TRT Big Meadow to Echo Summit

Rate this Adventure Lake Tahoe Big Meadow Trail

Added by Tahoe Rim Trail Association

  • 15.3 mile trek to Echo Summit
  • Optional side trip to Echo Lake (c'mon, you're almost there, just another 2 miles)
  • Duration: Overnight

Between Big Meadow and Echo Summit, the trail wanders from meadows to lakes to creeks, and through dense stands of pine, fir and aspen. The trail heads south from Big Meadow trailhead across a gently rolling landscape of grassy meadows and fragrant conifer stands. The shaded shores of Round Lake is nestled beneath high cliffs. Further on, the TRT merges with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) and swings north through flower filled Meiss Meadows and alongside the cool head waters of the Upper Truckee River. The trail then climbs past granite lined shores of Showers Lake and through a rocky bowl where seasonal creeks tumble down steep ridges into lush meadows. Further north the landscape becomes more rugged and much drier, and opens into occasional views of Lake Tahoe. The trail drops over a granite ridge in a long steep downhill traverse before leveling off. A small stream outlined with ferns and flowers provides a refreshing respite before the short ascent to the Echo Summit Trailhead. Source

Key Points:
  • Water - is available from Round Lake, the Upper Truckee River and Showers Lake. All water found on the trail must be treated before drinking.
  • Caution – Be prepared for sudden weather changes, strong winds, and high altitudes. Please carry a map, as many unmarked trails and fire roads cross the TRT.
  • Signage - The trail is marked at intervals with light blue, triangular TRT logo signs
  • Leave-No-Trace—The TRTA supports and encourages LNT practices while on the trail. (see map for details).
  • Camping – is allowed within 300’ of the trail and 200’ away from a water source.
  • Fire – Fire danger can be extreme, and fires, camp stoves, and smoking may be prohibited. Check trailhead kiosks or call the USFS (530-543-2600) for current regulations.
  • Shuttle car - you'll want to park one near the Echo Summit trailhead if you're only planning to go the 15.3 miles to the summit

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Food
  • Fire Permit (if making a campfire or using a gas stove)
  • Trekking poles (Optional)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Hiking

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn


Dog Friendly

Are we missing something?

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How to Get There

about 3 years ago

pack light, tread lighter

about 3 years ago

Added by Tahoe Rim Trail Association

The Tahoe Rim Trail Association is a volunteer, non-profit 501(C)(3) organization established in 1981 to plan, construct, and maintain the Tahoe Rim Trail. This 165-mile, twenty-four inch, single-track trail is open to hiking, equestrians, and mountain biking (in most areas). The trail encompasses the ridge tops of the Lake Tahoe Basin, crossing six counties, and two states. The Tahoe Rim Trail overlaps with approximately fifty miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Currently the association is run by a board of directors consisting of approximately 14 members from a wide variety of backgrounds. For more than 20 years the TRTA focused on closing the loop around the ridge tops of Lake Tahoe. Since that goal has been reached, the focus of the TRTA has turned to improving and maintaining the trail and encouraging responsible recreational use of the trail. The leadership of the Association consists of a President, Secretary and Treasurer. There are seven vice-presidents that serve as the chairmen of the seven main committees that support this group. All other members of the board serve as members of the committees. Non-board members may serve as committee members. If you are interested in getting involved in this aspect of the Association please contact the office by email at

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