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Easy-to-Reach Adventure

Lake Tahoe, of course, is much more than villages of casinos, hotels, and vacation cabins: The natural scenery here is of the world-class variety. The Cathedral Lake Trail provides a highly accessible exploration of the Tahoe backcountry (the Desolation Wilderness, to be exact), a place of looming summits, boulder-strewn conifer forests, and plentiful waterfalls and tarns. It sets off from the Tallac trailhead, a short distance from South Lake Tahoe's bustling main drag.

Roughly a four-mile round-trip hike of relatively easy grade, the route takes in Fallen Leaf and Floating Island lakes on its way up to the namesake body of water, nestled beneath the mighty crown of 9,739-foot Mount Tallac. If you want a sample of Sierra Nevada wilderness within a stone's throw of Tahoe's services, don't miss the Cathedral Lake Trail!

Utrip Tips

*Don't miss Floating Island Lake along the way
*This is on the way up to Mount Tallac, so if you're feeling extra bold, go for it!
*Local Expert Mike Papa recommends exploring the Desolation Wilderness

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