Finding Fall Color in South Lake Tahoe

2 Miles Round Trip -

Fallen Leaf Lake Campground - Search Nearby - Added by Annelise Del Rio

Stunning fall foliage with aspens and other trees and plants brightly coloredPretty scenery of an alpine lake, mountains, and forestWildlife including waterfowl and bright red spawning Kokanee salmon

Fallen Leaf Lake is a large alpine lake near Lake Tahoe. There is a trail that runs along the lake that is open to hikers, horses, mountain bikers, and leashed dogs. Its an easy trail that is mostly dirt along a relatively flat path. Overall it is about a 2 mile hike. As you walk along the lake you will see mountains covered in evergreen trees and in the fall, brightly colored trees and bushes line the lake shore. The trail crosses a dam so in the fall look for bright red Kokanee salmon aggregating in the stream below to spawn. The trail forks after the dam. Taking the path to the right will bring you to a large grove of aspens for a scenic out-and-back extension to the trail. Taking the trail to the left will lead you through another grove of colorful aspens and evergreens back to the lake edge which has a few picnic tables and benches along the shoreline. Eventually the trail will dead end at a gate that marks where private property begins so retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

To get to the trail, drive to Fallen Leaf Lake Road which is about 3 miles down HWY 89. To start closer to the lake turn right into Fallen Leaf Lake Campground and keep left to get to the day parking for the lake trail. From the parking lot follow the trail and then make a right as the trail takes you along the edge of the lake. The campground closes from November-May so if you visit the lake in the winter start at the trailhead that has parking just past the campground entrance, on the left.

To see more colorful aspens turn right when leaving the campground and continue down Fallen Leaf Lake Road. A little ways down and to the right there will be a few spots to pull off next to a large meadow that has a few winding dirt paths through more brightly colored aspen stands.The best time to see the fall foliage is in early to mid October. The different trees species will peak at different times and the same species may peak at different times in different locations, but you are almost guaranteed to see some fall color (and the salmon) during the first 3 weeks of October.


Mountain Biking
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Picnic Area


2 Miles

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South Lake Tahoe, California

Fallen Leaf Campground

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