passing the Visitor Center on the right, look for a sign for Tallac
Trail, Camp Shelley, and Camp Concord off to the left. Follow the signs
on this road back to the Tallac Trailhead. In the winter, this paved
Forest Service road may not be plowed. If this is the case, you can
usually park at the beginning of the road and ski to the trailhead.
Description: The trail winds steadily up through pine and fir forest.
The skiing is not flat, gaining over 700' to Floating Island Lake, but
taken slowly is well within the ability of most moderately fit people.
Filtered views of Mt. Tallac to the west and, as you climb onto the
ridge overlooking Fallen Leaf Lake, beautiful Lake Tahoe views to the
east and north reward the tourer. The trail runs along the ridge for
awhile then turns west and descends a small gully, only to climb again.
Shortly after climbing out of the ravine, you may be able to hear the
splashing of the creek that flows from Floating Island Lake. The trail
switch-backs a couple of times close to the stream then tops out on
a small rise as the lake comes into view. The best place to enjoy the
views and peacefulness of the lake is along the northern shore. The
view of the lake with Mt. Tallac in the background is quite stunning
a rest and perhaps a snack, you can continue south along the trail as
it winds its way up to Cathedral Lake. After less than a mile and 500'
of vertical, Cathedral Lake will open before you. Although Cathedral
Lake is not much in itself, the trail just above the lake, as it climbs
through a series of flat rock ledges, offers fantastic lunch spots with
million dollar views.
on this trail will eventually get you to the top of Mt. Tallac, but don't
be fooled by the short 2.5 mile distance. The hike from Cathedral to the
top of Tallac can take several hours and at times involve severe avalanche
descent is quick and fun, but will test the ability of novice skiers.
The trail can occasionally get icy and is, in some places, narrow with
lots of turns amidst the trees. Still, this tour is considered to be an
easy intermediate tour.
Concerns: Pack it in, pack it out. Go to the bathroom at least
100 yards from streams and lakes.
Although the risk is usually minimal, in the right conditions, parts of
this trail could avalance, particularly above Cathedral Lake. Be sure
to check the Avalanche Forecast before you head out. Only you can evaluate
snow stability! As always, dress for the weather and pack more clothing
than you think you will need.