Where is the audio?! I love the sound of water flowing downstream over granite boulders, resting momentarily in small pools and then continuing the journey from mountain peaks.
The trail follows waterfalls and still pools
The Sierra Nevada views are wonderful.
The Shirley Canyon trailhead is located in Squaw Valley, north of the tram building at the ski area at the end of Squaw Peak Road.
Cascade Falls is a relatively unknown part of Lake Tahoe’s backcountry and well worth the short twenty minute hike from the Bay View Campground at Emerald Bay. The views are breathtaking and the sound of the water is overpowering.
The trail is easy and somewhat flat.
When you reach the top of the falls, granite dominates and the views are fabulous.
During early spring, the falls are flowing beyond the banks and difficult to cross.
A link to a YouTube video is below. If you have a moment, take a peek and listen to the sound of the water cascading over the granite into the lake. Eventually, this water rests in Lake Tahoe, travels down the Truckee River out of Tahoe City, and ends the journey at Pyramid Lake just outside of Reno.
This clip was taken from the West Shore of Tahoe. The reflection Heavenly Valley on the lake was beautiful. What caught my eye was the lack of activity on the lake, empty buoys and one lone sailboat.
10. Echo Lake into Desolation Wilderness. Hire a boat to cross Echo Lakes and pick up the trailhead into Desolation Wilderness. This trail is one of the easiest ways into the Wilderness, offers great vistas and pristine mountain lakes. Don’t forget the fishing pole and compass!
9. Fourteen ski areas are located around the Tahoe Basin with each area having its own unique terrain. Some areas are geared towards an intermediate skier with others touting terrain more suited for advanced and expert. Overall, skiing the Sierras is the best ever! During summer, take a tram to the top of Squaw Valley or Heavenly, ride a zip line, swim in a pool at 9,000+ feet, scurry up a climbing wall,or mountain bike in parks or open terrain.
8. Single track trails are found all around the lake and in Truckee. One of the most popular is the Flume Trail on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe. For the less adventurous, bicycle paths wind along the lake along the North Shore, West Shore, and South Shore.
7. Boating on the lake is magical. Boat rentals are available at many areas around the lake either for chartered dinner cruises or by the hour. You can also access boat campsites in Emerald Bay or some of the coves around the lake. For a quieter on-the-lake experience, kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards are plentiful.
6. Sand Harbor on the East Shore has beautiful sand beaches with large granite boulder outcroppings scattered throughout. Picnic tables are available for those sack lunches or on-the beach barbeques. During summer, outdoor theater performances of Shakespeare are a real treat and worth attending. You will need a blanket, beach chair, wine, and cheese.
Boat ramps are also available for small boats, kayaks, or canoes. The East Shore is beautiful!
5. Meeks Bay on the West Shore has a white sand beach, emerald blue water, USFS campsites if you want to stay the night, and is great for swimming. Bring your umbrella as the sun can beat down on you at this altitude! This West Shore jewel is operated by the Washoe Tribe and is the traditional gathering place for the Washoe.
4. Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm. The State Park offers tours through one of Tahoe’s gems, Vikngsholm. Picnic areas are available for your sack lunch, and it is an easy hike. Most likely one of the most photographed locations around the lake. Pets have to stay home for this one though. They are not allowed. For a longer day hike, trails lead along the lakeshore with many small beach areas along the way.
3. Eagle Lake is an easy hike into Desolation. The lake is approximately 30 minutes from the highway and provides good swimming in summer, views, and access into Desolation. Climbers frequent this area. During winter months, hiking up and ice skating around the frozen lake is a challenge but worth the effort.
2. Angora Lakes is a pristine mountain lake located above Fallen Leaf Lake. The hike is a short 20 minute hike from the parking lot, just beyond the Angora Lookout. The swimming is on the chilly side and provides diving rocks on the west end of the lake for the brave. During winter months, cross country ski teams use the lake for practice skating.
1. Number one! This is a tough one as each experience is unique in its own way. For a relatively non-challenging hike with great views, beach access, wildlife, and photo-opportunities, I would choose the Rubicon Trail along the West Shore. The trail begins in D.L. Bliss State Park and ends at Emerald Bay or vice versa, approximately six miles. Breathtaking and just a day hike. Pets are not allowed. Along the trail are many coves for swimming or gazing across the lake. Plan to spend the day, hike the return or continue into Emerald Bay. You won’t be disappointed.
Cascade Lake sits beside Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay.
Trailheads leave from Emerald Bay and lead to Cascade Falls and three high country lakes, Snow Lake, Azure, and Kalmia. Good fishing. Trails are not well worn or marked and you can usually count on making camp by early afternoon. A topo is highly recommended even if you’ve been there before.
After more snow melts and the streams and waterfalls subside, I will post more. This is one of my favorite hikes around Tahoe but it’s just a little early. We’re still skiing!
This little cove is at the entrance to Emerald Bay. Easy hike and good boat access. We received a light shower of rain while hiking but has cleared up and the sun is out once again! Great spot!
While either snowshoeing along the lake’s edge, skiing off the ridge tops, or hiking into the back country, I reflect upon the wisdom of those who walked these lands before us. Their love of nature and its wealth of resources has preserved an environment that is truly precious.
Native American tribes, the Martis, Washo, Shoshone, and Piute, have lived in the Sierras for 6,000 years. They honored the land and used only the resources they needed for survival, believing that earth and man was one. To destroy the land would bring destruction to its people. They lived in concert with the environment.
John Muir, one of my Scottish heroes, referred to the high sierra crest as “The Range of Light”. Like many of us, he was dazzled by the symphony of color and ever changing tones of the Sierras. The vistas contiually change, giving us moments of reflection on nature’s majesty and unspoiled beauty. Muir first visited Lake Tahoe in the Fall of 1873 stating Lake Tahoe was the “queen of lakes” and devoted his life to preserving the Sierras. He believed destruction of the environment would bring destruction to man’s very soul.
Like Muir, I am continually amazed at the constant change of color and quiet peacefullness the land transfers. Like our Native Americans, I believe man and the land are connected, and feel fortunate Da-ow-a-ga is home. Rugged mountain peaks rise above mirrored lakes as spectacular granite sculptures, encompassing acres upon acres of wilderness. Let’s continue preserving this place we love so much!
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like Autumn leaves” (John Muir).