Backpack to Ropi Lake

Pyramid Creek Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Emily Kent

This is an absolutely breathtaking hike up to the serene, uncrowded Ropi Lake during which you'll pass by some of the best waterfalls around Lake Tahoe. Camping near Ropi Lake under the stars with Pyramid Peak looming in the not-too-far distance makes for a beautiful overnight outdoors.

The trailhead to begin this hike is located at: 38.8117 N, 120.1237 W. From Hwy 50 just south of Lake Tahoe, take Hwy 50 southwest for almost 11 miles, where you'll turn into the parking lot after crossing Pyramid Creek. There is a $5 day-use fee to park in the trailhead parking lot.

The hike is 5.6 miles round-trip, though plan on it taking significantly longer than an average hike of this distance. You'll experience impressive elevation gain (roughly 1900 feet), and a lot of scrambling on big boulders in parts. The trail is not well marked past the first half-mile at best, so it's advisable to hike near or along Pyramid Creek, keeping the water within earshot or eyesight along the way. About 1.5 miles into the hike, you'll get to the base of Horsetail Falls (you have to do some bouldering to get here, so be sure to wear supportive, good-grip hiking boots). As you continue to climb to the top of the falls, the views are out of this world. This is a hike for those who don't take issue with heights!

From here, continue northwest toward Ropi Lake where you'll also be treated to Ropi Lake Falls. It's a fantastic lake for camping with an abundance of beautiful viewpoints. As one of the smaller lakes in the Desolation Wilderness area, it offers an uncrowded, quiet place to overnight. There is an abundance of wildlife including black bears, so it's advisable to bring along a bear can for any food items. And don't forget your camera!

Distance

5.6 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

1900 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Lake
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Nearby Lodging

From $63/night

Outsite Heavenly

South Lake Tahoe, California

Coleville / Walker KOA

Coleville, California

Placerville KOA

Shingle Springs, California

Reno KOA at Boomtown

Reno, Nevada

Community Photos

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful place but difficult access

The hike up to Ropi Lake is only around 3 hours but expect 4 hours or more to make it all the way there. The trail is not much of a trail and is more climbing over boulders than hiking. Incredibly beautiful and well worth it but expect to do some climbing if you take the wrong path. Once you get to Ropi Lake you will not want to leave due to the sights of the valley and Pyramid Peak looming above.

One of the best ways to enter Desolation Wilderness

Hiking up Horsetail Falls is one of the most scenic and exciting ways to enter Desolation Wilderness. You probably shouldn't attempt this hike unless you feel very comfortable route finding, because there isn't a trail for the majority of the hike. When you get to the base of Horsetail Falls, make sure you climb on the west side of the falls. There is a cairn path about 200 yards west of the falls that will make you ascent a little easier and more efficient.

G Lupo

over 2 years ago

Awesome Hike

Beautiful Area. We did it as overnight backpacking trip. The lakes are just great places to camp. However, path finding can be tricky. There is no well marked trail on the upper section. But a bunch of stone man. About half way up stay on the left, move away from the river. Work your way uphill through the boulder fields all the way up. The upper section close to the river is steep and exposed. The trail is more a climb then a walk. Not soo easy with heavy backpacks, especially downwards. There can be bugs at the lakes in the night.

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