On the West Shore of South Lake Tahoe is a gem tucked away in the mountains above. A crystal clear alpine lake sits nestled amidst looming granite mountains and hundred year old trees. The quiet serenity and the brilliant blue water isn’t the only appeal for Eagle Lake, as there is opportunity for sport climbing, trad climbing, rock jumping, and class 4 and 5 scrambling around the area. 

To Access Eagle Lake Cliffs Crag, head to the West Shore of South Lake Tahoe. You’ll want to park at Emerald Bay Parking Lot and head to the trail register. It’s almost always packed, so come early, or plan to park on the road and walk. Sign yourself and your party number in for the day access pass, it’s totally free. 

Start heading up the dirt staircase trail of Eagle Creek Canyon. For the most part, it’s pretty straightforward. Follow the signs as they lead you up, until you come to a bridge. Cross over the bridge, take a few pictures of the waterfall and Lake Tahoe from up above, and continue onward. 

The next 30 minutes are reminiscent of the Mist Trail in Yosemite. Lots of steps, beautiful views, and tiring but enjoyable hiking. Stick along the main path, which at different times has you meandering over granite slabs, or walking a compact dirt trail. You’ll head up another granite staircase after a short walk through some forest, and after about 2 minutes you’ll come to a small sign reading “Eagle Lake” pointing to your right. Head that way, and you’ll come upon the beautiful lake in no time!

When you arrive, continue following the trail to your left, sticking alongside the lakeshore. There are numerous offshoots to the trail that take you directly to the lake, but keep going all the way around to find large a granite field to scramble across to access some of the less visited beaches, and to access to some of the best crack climbing in the area. 

Head for the rock and when you're tired jump in the chilly water! Enjoy!

If you’re looking for a bite and a brew afterward, head to Lake Tahoe Brewery. I definitely recommend trying a flight of their beers. Excellent atmosphere, great brews, and good vibes.

Pack List

  • 60m Rope
  • 6-12 Quickdraws
  • Trad Rack
  • Climbing Shoes
  • Walking Shoes
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Daypack
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RT Distance 4 Miles
Activities Photography, Swimming, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back


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