Echo Lakes Trail in Lake Tahoe

Hikers of all ages and ability levels can find something to suit their tastes on the Echo Lakes Trail. If you’re looking for a quick hike, take a short walk to the far end of Upper Echo Lake. For longer hikes, continue on Echo Lakes Trail to visit popular destinations such as Lake Aloha (12 miles) or Lake of the Woods and Ropi Lake (13 miles). Trailhead: From South Lake take Highway 50 towards Echo Summit and turn onto Johnson Pass Road. Stay left until you reach the parking area at Lower Echo Lake.

  • Distance: Anywhere from a short walk to a 13 mile hike.
  • Average Time of Hike: Varies
  • Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Notes: A wilderness permit is required for this hike

Hiking and Backpacking the Echo Lakes Trail

We can never get enough of the fresh air and scenic beauty of our hometown paradise, and judging by the emails, calls, and reviews we read from our valued guests, they agree wholeheartedly! Whether skiing the slopes of Homewood Mountain Ski Resort, playing in the waters of our famous Lake Tahoe, or hiking and backpacking the trails that traverse Tahoe and Truckee, you’ll be sure to agree with all those who have come before: Tahoe is for people who love the outdoors! Today, we will be talking about the Echo Lakes Trail, a hike that offers great rewards with every step. Keep reading to determine if the Echo Lakes Trail is the right fit for you and your family.

Choose Your Distance

Although the Echo Lakes Trail can last as long as 13 miles, because it stays relatively level, has very few ascensions, and can be as shortened as much as you need, it is still an easy hike to take. The basic trail is about 8 miles long, but even that can be shortened to 3 miles if hikers take advantage of the water taxi that will shuttle you across the waters of Echo Lakes. Popular with backpackers who enjoy camping at the various lakes that can be found along the way, it is also leashed pet friendly, but unless your precious pooch is used to hiking in rocky areas, we recommend leaving Fido at home; the rocky trail can cause pain and damage to the sensitive pads on your pet’s feet. Novice backpackers will find that this is the perfect trail to “cut their teeth” on, as it is well-marked and is not in a desolate location.

Choose your ending at one of the many beautiful lakes: A short walk to the Upper Echo Lake is perfect for families with young children; a 12-mile hike to the cool waters of Lake Aloha DOES have a 2000 feet elevation rise, and a quick dip will be much appreciated; the more grueling hikes to Lake of the Woods and Ropi Lake are recommended for experienced trekkers. Hiking and backpacking trips are best undertaken from March through September, as ice, snow, and frigid temperatures can be unsafe for the amateur adventurer.

Whenever you choose to travel to Lake Tahoe, stay in one of our comfortable vacation rentals and make the most of your trip!