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General Information: In the summer, this area is swarming with people and cars and is best avoided, especially on weekends. However, in the winter, you might have the entire lake to yourself! The beauty of the Tahoe wilderness in winter is hard to overstate and Eagle Lake has its fair share. The trail is a bit steep in some areas pushing this ski tour into the intermediate range.


Where To Start: Emerald Bay is located a few miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. The Eagle Falls trail starts at the end of the Eagle Falls parking area ($3.00 fee required). Depending on the road and weather conditions, you may be able to park for free on the road.

Trail Description: From the parking area, the trail heads up the north side of the creek until you cross a bridge over the falls. From there on, the trail is on the south side of the drainage. The route proceeds higher over a series of "benches" topping out after only three-fourths of a mile. Eagle Lake is small but pristine, surrounded on two sides by steep cliffs. It is possible to continue across the lake when it is frozen but extreme caution is advised. When in doubt, stay off the ice. It is also possible to continue on to Lower and Middle Velma Lakes by heading southwest from Eagle Lake up the slope to a somewhat hard to find notch and then west from there. It is unlikely ttracks thus gooo be tracked, so good route finding ability is required. This should be attempted only by experienced backcountry travelers. If you have the skills, however, the effort is well rewarded with spectacular backcountry scenery.

Environmental Concerns: Pack it in, pack it out. Stay 200' away from water when eliminating waste. Burn or carry out toilet paper.

Advisory: This is an avalanche prone area (Highway 89 closes ofter and for several days at a time after a storm) so be sure to carry avalanche gear, know how to use it, never travel alone, and check the avalanche forecast before heading out. Changeable weather in the Sierra make carry the right clothing and gear essential. For more information on this, check out our Backcountry Travel Tips.


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