Lower Eagle Falls in Emerald Bay State Park

Eagle Falls is a set of waterfall tiers that eventually cascade down into the creek that runs into Emerald Bay. This post is specifically about the short spur that leaves from near the Emerald Bay Visitor Center and goes to Lower Eagle Falls. It is a short .3 miles if you leave from there, but the closest parking lot is a mile away which adds 2 miles to the hike round trip. This is a great waterfall in one of my favorite state parks in all of California through, read on for all the information.

Details

  • .6 miles round trip from Emerald Bay, additional 2 miles round trip to the parking lot.
  • 50-100 feet of elevation gain from Emerald Bay
  • $10 to park

Getting There

The hike is located in Emerald Bay State Park, which one of the busiest spots in South Lake Tahoe. I would recommend getting to the lot before 8:30 AM if you go on a summer weekend as the parking lot is not very big and it fills fast. Be sure to pay the attendant or fill out the parking slip before hiking down.

The Trail

The hike down to Emerald Bay is no big deal on the way down but it is tough to hike out of on the way back up, especially if it is hot, so take your time.

When you make it down to Emerald Bay, proceed to the visitors center, which is where the trailhead for Lower Eagle Falls leaves from.

The trail heads uphill the entire time, staying with a creek for the first tenth of a mile.

You will reach a bridge which provides a nice view of the stream and a small waterfall in front of you, but don’t cross it for this trail.

Continue up the rock steps as they help you gain the elevation needed to reach the falls.

Eventually you will reach the platform that is the viewing area for Lower Eagle Falls.

I went in 2017 after an awesome winter, and the falls were flowing like crazy. It was impressive to see, and you got misted with water the entire time you were there. I walked around and explored a few small spurs before ending my time at the waterfall.

If you make it this far, be sure to spend some more time in Emerald Bay, tour the castle, hike the Rubicon Trail or kayak over to Fanette Island. Let me know what you think about this hike in the comments.

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  • spiffikins

    I was up at Lake Tahoe in early June – I actually hiked up to *Upper* Eagle Falls – very impressive after years of drought! Sadly by the time I got back down to the parking lot, it was blowing and raining sideways, so I wasn’t able to go down to the Bay itself and to Lower Eagle Falls in that trip!

    • That’s awesome, I only saw upper once and it was in a drought year so it was not flowing much. It was awesome to see lower flowing like crazy this year though.

  • Brett Stauffer

    I would suggest getting to the trailhead before 8:30 am most days during the summer.

    • That’s a good tip, thanks!