Lake Tahoe Mountains

Considered by many to be the premiere hike of the Lake Tahoe region, the Mt. Tallac Trail ascends over 3,300 feet to the summit of, you guessed it, Mt. Tallac. At the summit, expect views of the Desolation Wilderness, Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay. Trailhead: Located on CA-89 approximately 3.5 miles north of South Lake Tahoe. A sign marks the trailhead.

  • Distance: 9.6 miles
  • Average Time of Hike: 7 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 3,300 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Trail Type: Out and back
  • Notes: A wilderness permit is required.

Hiking and Backpacking on Mt. Tallac

The natural beauty of the Lake Tahoe region will cause you to want to spend much of your time exploring it during your vacation, no matter what time of year you visit. Winters are for skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding, summers are for spending time on the lake, and spring and fall are the best times of year to try your hand at hiking or backpacking!

The weather is still cool enough to keep you from overheating, and the scenery-be it newly blooming with delicate flowers in the spring or vibrantly exploding with a blaze of color in the fall-will simply take your breath away. If hiking and/or backpacking is on your list during your stay, you’re going to need some information about the trails. Below, we discuss the trails on Mt. Tallac.

Which Trail Is Right for You?

The Mt. Tallac trailhead offers a choice of three different trails for hikers and backpackers: Floating Island Lake Trail, Cathedral Lake Trail, and Mt. Tallac Trail, which ascends to the summit of majestic Mt. Tallac.

Floating Island Lake Trail lasts 1.7 miles one way and is an easy to moderate trail that can be perfect for novice hikers. It is pet friendly for leashed dogs and is best taken during the summer months, as snow and ice can cause difficulty any earlier. Cathedral Lake Trail lasts 2.5 miles one way and is also an easy to moderate trail, but the 5-mile total distance may be best for more experienced hikers. Cathedral Lake Trail is also pet friendly for leashed dogs. Both these trails offer stunning lake views.

The Mt. Tallac Trail, however, while offering breathtaking views of the surrounding areas, is considered extremely difficult, lasting 5 miles one way and ascending over 3500 feet. Hiking and backpacking the Mt. Tallac Trail is an experience many hikers dream of, but should probably only be attempted by our guests who are in prime physical shape. For those who can, you will be glad you did. Mt. Tallac is often considered the “jewel in the crown of mountains” that surround our stunning Lake Tahoe.

The Best Part of Any Lake Tahoe Hike

It’s the return to your Tahoe Signature Properties vacation escape where you can wash the grime of the day away as you soak aching muscles in deep and jetted tubs. Reserve yours today!