Hiking in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is known for its beautiful hiking trails and sometimes it can be overwhelming to find the right trail for the right occasion so lets delve into the plethora of hiking options in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The outdoors are for ALL people so when making the decision on which trail to go explore, there are a variety of different considerations. Is a trail family friendly? What do easy, moderate, difficult trail classifications really mean? Can a person bring their dog? Is it the right time of year to be doing this particular trail? What kind of wildlife may I encounter? Below we will discuss each of these questions.

Even though some trails are very heavily trafficked, a person never knows what could happen while hiking so make sure to always bring some water, sunscreen, snacks, and have a first aid kit handy. The most useful considerations when deciding whether a trail is family friendly or what level of difficulty it may be is to find information on the elevation gain, distance, and ease of accessibility or how well the trail is maintained. To find all of this information click here. Generally for children mild elevation gain, low mileage, and well maintained trails are the most appropriate. The most child friendly trails at our state parks are Donner Memorial Park Nature Trail, China Cove, General Creek, Dolder Nature Trail, and Eagle Falls Vista Point Loop.

Unfortunately dogs are not allowed at any of the state parks designated trails; near the river or creeks; in the open forest and meadows; or in the environmental campsites. Dogs are allowed on the fire roads, the paved roads, in the regular campgrounds and the day use picnic areas. For more information on where you can bring your dog while visiting a state park click here. It’s always a good idea to call ahead before you bring your dog, since conditions can change, such as wildlife habitat protection, revegetation and other projects.

Most trails are accessible throughout the Tahoe area May through September, depending on current snow conditions. Not all locations provide updated trail conditions, but by visiting a state parks individual website one will be able to get a better idea about snow conditions, wildlife, fire safety, and available facilities. To visit a state parks individual website click here

With the chaos of modern life, people’s rates of stress, depression, anxiety, obesity, and diabetes are exponentially increasing. Research has shown that the existence of an easily accessible green outdoor space for community members to enjoy improves an individual’s mental, physical, psychological, spiritual, and social wellbeing. Additionally, time spent in green outdoor spaces increases prosocial behavior, self-esteem, attentional restoration, productivity, inspiration, and enables social empowerment. The COVID-19 Pandemic has engrained the importance and value of our wonderful state parks to our mental and physical well-being.

Luckily, there’s a way to support the Sierra State Parks Foundation while staying safe! The Hike for Parks is our virtual hike/run/walk fundraising running from July 27th to September 7th with a $35 participation fee. Participants set an individual goal, that can be done anywhere, that counts towards a collective goal of 1500 miles. Upon completion of their hike/run/walk, each participant will receive an e-certificate. All proceeds go to funding our local state parks! To join Hike For Parks click here