Mount Talloc Trail, Lake Tahoe

My wife and I just recently hiked Mount Talloc Trail in the Lake Tahoe area, and it was one of the most beautiful hikes we've ever done. It was also one of the most difficult - some parts of this trail will really kick your butt. The summit is more than worth it, though, and judging by reviews of the trail online, most people agree. If you are looking for a challenging hike with incredible mountain vistas, this hike is an excellent choice.

The trail is strenuous: about 10 miles round-trip, and a ~3,300 foot elevation gain to the summit (6,600 ft change in total), so you should be in good shape before attempting the summit. You should plan for the hike to take you about 8 hours, and you'll want to get an early start - about 8 AM is good. Given how hard the hike is, and the lack of water sources along the way, I recommend taking 3-4 liters of water per person, and plenty of high-energy food. Portions of the trail are also extremely steep, so if you have hiking poles you'll want to bring them. You should also be prepared for some rock-scrambling.

We did the trail in April, and there was still considerable snowfall once you got high enough. There was so much snow, actually, that large portions of the trail were inaccessible, and hikers were finding their own paths to the top. For a couple of hours, the only 'trail' we could see were the footprints of other hikers, actually. While this made portions of the hike very difficult to navigate, it also added to the overall adventure of the trek.

The trailhead is in the Camp Richardson area near downtown Tahoe. There is a small loop with parking spots at the trailhead, and road parking leading up to that loop:

The trail is pretty easy to follow (assuming it isn't covered by snow), and has some sign postings where necessary, although lacks well-marked blazes. There is a split in the trail fairly early on - make sure you take the trail on the right towards Cathedral Lake. Be warned, there are three false summits, so don't get discouraged when you reach each one! ;)

The views from the summit are phenomenal, and in many places, the scenery around the trail itself is gorgeous wilderness:


We traveled to Tahoe specifically to hike this trail, and stayed at The Alder Inn in South Tahoe. I highly recommend it - it's much cheaper than the surrounding hotels, and is very comfortable. The rooms also have a fridge and microwave, so you can bring fixings for a good breakfast before the hike. Alternatively, any hotel in South Tahoe will position you well to get an early start on the hike!

Enjoy the adventure!

Ben Hilburn

Ben Hilburn

bits, nibbles, bytes, and words
D.C. Metro Area