If you are visiting Tahoe in the winter, then you really should consider this adventure. Fallen Leaf Lake is one of the most beautiful places in the entire area, and seeing it during the winter when it is peaceful and smooth is one of those experiences you will not forget. Of course, you need to rent snowshoes to do this, but luckily it can be done in Camp Richardson which is only a few miles away from the trailhead. Here is all of the information so you can go on this adventure yourself.
- Rentals cost around $20
- 1 mile of snowshoeing
- Location: 2165 Fallen Leaf Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
To get the snowshoes, I would recommend heading over to the Mountain Sports Center at Camp Richardson. It is the adventure store across the street from the historic hotel and it rents bikes in the summer and snowshoes/cross country skis in the winter. I signed the waiver and got sized for my shoes fast, then they gave me a map and told me how to get to the trailhead for Fallen Leaf Lake.
Fallen Leaf Lake
After driving about 7 minutes from the store, we reached the trailhead with enough parking for about four cars on the side of the road. Luckily this area is not that popular during the winter, so it was easy to grab a spot and head out on the trail.
I will say that it is not very easy to follow in the winter, especially if you are breaking the trail like we did. Be sure to note which direction the lake is on the map and keep your eyes peeled for the trail markers.
The lake itself is only about a half-mile from the parking area though, so it is close. You pretty much walk in a quarter mile and then there is a sloping hill that leads up.
We got off trail on the way there but headed towards the lake and found the trail again eventually. If you are nervous about route finding, you may want to stay away from this one or make sure to ask questions at the sports store. After climbing the small hill, you will get your first glimpse of the lake. I was shocked by how smooth the water was.
We took the trail that headed down to the beach and were at that waters edge in no time. I spent a good 20 minutes here as the views were one of the best I have seen in the California winter. Here are a few photos.
It started to snow, so we headed back to the car on the actual trail we had found. It was much easier to follow on the way back; only one section had been washed out, which is where we lost the trail in the beginning.
All in all, this was one of the best snowshoes I have done for how beautiful the lake was to how easy the snowshoeing was. I highly recommend you head over and rent some gear then get out on the trail and see this magical lake. Also, if you need lunch after, head over to Beacon Bar & Grill, which is the restaurant in Camp Richardson and is quite good. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.