bird watching, Test Trail is a moderate hike with a wonderful forest setting just off Highway 267. A mild 3.8 mile out and back trail, this is the perfect place to bring your dogs on leash for some incredible sights and a fabulous time!
Elizabethtown Meadows Trail – Located off Highway 267 and a brisk 2.2 mile trek, Elizabethtown Meadows Trail is perfect for mountain biking, hiking, and trail running. Clean, cold water runs in the streams along the trail and provide the ideal setting for a moderate alpine hike.
Olympic Valley & West Shore
Tahoe Palisades – Breathtaking sites await you and yours on any hike or climb in or out of the Olympic Valley. One of our favorites is the hike to the Seven Pools at Palisades Tahoe. Or if you really want to seek higher sights, take a Rock Climbing Tour with Tahoe Via Ferrata. That is indeed, a must-do for active families.
Five Lakes Trail – Alpine Meadows bursts with wildflowers in July and is home to several gentle to mild hikes for all to enjoy. We like the Five Lakes Trail which is 10 miles long (in total). For more trails within the Alpine Meadows region, visit this good site posted by TheOutBound.com.
Eagle Rock – Over on the West Shore, the popular Eagle Rock is a fun one to see the sunrise over the Sierra or for a picnic during the day. It’s one of the easiest and shortest hikes around and is ideal for an easy family outing.
When you really want to get away from it all, here is where you can completely unplug. Throughout Desolation Wilderness there are hundreds of well-marked trails for the novice to the most advanced. As the list is so large, we encourage you to visit AllTrails.com for maps and more details.
Closer to home than others, these trails are located just on the outskirts of the Lake Tahoe Basin. See the map and website for all the details.
- Eagle Lake Trail
- Mount Tallac Trail
- Echo Lakes Trail
- Granite Lake and Maggie’s Peaks
- Horsetail Falls Trail
- Lake Aloha Trail
- Ralston Lake via Pacific Crest Trail
- Lake of the Woods via Pacific Crest Trail