• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    9.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3255 Feet

Scenic

One of the more scenic and challenging hikes in the South Tahoe area with incredible views of the Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe itself. Shorter but more intense than the Glen Alpine Trail/ Gilmore Lake. Tallac/ Rubicon is probably one of the best day hikes you can do.

The classic 9½ mile out-and-back day hike to Mount Tallac begins at the trailhead on the southwestern side of Lake Tahoe, between Emerald Bay and Camp Richardson. When driving to the trailhead, make a turn inland at Mt. Tallac Road and follow the well-signed route to the reasonably sized parking lot. Be sure to register your day hike in the Desolation Wilderness area. Free permits are available at the trail sign, which must be filled out in full before proceeding on the trail. The route begins through light forest before heading up to a ridgeline which follows alongside the shores of Fallen Leaf Lake and provides some great views.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sun block
  • Hiking boots/ good socks
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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Reviews

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Ok, first of all WOW! This hike was amazing, such a payoff for a relatively quick hike. The ascent was challenging, but the view of Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake was incredible. Serious note...I don't think there are wolves in Lake Tahoe, but 5 minutes into the hike 3 deer ran across the trail quickly followed by 2 giant wolf like dogs. We spent the rest of the hike carrying big sticks. Lake Tahoe NEVER disappoints!

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

Great hike as others have said. I did this hike in early January and there was a lot of ice on the trail. It made going up and down the steep sections mentioned by others tough, at least for me. I was able to do it without anything other than my boots but had to do a lot of it on the rocks not covered by ice or snow a little off the actual trail. Still a very fun and beautiful hike, just be aware of the conditions if you do decide to go in winter.

about 2 months ago
about 2 months ago

Hiked to the top of Mt. Tallac the other day with two of my friends! SO BEAUTIFUL. Sweeping views of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Desolation Wilderness. Along the way you'll pass by 2 little lakes - perfect to soak your tired body in on the way back down. It was our first time hiking the mountain and it took us 3 hours to get to the top, with an ample amount of stopping, and about 2.5 hours to get back down. The hike starts along a dirt trail and eventually winds over a rocky area. Keep your eyes open to follow the trail - it can get a little confusing at times. I'd recommend leaving early in the morning since it gets hot, and thunderstorms often roll in during the summer afternoons. We met some people who had attempted to summit but had to turn back because of strong hail and wind. Check the weather beforehand! I highly, highly recommend the hike! Bring plenty of water, snacks, and GOOD SHOES. You won't regret this adventure!!

6 months ago
6 months ago

I've done this hike twice now and still love it. It is pretty challenging but never gets old. Nice mellow trail past Fallen Leaf then steep up the switch backs to the first view of desolation wilderness! After that you'll have a few false peaks until you scramble a tiny bit up to the real one! Then you get a gorgeous view of fallen leaf and all of Lake Tahoe. Very fun day hike!

7 months ago
7 months ago

Beautiful hike with a lot of variety in terrain and scenery. A definite highlight in the South Lake Tahoe area. However, pay close attention to signs and do your homework ahead of time. As you approach the last couple miles the signage and path seem to disappear. Depending on what route you take there's some pretty steep scrambling and the route to the summit isn't initially clear once you reach the top of the scrambling. Completely worth the confusion though, and the view is accessible even before you get to the peak.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Definitely one of the best hikes in the Tahoe Basin. You get sweeping views of both Tahoe and Desolation Wilderness. This is a very popular hike, but that has never stopped me from doing. In my opinion, one of the best ways to do this hike is to get there for sunrise. You have to leave at about 3AM, but it is totally worth it.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Pronounced: 'Tuh-Lak' Summary: ~5 miles out and same back; ~3,100 elevation gain Duration: <2.5 hours to peak (if fit, but much longer if not) When: hiked late summer to avoid snow Which: hiked main Tallac Trail, but other options include Glen Alpine (longer) and Middle Tallac (steeper and shorter) How: park at Mount Tallac Trailhead; fill out pass; start hike, which encounters loose rocks and climbs in earnest; go past two lakes and climb up rock headwall; at trail post, go right to Tallac (if you go left you are going down Glen Alpine Trail;) keeping right, scramble up rocks along bit of ledge and you will quickly reach summit, which is close to 10,000 feet and offers abundant views Pitfalls: bears may be encountered, which happened in my case; descent can be confusing, because you have scrambled to peak and retracing your path down can be difficult --- take precaution! Directions: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Montbleu+Resort,+Casino+and+Spa,+Stateline,+NV/Mt+Tallac,+California+96150/@38.916075,-120.0889436,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x80999a82c3f76a5d:0x81982e3b96d3fe64!2m2!1d-119.9390089!2d38.9613058!1m5!1m1!1s0x8099889a8f72b719:0xc8beacc7f994119c!2m2!1d-120.0987966!2d38.9060188 Parking: ample early, but limited later Pass: required to carry Pets: sure, but puppies should not hike until grown Provisions: food and water (duh!) Equipment: hiking boots (c'mon;) poles offer more challenge than assistance (in my opinion;) backpack with mobile phone and perhaps safety supplies

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Some of the best views I've ever seen

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Awesome hike that took me 5 hours. From the the Mt. Tallac trailhead pick up a free permit then head along the trail with Fallen Leaf Lake on your left. You'll then hit two beautiful lakes: Floating Island Lake and Cathedral Lake. After Cathedral Lake you'll have some rocky and steep terrain that's very exposed, but the view is amazing! Once you get to the top you'll have a 360 view of beautiful Lake Tahoe!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

One of the things I loved about this trail is that it takes you through all sorts of landscapes. It absolutely beats those summit treks that are pure switchbacks. You will pass not one but TWO small lakes both very different from one another. The area with large boulders is fun to 'off-road' for a bit and scamper around. The summit is just breathtaking with so much blue below and above you.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

The map on this review takes you to a different trail head, the Glen Alpine trail head. You can still get to Mnt. Tallac from there but it is about 12 miles round trip vs the 9 miles at the other trail head. It was a nice trek, took about 6.5 hours for us but we got off the trail once for about an hour.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

You can bring your dog on most trails in Desolation Wilderness!

over 4 years ago
over 4 years ago

Christian Arballo

↟South Lake Tahoe Native • Living in San Francisco &#13;&#13; ↟Northern California Adventurer and Photographer&#13;&#13; ↟Connecting with Hiking/Backpackers

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