Tahoe’s Best Short Hikes

Is your idea of a vacation just sitting by a pool, sipping on something delicious and generally being about as active as a manatee? Well, believe it or not Tahoe is the place for you!

There are a number of really easy hikes in the Tahoe Basin some of which offer incredibly vast views of the Lake. Honestly we don’t deserve these vistas given the effort put forth but they are here and I am going to tell you about them.

The best one, which happens to be only 3 miles south of Tahoe City (you can bike or drive) is called Eagle Rock. It’s a huge rockpile located right on West Lake Blvd just after Sunnyside and before the Tahoe Pines neighborhood. On a bike (or in a convertible/sunroof car) you go past this incredible thing and feel as if it’s leaning over you. That’s the beak of the eagle. Park right at the base and start heading up, simply keeping an eye on the summit will get you there via obvious trails. Once on top you pick your way among old lava flows to get to the end and the most incredible view of Tahoe. This is a great date spot, a fantastic place to watch the full moon rise, and one of the coolest places to be when a storm is blowing into town. It’s perched at the base of Blackwood Canyon so wind and snow flurries get funneled through at high speed. Normally you’d have to be on top of a ‘real’ peak to feel this kind of angry nature but all you did was walk for 10 minutes!

The next best one is the old fire lookout above Crystal Bay Point and the north shore casinos. It’s a paved road that makes one big switchback so in about 20 minutes your at the top, looking directly over King’s Beach and due south down the length of Tahoe. It’s another phenomenal view with way more reward than risk.

Both of these are also great in winter, by the way. If you’re not in a rush it’s relatively easy snowshoeing, especially above Crystal Bay because it’s a wide trail.

The third and most popular of all Tahoe hikes is Eagle Falls. The reason it gets the most numbers is because it’s located in the number one tourist stop here: Emerald Bay. Supposedly each year hundreds of thousands of long-pants’d and leather-shoed visitors make their way to the bridge that’s about a half-mile above the parking lot. It’s a neat spot but I also like to hike down to the Lake from a nearby parking lot. At the end of this 1-miler awaits Vikingsholm and tiny Fannette Island, two of the most intriguing places in all of Tahoe.

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