Hike To Eagle Falls & Eagle Lake - A Great Beginner Hike

By: Alex Silgalis

For those that haven’t taken their first step into the Great Outdoors, it can be a bit intimidating. Luckily, hiking doesn’t require special skills or equipment. All you’ll need is the ability to walk and to know where you are. The biggest mistake most beginners make is picking a trail that’s too tough. You want a challenge, but not one that’ll make you regret it. And of course, you should pick one that gives you a reward at the end. There isn’t a more perfect hike to start with than the short jaunt to Eagle Falls.

Eagle Falls at Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe
Eagle Falls @ Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe

Hike To Eagle Falls

When it comes to scenery, the Eagle Falls trail offers up some of the most beautiful landscape the Lake Tahoe Basin has to offer. Cascading waterfalls, large granite peaks, lush vegetation, and most of all, lots and lots of evergreens. The beaten path starts off easily as you slowly ascend from the parking lot. After about a ¼ mile, you’ll head up a path of lovely stone stairs cut right into the rock wall itself. After about another ¼ mile, you’ll come upon the falls themselves.

Eagle Lake above Eagle Falls Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe
Eagle Lake above Eagle Falls Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe | Photo: Local Freshies

Eagle Lake – Well Worth The Effort

If you’re feeling a bit winded from the elevation, you can turn around here. For those that have the energy, we HIGHLY recommend continuing forward to Eagle Lake. As the trail continues up, be sure to stop whenever the forest canopy opens to gaze upward at the towering mountains surrounding you. As you come upon Eagle Lake, veer left and continue until the path ends at an extensive collection of fallen boulders. When you get here, you’ll realize why we recommend venturing further. As the glassy water reflects the mountainscape above, it will take your breath away. Definitely worth the effort!

Eagle Falls Trail Lake Tahoe
Eagle Falls Trail Lake Tahoe | Photo: Photo: Local Freshies

Directions To Trailhead:

Take Highway 89 North, approximately 8 miles from South Lake Tahoe to Eagle Falls Picnic Area. Note: There is a parking fee at this trailhead.


  1. Being so close to South Lake Tahoe, this trail is very popular. It’s best to visit early in the morning, or better yet, come during the shoulder season such as spring or fall.
  2. Don’t forget to bring cash to pay for parking.
  3. If you’re considering hiking all the way to Eagle Lake, be sure to pick up a Desolation Wilderness permit at the trailhead.
  4. Across Highway 89 is the world-famous Emerald Falls you’ve seen in countless photos. These easily accessed falls provide a fantastic vista of the cascading water with Emerald Bay as its backdrop.

More Lake Tahoe hiking information

Help Us Remain Pristine

Lake Tahoe is an ancient marvel filled with 37 trillion gallons of 99.9% pure, sapphire blue water that we are fortunate to recreate in and around. Please respect its pristine nature and that of the surrounding forests and mountains by packing out all you pack in. If no trash container is handy or is filled, take your trash with you and find another appropriate receptacle. 

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