The autumn months create a unique time for hiking. The same hikes which capture adventurers souls during summer months are excellent options during autumn. Places like Sand Harbor and Hidden Beach particularly offer beautiful sunsets this time of year. Exploring the imposing canyons and peaks of the high sierra, like Mt. Tallac and Castle Peak, are also gems during the fall months. Trails are less crowded, the air is colder, and the forests paint the magnificent granite walls of the Sierra Nevada with haunting red, orange, and yellow. Besides the hikes that we recommend during summer, here are additional hikes we suggest to experience the colors of fall.
Eagle Rock is a volcanic outcrop and rises to 6286’ right on the western shoreline of Lake Tahoe. A moderate 20-minute hike leads to a dramatic and picturesque view. This hike is one of the easiest ways to get a panoramic view of Lake Tahoe. At the summit, hikers enjoy the imposing peaks of Desolation Wilderness to the east and Lake Tahoe to the west. This is an excellent short hike, especially if you are on the way to Emerald Bay or other gems on the West Shore. Eagle Rock is located on Highway 89 between mile marker 67 and 68, right before Homewood Ski Resort heading south. Park on the west side of the road. There is a signed trailhead from the parking area that immediately starts to ascend around the main face.
Spooner lake is located on the east shore of Lake Tahoe and is a State Park. The park host sold-growth pine, fir, and aspen groves, reflecting their autumn colors off the clear waters of Spooner Lake. The lake itself is filled with brown and rainbow trout and is an excellent place to fish during the fall. Hikers and fishermen and fisherwomen can utilize BBQs, picnic areas, and restrooms. There is also a 2.5-mile trail that loops around the lake, allowing explorers to take in the forests array of fall colors and the looming peaks above. Parking is available at the trail in the state park. There is $10.00 parking fee per car. If you pay for the entrance fee here, you can also visit Sand Harbor afterward as the entrance fee is valid for both state parks.
Paige Meadows hosts five separate pastures connected by multiple trails. The meadows are located south of Tahoe City on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. The pine, fir, and juniper filled old-growth forests in the area are quite enchanting during autumn months due to splendid coloration and less crowding. Visitors also enjoy views of the imposing peaks overhead—Twin Peaks, Scotts Peak, and Ward Peak. From the parking area, hike 1 mile to the Tahoe Rim Trail. Here there is a junction with trails splitting left or continuing right, continue right, and this will take you to the first meadow. The first meadow offers the best view of the mountains in the background. Stay on the main spur trail, and it will take you to the next meadow, and so on. Don’t veer off the main trail unless you are sure you can find your way back. You can easily get lost on one of the various side trails. The full loop is 13 miles, and you started walking counter- clockwise if you followed the above instructions. The easier option is to go as far as you feel and then turn around. Dogs are allowed. Paige Meadows is also perfect for a mountain bike ride.