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Access the High Sierra

It's hard to beat the Eagle Lake Trail for a Tahoe dayhike: The trailhead's an easy drive from the casinos, shops, and eateries of South Lake Tahoe; the round-trip mileage is a mere two miles; and the payoff—the namesake lake—lies cupped in classic High Sierra scenery, gleaming granite outcrops and all.

But don't feel like you're going to have to go all the way to the lake to see some amazing sights. If you're not feeling like conquering the lake hike, there's a the bedazzling Lower Eagle Falls right across the highway, and handsome cataract—Upper Eagle Falls—a quarter-mile up the trail..

If you do plan on going to Eagle Lake, the elevation gain is just 400-some feet, though you may be huffing and puffing a bit if you haven't been hitting the gym (or the trails) lately. That said, for the reasonably fit the Eagle Lake Trail is all-ages suitable and rich in gorgeous vistas. A couple caveats: Unless you want to experience the fine art of "herd-hiking," steer away from summer weekends, and be sure to fill out the free wilderness permit at the trailhead before embarking.

Utrip Tips

*Be careful crossing the road to get to Lower Eagle Falls.
*If you want to hike up to Eagle Lake, you'll need to fill out a permit.
*Recommended by Local Expert Tony Lyle

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