Fallen Leaf Lake South lake tahoe, ca

It's the second largest lake in the Tahoe Basin.

Fallen Leaf Lake is a great option if you want to escape the crowds in Lake Tahoe. That's not to say this isn't a popular spot. Since it's easily accessible and there are campgrounds and parking, on busy summer holiday weekends you'll still deal with crowds, just less so in comparison to other popular areas like Chimney Beach.

We come here in the winter too since it's also a great quiet snow shoeing spot. You can check out our winter pictures here.

Right off of Highway 89 you'll see signs for Fallen Leaf Lake. As you drive up the access road you'll see the campgrounds on your right and can pretty much park wherever there's a spot. And once you start walking, you'll see clearly marked trail signs, which makes this a great, safe hiking spot.

It's a quick hike to access the lake.

Shorter than one mile; slightly uphill, slightly rocky, but then a quick descent down right to the lake shore.

Memorial Weekend crowds

The views!

The water is also just as clear as Lake Tahoe...and just as cold...which I don't mind.

In fact, the cold water is so refreshing to me that I usually run in and out of the water all along the trail. It tastes good too! 😁

The hike around the lake perimeter is about 8.1 miles. Since there's a campground nearby parts of the trail are also accessible for horse back riding. We didn't see any and Mom made sure to stay along the paths that were just for hikers.

We did come across a lot of other doggies, both leashed and unleashed. During busy season (May - October) the general rule applies: dogs must be under voice control. If you're not sure, or if you're not sure how your dog will react to other dogs, best to keep your pup leashed.

For those who aren't familiar with Tahoe climate - you get hot (and can burn) very quickly in exposed sun. It can feel almost 10 degrees warmer than it actually is, but in the shade it gets very cool, so it's best to wear layers to adjust to the varying climates.

The big trees also provide some nice coverage along the entire trail so furry guys like me don't get too hot.

Your fur parents want to know:

  • Yes, there is parking
  • Yes, this is an off leash park
  • No, there are no doggy (or human) water fountains
  • No, there are no poop bags
  • No, there are no trash bins (pack it in, pack it out)
  • No, there are no benches
  • No, there are no toilets (unless you're by the campgrounds)

🐾 Caesar

Created By
Miran Liu

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