Home > Trips > South Lake Tahoe, CA: Tahoe Rim Trail
South Lake Tahoe, CA: Tahoe Rim Trail
Take two weeks to hike through superlative Sierra Nevada country on a 165-mile circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe. Ranging in elevation from 6,240 feet to 10,338 feet, the TRT spans two states (California and Nevada), six counties, one state park, three National Forests, and three Wilderness areas.
Major trip-planning beta below.
RESUPPLY MADE EASY
On a thru-hike starting at Echo Lake, you’ll never have to carry more than four days of food. Rest and resupply at these three spots.
#1. Tahoe City, CA
MILES FROM START 52
SHOP Save Mart Supermarket, 100 River Rd.
INDULGE Burgers and beers at Bridge Tender (530) 583-3342; 65 West Lake Blvd.
#2. Incline Village, NV
MILES FROM START 90
SHOP Raley’s Supermarket, 930 Tahoe Blvd.
INDULGE Ceviche Taco Salad at Hacienda de la Sierra (775) 831-8300; 901 Tahoe Blvd.
#3. Zephyr Village, NV
MILES FROM START 130
SHOP Safeway, 212 Elks Point Rd.
INDULGE Waffles and banana splits at Red Hut Café (775) 588-7488; 229 Kingsbury Grade
GUIDEBOOK AND MAP The Tahoe Rim Trail, by Tim Hauserman ($13; wildernesspress.com); Tom Harrison Maps Lake Tahoe Recreation Map ($10; tomharrisonmaps.com)
Water gets scarce starting in July. Tank up before these sections: Tahoe City
to Mt. Rose Highway (38 miles; consider a cache at Brockway Summit); Kingsbury North to Spooner Lake (20 miles); Spooner Lake to Ophir Creek (18 miles).
Required only in the Desolation Wilderness. Half kept for walk-ups ($5/
hiker/night; 530-543-2694; fs.fed.us/R5/ LTBMU/). Thru-hikers must pay fees, but aren’t subject to site quotas.
TO TRAILHEAD: Directions to the Echo Lake Trailhead. From South Lake Tahoe, take US 50 W 7.6 miles to FR 11NO6C. Turn right and drive .1 mile to a slight right onto FR 11N06 (becomes Echo Lakes Rd.) and go .9 mile.
Tahoe Rim Trail
Distance: 168.09 mi
Total Time: none
Speed: 0.0 mph
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Active Time: none
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Tahoe Rim Trail
Points of Interest
Location: 38.833766, -120.042377
From Lower Echo Lake trailhead), hike along the
eastern edge of four small lakes dotted with
granite islands. Also, here you'll find the Echo Chalet Forest Service outpost.
Location: 38.847194, -120.087484
At mile 3.1, enter the wilderness where the TRT and the Pacific Crest Trail merge
Location: 38.865545, -120.130261
Stop at the boulder-strewn shores of Lake Aloha for a swim beneath Pyramid Peak and the spired crest of the
Crystal Range-watch for marmots near the pile of rocks known as Cracked Crag
Location: 38.877922, -120.134600
In spring and early summer, an outlet creek creates a snowtunnel waterfall perfect for showerin
Location: 38.879264, -120.126699
At mile nine, camp at Susie Lake with views of 9,974-foot Dick's Peak. Push
Location: 38.904128, -120.139116
Push 1,600 feet to Dick's Pass the next morning, where, after a few hours of climbing, you'll have huge views of a dozen lakes and 130-mile visibility north to 10,462-foot Lassen Peak (on clear
Location: 38.921425, -120.152498
The next 2.5 miles drop 1,000 feet to Fontanillis Lake, where you can rest your dogs in crisp, clear water.
Location: 39.024358, -120.211980
Richardson Lake, a tree-lined tarn with
campsites on the northwest corner
Location: 39.049266, -120.244305
The last 6.7 miles to Barker Pass (12) traverse rolling
terrain through dense forest dotted with
meadows. End at Barker Pass trailhead.
Location: 38.876337, -120.146250
Nav tip: At the northern side of Aloha, turn east away from Mosquito Pass toward Glen Alpine; it's a frequently missed turn.
Location: 38.878352, -120.138667
In half a mile, reach Heather Lake, encircled in
flowers and hemlocks.
Location: 38.933407, -120.149473
Pass Upper and Middle Velma Lake (10), each with nearby camping. Water up here, as the trail enters an eight-mile dry section through firs to Richardson Lake
Location: 38.832037, -119.912210
Location: 39.157551, -119.886984
BACK TO TRT
Location: 39.280206, -120.030868
BEST VIEW YET OF LAKE
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