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General Information: Granite Lake is a little Tahoe jewel tucked away in the fold of the ridge leading up to Maggies Peaks. The trail is steep through a fairly heavily forested area making this an intermediate plus ski tour. For the more hardy and experienced telemarker, the trail continues steeply up from Granite Lake to Maggies Peaks. From the top of South Maggies Peak the views of Tahoe, Cascade, Emerald Bay, and the Desolation Wilderness are stunning.

Where To Start: Emerald Bay is located a few miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. The Bayview trail starts at the end of the Bayview Campground opposite Inspiration Point which is the scenic overlook located one mile before you get to Emerald Bay.

Click above for map and elevation profile

A wooden sign points right to Granite Lake and left to Cascade Falls.

Trail Description: From the gate at Bayview Campground, head back along the road until it ends. Look for a sign that says, "Granite Lake" (if it's not covered by snow!). The trail switch backs up the forested slope through pine and fir forest that was badly damaged by Bark Beetles during the drought of the early 90's.

Many of the trees have subsequently been removed making the forest a bit thinner and easier to ski through than just a few years ago. The trail passes a small drainage that flows out of Granite Lake. Just after this crossing, the trail levels out some and bends sharply back toward the east. Large granite boulders at this turn provide seating for a well deserved rest stop with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay. From this point, head back along the drainage while it continues to climb for another 1/2 - 3/4 mile to Granite Lake. The total elevation gain for this part of the hike is about 880'.

After a little R & R at the lake, you can continue up to Maggies Peaks. This is a steep slope requiring many switch-backs. Your goal is the saddle between the two peaks. At the saddle, you have climbed 600' above Granite Lake and have another 350' to go to the summit of South Maggies. Once at the saddle, continue just a few hundred feet then head left (south) across a sparsely forested slope. Continue up-slope until you reach the summit. From the top, you have panoramic views of several lakes including Tahoe and Cascade to the east, Mt. Tallac to the south, and the Crystal Range to the west. There is also an inspiring view of the rounded Cascade Canyon that shows the effects of glacial action in forming the Sierra Landscape.

The climb to North Maggies is more demanding with some route finding and steep skinning. The view from the north peak includes Eagle Lake and the Velmas as well as Cascade, Emerald Bay and Tahoe.

To descend, reverse your tour. This tour can take from 2 to 6 hours round trip depending on your condition.

Environmental Concerns:

Advisory: Getting to either North or South Maggies Peak involves off-trail travel. Although the route to South Maggies is straight forward, you should still have a topo map and compass and know how to use them. It is possible to descend too far east and come to a cliff band. Under NO circumstances should you descend these cliffs. Instead, retrace your route up the mountain a bit and then head west and down until you intersect the saddle. This is an north facing, avalanche prone slope, so be sure to carry avalanche gear, know how to use it, and check the avalanche report before heading out.

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