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Placer County, California

Placer County, California is a top destination for outdoor adventures. The best trails and outdoor activities are plentiful here. One must-visit is the Stevens Trail, a scenic 9-mile round trip hike that offers stunning views of the American River Canyon. The trail is moderately difficult with steep inclines and rocky terrain, but the sight of the river, waterfalls, and wildflowers make it worth the effort. For those interested in rock formations, the Donner Summit Canyon trail is a great choice. It features intriguing granite formations and views of Donner Lake. If you're up for a challenge, the 6.9-mile round trip hike to Shirley Canyon is a must. You'll pass by rushing streams, waterfalls, and have a panoramic view of Squaw Valley. Remember to pack a picnic to enjoy by the lake! These are just a few of the best outdoor activities in Placer County, California.

Top Spots in and near Placer County

  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Baldwin Beach

    4.5
    Baldwin Beach offers a half mile of views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains. People come to this beach to relax and picnic. This is also a popular launch spot for those kayaking or stand up paddling to Emerald Bay.  This beach is on national forest land and has a parking fee of $8.00...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Paddle from Baldwin Beach to Emerald Bay

    4.0
    Explore Lake Tahoe's southern shores by paddling from Baldwin Beach to Emerald Bay.  There are many places to stop along the way for photographs, snorkelling, or swimming. The more popular ways to paddle from Baldwin Beach to Emerald Bay are by SUP or kayaks.  But paddling a foamie can be extra f...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Hike Mount Tallac

    4.9
    9.5 mi / 3255 ft gain
    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 ...
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  • Twin Bridges, California

    Hike Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon

    5.0
    7.4 mi / 4100 ft gain
    Pyramid Peak is the tallest peak in the Crystal Range and the Desolation Wilderness, just west of Lake Tahoe. On a clear day it can be seen from the Bay Area over 150 miles away. Named for its distinct shape, Pyramid a massive heap of glaciated granite slabs and talus, and the Rocky Canyon route ...
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  • El Dorado County, California

    Photograph Black Bears at Taylor Creek, South Lake Tahoe

    / 30 ft gain
    Lake Tahoe is a tourist attraction filled with spectacular views and a plethora of wildlife. However, one species in particular has made a lasting impression on both locals and tourists - black bears. The area around Lake Tahoe is prime bear habitat and cities in the vicinity are seeing a rising ...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Chillin at Lake Tahoe's Kiva Beach

    4.7
    Kiva is a secluded sandy crescent beach flanked by a beautiful meadow and mountain backdrop. This beach is rarely crowded and has free parking unlike other beaches in Tahoe. Kiva is a great place to bring dogs and is actually well known as a dog beach. Kiva is also accessible from the bike trail...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Paddle from Kiva Beach to Emerald Bay

    4.0
    Grab your paddleboard or rent one from Baldwin Beach, and head out along the southwest shores of Lake Tahoe towards Emerald Bay. Enjoy the pristine blue water and keep your head up for the occasional osprey or bald eagle.Once you make it to the bay, there are plenty of places to go. You can relax...
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  • Tahoma, California

    Glen Alpine Falls and Grass Lake

    4.8
    5.29 mi / 725 ft gain
    Park your car at the Glen Alpine Trailhead adjacent to Lily Lake and southwest of Fallen Leaf Lake. Head west on Glen Alpine Creek Trail passing Lily Lake on your left. After a little over a mile and a half of trekking through the alpine forest and taking in mountain views, you'll arrive at Alpin...
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  • Tahoma, California

    Susie Lake, Desolation Wilderness

    5.0
    7.96 mi / 1496 ft gain
    Starting at the Glen Alpine trailhead (best access to Susie Lake): To get to the trailhead, head toward Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe. From HWY 89, turn onto Fallen Leaf Rd and drive past the summer homes and marina until you reach a small firehouse on the left side of the road. You'll fol...
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  • Tahoma, California

    Hike to Half Moon Lake in Desolation Wilderness

    5.0
    11 mi / 1600 ft gain
    This hike starts at the Glen Alpine Trailhead near Fallen Leaf Lake. Because Desolation is a wilderness area, you are required to fill out a day-use permit which can be found at the trailhead. If you are backpacking make sure to obtain an overnight permit either online or at the Taylor Creek Visi...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Gilmore Lake in Desolation Wilderness

    8.66 mi / 1919 ft gain
    The easiest way to get to Gilmore Lake is to start at the Glen Alpine trailhead. The trail head is southwest of Fallen Leaf Lake. There is a decently sized parking lot at the trailhead, but parking is also available on the road up. Because desolation is a wilderness area, you must fill out a perm...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Photograph Fallen Leaf Lake's Cascading Falls

    5.0
    This amazing waterfall is right off the road near the Fallen Leaf Campground. Once you enter the campground keep driving straight just a bit further and you will see a pull off on the right hand side. Pull off here and you should see the cascading waterfalls between the trees. Park here, get you...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Camp at Fallen Leaf Lake

    5.0
    Fallen Leaf Lake is truly one of the more beautiful places in California. Separated from Lake Tahoe by just a one-mile strip of land, it feels worlds away from the crowds and fuss. The campground has over 200 sites that can be reserved here. There are endless hikes nearby including Mount Tallac a...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Photograph the Milky Way over Fallen Leaf Lake

    Fallen Leaf has been my favorite spot in all of Tahoe since I can remember. The beautiful shoreline sits right up against the base of Mt. Tallac with almost zero light pollution. It is one of my favorite spots to go and shoot the stars. There are tons of spots to pick from depending on what you a...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Swim at Fallen Leaf Lake

    4.0
    Lake Tahoe has so many beautiful and breath-taking places to visit, hike, camp, wander around, etc. and Fallen Leaf Lake is definitely one of them. It's free to visit and park too and it is an easy hike from the parking area to the lake. The lake is very tranquil and serene and for those who wa...
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  • Twin Bridges, United States

    Hike Horsetail Falls

    4.2
    2.8 mi / 700 ft gain
    Great views are waiting for you at the top of Horsetail Falls. Pyramid Creek flows down the steep, glacier carved granite faces of Desolation Wilderness to create this awesome waterfall that is estimated to be about 800 feet tall. You will follow Pyramid Creek up the granite rocks to the top of t...
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