Mount Tallac - the classic hike to one of Tahoe's most popular viewpoints

Published by 360 Pro , 8 October 2018, 18h51.

Region: World » United States » California
Date of the hike: 5 October 2018
Hiking grading: T2 - Mountain hike
Geo-Tags: USA   US-CA   Desolation Wilderness 
Height gain: 1000 m 3280 ft.
Height loss: 1000 m 3280 ft.
Access to start point:Mount Tallac Trailhead about 3.5 miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89

Mount Tallac is one of the classic and popular hikes in the Tahoe area. It is well known for the spectacular view of Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Tahoe, two small Alpine Lakes and the Desolation Wilderness. The standard route from the trailhead is about a 10 mile round trip with an elevation gain of about 3300 ft. Don't expect to be alone on this trail on a beautiful fall day!

When we arrive at the Trailhead north of South Lake at around 9 am, there are quite a few cars parked here already. We follow the very clear trail which first takes us to a nice moraine west of Fallen Leave Lake. The view to our goal and the different lakes are stunning already and the higher we climb the better it gets. The trail follows this ridge/moraine for a little more than a mile and then winds up to Floating Island Lake, which looks like a perfect mirror today. After another 3/4 mile with slightly more elevation gain we get to Cathedral Lake, another little gem of an Alpine Lake. This marks about half way to the top regarding the distance, but here is where the real elevation gain starts and the trail gets steeper.

The climb from here to the saddle at around 8700ft in Tallac's southeast ridge is well maintained, easy to find and leads through talus and scree. The remaining 1000 ft of the climb is now less steep again and the trail is east and a few hundred yards below the ridge line, getting back to the ridge shortly before the summit. At the top we take a long break and enjoy the stunning view with lots of other hikers before we retrace our steps back to the trailhead.

Hike partners: 360

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30 Mar 15
Mount Tallac · ejain
T4+ F WT1
27 Jun 10
Mount Tallac · keksesser
T1 PD+

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