Five Early Season Hikes in Lake Tahoe
April 9, 2021
Some consider Lake Tahoe the spring skiing capital in the US and conditions can be mixed with sun, snow and rain. That being said, spring is also one of the best seasons for hiking in this. region. While snow will stay up high for quite a while, there are plenty of options at lower elevations for hikers of all abilities. The other nice thing about spring is that the crowds die down for a couple of months before the summer ramps back up. Here are five trails that you can hike in the early spring season.
One of the most beautiful spots in all of Lake Tahoe, this trail get a decent amount of sun and can melt out pretty quickly in the spring. This moderate trail will have you down by the lake staring out at Emerald Bay, with snow covered peaks in the distance. One thing to be aware of is how popular this trail is. If you’re heading here on a weekend, you’ll want to get to the parking lot early to secure a spot.
Not only does this path get plowed in the winter, it gets plenty of sun to keep it dry as soon as spring hits! Take the paved path out and back for eight ish miles with minimal elevation gain. Another option is to pop down, even closer to the Truckee River, and hike on a faint dirt path right on the water’s edge. A great trail for the family, the dogs, and bikes.
This trail is just west of Truckee and because of its lower elevation, you can head down here as early as march. From the parking you can choose from a mixture of trailheads that pass through thick forest and some rocky terrain. Along the way you will see multiple watering holes that are great summer hangouts. Additionally, you might see rock climbers scaling the cliffs all around.
This trail will likely have spots of snow in the early season, but for the most part should be manageable. A nice cross-country path that take you out and back for around 17 miles, and you will cross through creeks, thick forest, and rocky terrain. Make sure to pack some snack and water as it can take half a day round trip.
China Cove Trail Loop
A nice trail at lower elevation, this one features the beautiful Donner Lake. This area is used for cross country skiing in the winter and melts out pretty quickly in March or early April. A great trail for dogs and overall, very moderate. This trail is great for packing a picnic as you will reach the shores of the Lake after a short while and will have expansive views of Donner Summit.