Guidebook

Summer Fun in Kirkwood, CA: Discover the Best Hikes

Kirkwood is best known for snow, but these trails in the surrounding mountains are reason to come back in summer.

Description

Maybe you’ve skied Kirkwood in the winter, when Thunder Mountain and the other peaks are cloaked in powdery Sierra snow. But the fun doesn’t have to stop when it melts. Blooming flowers, shimmering lakes, and dry trails beckon in the summer. Kirkwood’s place in the mountains between Tahoe and Yosemite make it a top-notch hiking destination, though it loses some attention to its more famous neighbors. That’s perfect if you seek less-traveled trails and more peaceful summits.

To explore the national forest and wilderness lands that surround Kirkwood, start with these 6 choice hikes. You’ll discover resplendent meadows, secluded swimming holes, and lofty summits. The trails range from short and sweet to long and challenging, so you can choose your perfect adventure. The mountains are calling!

Winnemucca Lake Wildflower Hike
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Winnemucca Lake Wildflower Hike

Lake Tahoe
1 - 2 hrs
7.8 km
192 m
192 m
Hike among especially colorful wildflowers and open meadows to a cliff-lined alpine lake.
Moderate
Private
The Emigrant Trail

The Emigrant Trail

Lake Tahoe
1 - 2 hrs
6.5 km
276 m
35 m
A short, easy hike from Emigrant Lake to Caples Lake.
Easy
Private
Lake Margaret Trail

Lake Margaret Trail

Lake Tahoe
0 - 1 hrs
3.7 km
67 m
123 m
Bring your swimsuits and fishing gear, it's a beautiful lake! And don't forget insect repellent.
Moderate
Private
Thunder Mountain Trail

Thunder Mountain Trail

Lake Tahoe
3 - 4 hrs
12.2 km
614 m
614 m
A must-do hike that is less difficult than it seems.
Moderate
Private
Summit City Canyon

Summit City Canyon

Lake Tahoe
4 - 5 hrs
18.3 km
897 m
897 m
Forested canyon with a flowing creek where an isolated mining town used to thrive, leading to a panoramic mountain pass.
Moderate
Private
Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon

Lake Tahoe
4 - 5 hrs
10.0 km
1,235 m
1,235 m
Very steep and direct route to the highest peak in the Desolation Wilderness.
Difficult
Private