From the "Y" in South Lake Tahoe, drive about 4.5 miles north
on highway 89 towards Emerald Bay. After passing the Visitor's 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
Description: The trail is mostly a wide path which winds steadily
up through pine and fir forest. The hiking 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 hiker. 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'll
begin 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 where you'll undoubtedly be visited by the resident pair of Mallards
looking for a handout. The view of the lake with Mt. Tallac in the background
is quite stunning as well.
a rest and perhaps a snack, you can continue south along the trail as
it winds its way up to Cathedral Lake. During the summer, Indian Painbrush,
Shooting Stars, and many other wildflowers adorn the trail. 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!
Concerns: The old backpacking sayings, PACK IT IN, PACK IT
OUT and TAKE ONLY PICTURES, LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS, apply doubly to this
high use area. It doesn't take much litter to ruin the feeling of being
away from civilization. We often bring a bag and do a little grounds keeping
while we're out here. Also, be sure to stay 100 yards away from both streams
and lakes when taking care of your personal business.
Mt. Tallac should not be tempted casually by novice hikers. Visit our
Tips Page for more information
on hiking and backpacking in the Tahoe wilderness.