“An excellent hike with lots of variety and stunning views.
— Mark Bradley
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildlife
The first half of the trail is relatively tame with great views, and it passes by two ponds that are great for swimming.
The route follows a ridge along the west side of Fallen Leaf Lake, before wrapping around to reach the summit of Mt. Tallac from the south. The trail offers incredible views of Lake Tahoe and the nearby peaks, a variety of terrain, and two swimming opportunities in small ponds along the way.
Need to Know
The second half of the trail offers very little shade. A day-use permit is required and can be picked up for free from the box at the trailhead.
The trail is well-marked and fairly obvious except for at the very top.
Pick up your permit at the trailhead, and follow the trail along the ridge by Fallen Leaf Lake, enjoying the views of Lake Tahoe and Mt Tallac. The trail will pass Floating Island Lake and Cathedral Lake, which offer good opportunities for taking breaks and soaking your feet (or whole body!)
After Cathedral Lake, the trail turns west and becomes more exposed. Watch your footing on the switchbacks winding up the scree field, and enjoy the views of Jack's Peak and the surrounding area when you top-out.
The remainder of the trail winds through alpine meadows and eventually ends at the summit. If you stop at the top for lunch, you're sure to make some furry friends, so watch your food! The views from the summit are definitely worth stopping to take in.