Three easy fall hikes at Lake Tahoe that are the quickest drive from Reno (the North / East side of the lake)
Sand Harbor State Park Walking Trail
- Less than a mile
- No climbing / flat walkway / clearly marked
- Bring $10 for parking
- Don’t expect to swim. The water is COLD.
- The best / most accessible place to take stunning pictures
- EVEN BETTER when there’s snow on the mountains — these were taken in April, when the sun was out
- Best to go in Fall / Spring (my opinion)
During the summer — Sand Harbor State Park at Lake Tahoe is BUSY. So busy, it’s tough to even get in the parking lot. Boo.
So for that reason — I usually only go during the down season.
Just a few days ago, it was actually pretty warm (first week of September) , like 85 degrees. But this day felt like the first day of fall for SURE. Fifty-seven degrees and wind gusts of 25 mph aren’t exactly great beach weather, but it’s kind of cool seeing the shift in temperature, atmosphere, vibes, and for the first time I’ve seen — WAVES!
These pictures were taken on an overcast day in early September.
When we first got there – it was sunny.
But then it got more overcast…
It probably wouldn’t have been that cold – but the wind was WHIPPING!
FLUME / TUNNEL CREEK TRAIL
Can be easy, or tough, depending on which route you take
- Views of the lake almost from start to finish!
- If you stay on the main dirt trail towards the bottom of the trailhead, there’s no climbing or steep incline really involved
- the trail forks off in several places — no matter where you go, it’s all beautiful!
- If you take the steep uphill trail, it’s a workout! But cool views of big boulders and the lake towards the top
- Park across the street from the Tunnel Creek Cafe
Not to mention — this is a great place to watch the sunset
- Depending on which loop you take, this can be less than a mile hike – or up to 21+ miles if you take the mountain biking route
- the walking trail has very little gain in elevation
- clearly marked trail
- okay for dogs / kids
- mostly walking through the woods
- view of Washoe Lake if you take the short out & back addition to the view of the Dam
We did the Tahoe Meadows trail before heading to Sand Harbor, and it was really cold, for this time of year. But when the sun was out – it felt alright.
This was towards the end of the trail — with an overlook of Washoe Lake! This was an easy trail with not much elevation gain, and would be good for dogs or kids (or husbands who don’t really like hiking! ha).
We won’t be living in Nevada much longer – so if anyone has any bucket list trails around Reno or Lake Tahoe — let me know! I’ve done quite a few!