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Why You Should Hike Tahoe's Mount Tallac

You can't beat these summit views.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Mount Tallac is one of our go-to day hikes when we're staying at our favorite Lake Tahoe basecamp, Zephyr Cove. This hike is particularly rad because it’s pretty challenging and endlessly scenic. You have both rewards of working hard and experiencing the beauty of what Tahoe has to offer. From the summit you'll have unrivaled views of both Desolation Wilderness and the entire Lake Tahoe area. The image above is a beautiful sunset over Pyramid Peak to the southwest while the photos below look east and northeast over Fall Leaf Lake, Cascade Lake, Emerald Bay and of course, Lake Tahoe.

Photo: Christian Arballo

You’ll even get to enjoy incredible views on your drive to the trailhead. You’ll wind through some trees and snag a view or two of the lake, make a turn inland at Mount Tallac Road and follow the signs to the parking lot. The hike begins at the trailhead on the southwestern side of Lake Tahoe, between Emerald Bay and Camp Richardson.

You’ll need a permit. Good thing they’re free and waiting for you at the trail sign. Make sure to fill out the form to register yourself before starting your 9 1/2 mile out-and-back day hike. Try and get an early start since it’s a longer journey. Plus experiencing the stillness of morning in Lake Tahoe is like nothing else. 

Photo: Christian Arballo

On the flip side, you could add headlamps to your packing list, and catch sunset from the summit. The only thing that could make the views from Tallac's summit better is golden hour! Also, don’t forget good hiking socks, shoes, plenty of sunscreen, and a camera too. It’s a lengthier hike so be sure to pack food and water. Once you get off the trail, you'll be hungry again so just head on back to the Zephyr Cove Restaurant for a warm meal and a cold drink. You earned it! 


Cover photo: Christian Arballo

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!

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