There is a reason why so many outdoor enthusiasts visit Lake Tahoe every year! From the crystal clear turquoise depths of the lake to the soaring peaks of the surrounding mountains, the breathtaking natural beauty is perfect for outdoor adventures in Lake Tahoe! In the warmer weather, one of the best ways to explore Lake Tahoe is hiking one of the many trails that wind through the lush forests and offer panoramic views for brave adventurers. While North Lake Tahoe is undoubtedly where you’ll find the perfect blend of tranquility and adventure, if you’re interested in exploring South Lake Tahoe, this is a great trail to do just that! One of the most popular hikes in South Lake Tahoe is the Skyline Trail located at the top of the mountain at Heavenly Ski Resort. Discover why the Skyline Trail Tahoe is a must-visit, learn how to prepare for the hike and get ready to enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe!


Where is the Skyline Trail?

Located in vibrant South Lake Tahoe, the Skyline Trail begins at the top of the Heavenly Ski Resort where visitors can find incredible hiking and mountain biking in the summer. Situated at the top of the mountain, the trail unfolds through the lush forest, where hikers will have to navigate rocky paths, steep inclines and wooden bridges.


How to get to the Skyline Trail

To get to Skyline Trail, guests will have to drive to Heavenly Village and take a ride to the top of the mountain. Because the trail runs along the ridge of the mountain, you can access it at many points on the trail. You can take the Heavenly Ski Resort gondola to the top and you can also access it from the Carson Valley Overlook. If you choose to ride the gondola, you’ll be treated to a 2.4-mile ride with breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, and offers picture perfect opportunities to capture the moment at the observation deck before you begin your hike. You can also find coffee shops and Heavenly’s gift shops if you want to browse before you hit the trailhead.


What to Pack for the Skyline Trail

Making sure that you are prepared for the elements is the most important thing that you can do when you are heading out into nature. To prepare for a great hike be sure to have comfortable hiking gear, sturdy footwear, a camera to capture the panoramic views, water to stay hydrated, and snacks to energize yourself. Given how the weather can roll in and out quickly, consider bringing a light jacket and always make sure to apply and pack sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.

Here is a quick list of the basics you should wear or have with you for a successful day on the trail! 

  • Sturdy hiking boots that have been broken in 
  • Hiking clothing – tech material and light layers
  • Light jacket 
  • Hat 
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Bug spray


How long is the Skyline Trail?

Unlike some of the longer trails around Lake Tahoe, this one is actually a fairly manageable two-mile trail (round trip) that offers hikers stunning views and allows you to explore the wilderness without having to hike too far. However, this relatively short hike is still rated as moderately challenging due to the steepness of the trail in some sections. If you take your time and make sure you’re sufficiently fueled and hydrated, no matter your age or fitness level, you will be able to manage this trail. Once you’re at the summit, all the difficult sections of the trail will be wiped from memory because the spectacular views make it all worthwhile! If there’s one thing to remember it’s to take the time to pause and enjoy the stunning forest and capture those Instagram-worthy moments!


Wildlife on the Skyline Trail

Hiking in Northern California is beautiful but this area is home to a diverse collection of wildlife from birds to bears to fluffy squirrels and chipmunks. Because this trail is on the mountain where Heavenly Resort is located, the likelihood of coming across a bear is fairly low but you should always be bear aware and make sure to learn about hiking safely in the area before you go. The more likely wildlife sightings that you might encounter are chipmunks, squirrels, birds and you may even get a glimpse of the elusive yellow-bellied marmot! These adorable creatures are unafraid of humans and cameras, and you can get some great shots of these friendly creatures as they curiously peek out at you. Remember–take as many pictures as you like but be sure to keep your distance and don’t feed wildlife!