Guidebook

Circle Beautiful Lake Tahoe on the Tahoe Rim Trail

Circumnavigate Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in the USA, on the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail.

Description

The Tahoe Rim Trail encircles Lake Tahoe in a 165-mile loop. It roughly follows the crest of the mountains that drain into the lake, thereby providing a complete tour of this giant, crystal-blue water body from all angles. In addition to views of the lake, you’ll enjoy beautiful panoramas of the surrounding Sierra Nevada and Carson mountain ranges, alpine forests, glacial basins, and snowmelt streams.

Along its length, the trail crosses or nears several roads where trailheads are located. These trailheads conveniently divide the loop into distinct segments, allowing for section hikes of day or multi-day length, as well as resupply points for long-distance trekkers. Camping is available at designated campgrounds or dispersed backcountry camping along the trail. Where you start or finish does not necessarily matter, but most backpackers choose to begin at the trail’s lowest point along the Truckee River in Tahoe City.

Tahoe Rim Trail: Tahoe City to Brockway Summit
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Tahoe Rim Trail: Tahoe City to Brockway Summit

Lake Tahoe
6 - 7 hrs
30.7 km
1,053 m
838 m
Beginning at the lowest elevation point of the Tahoe Rim Trail, this section is the start of a 165-mile journey through the mountains around Lake Tahoe.
Easy
Private
Tahoe Rim Trail: Brockway Summit to Mt. Rose Summit/Tahoe Meadows
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Tahoe Rim Trail: Brockway Summit to Mt. Rose Summit/Tahoe Meadows

Lake Tahoe
7 - 8 hrs
33.5 km
1,377 m
861 m
A strenuous but gorgeous segment through the Mount Rose Wilderness Area and over the trail’s highest point, Relay Peak (10,338 ft).
Difficult
Private
Tahoe Rim Trail: Mt. Rose Summit/Tahoe Meadows to Spooner Summit
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Tahoe Rim Trail: Mt. Rose Summit/Tahoe Meadows to Spooner Summit

Lake Tahoe
7 - 8 hrs
36.8 km
928 m
1,407 m
Walk the lofty divide between Lake Tahoe’s basin and the Great Basin, with huge views over the desert ranges of Nevada to the east and the familiar blue water to the west.
Difficult
Private
Tahoe Rim Trail: Spooner Summit to Kingsbury South Connector
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Tahoe Rim Trail: Spooner Summit to Kingsbury South Connector

Lake Tahoe
6 - 7 hrs
27.6 km
1,028 m
830 m
This relatively short section traverses the west side of the Carson Range through lush conifer forest, stands of aspen, and flowery meadows.
Difficult
Private
Tahoe Rim Trail: Kingsbury South Connector to Big Meadow
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Tahoe Rim Trail: Kingsbury South Connector to Big Meadow

Heavenly
7 - 8 hrs
35.6 km
1,148 m
1,299 m
One of the most scenic parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail, this section begins the visible transition from the arid slopes of the Carson Range to the lake-speckled glacial basins of the greater Sierra Nevada.
Difficult
Private
Tahoe Rim Trail: Big Meadow to Echo Lakes
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Tahoe Rim Trail: Big Meadow to Echo Lakes

Lake Tahoe
6 - 7 hrs
27.9 km
1,025 m
991 m
Explore a patchwork of forests, meadows, and lakes in the Upper Truckee River Basin south of Lake Tahoe.
Difficult
Private
Tahoe Rim Trail: Echo Lakes to Barker Pass
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Tahoe Rim Trail: Echo Lakes to Barker Pass

Lake Tahoe
1 day +
49.6 km
1,729 m
1,654 m
A section shared with the Pacific Crest Trail that tours many alpine lakes and incredible overlooks in the glacier-carved granite valleys of the Sierra Nevada’s Desolation Wilderness.
Difficult
Private
Tahoe Rim Trail: Barker Pass to Tahoe City
The best Adventures on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Tahoe Rim Trail: Barker Pass to Tahoe City

Lake Tahoe
5 - 6 hrs
25.6 km
645 m
1,056 m
Hike along the rolling ridgelines west of Lake Tahoe with epic views over the lake and tranquility among shady forest and flowery meadows.
Difficult
Private