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TrailPhoto Guide Eagle Lake Trail

West of Lake Tahoe Area

Photo: Eagle Lake California Lake Tahoe Region TrailPhotos.com
Other TrailPhoto Guides are available, with information at TrailPhotos.com

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TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake Trail

SETTING: Eagle Lake Trail is located right on the edge of the famous Emerald Bay on the southwest side of Lake Tahoe. Its quick proximity makes it a very popular and easy to access trail. It is short, scenic, and ends at Eagle Lake, which makes it an excellent starter trail for those who want a quick sample of the Lake Tahoe area wilderness. This TrailPhoto Guide totals 2.1 miles over a single trail and back. Exposed rocky peaks mix with forest, until you reach the soothing lake ampitheater. FEATURES: DIRECTIONS: (Trailhead is located near black star symbol on map) * Difficulty Rating - Easy * Scenic Value - 9 out of 10 * Best Seasons - Summer/Fall (Winter/Spring: snow covered). From Sacramento on US 50 east: Follow US Highway 50 east from Sacramento, approximately 108 miles, coming into South Lake Tahoe (pass by the first turnoff for Hwy. 89 on your right near Meyers, continuing on Hwy. 50). Reach the main junction of Hwy. 50, which continues into S. Lake Tahoe, and Hwy. 89 which goes north from the stoplights, and bear left on Hwy. 89, the Emerald Bay Road. Continue on Hwy. 89 north past a commercial strip and Camp Richardson, then climb above Baldwin Beach to Emerald Bay. Pass Inspiration Point, then shortly after at approximately 8.5 miles from S. Lake Tahoe, reach the paid parking area for Eagle Falls and Eagle Lake Trail on your left. From Truckee on I-80 east: Exit onto Hwy. 89 south near Truckee, following along the Truckee River to Tahoe City in about 14 miles. Turn right on Hwy. 89, and go approx. 18 miles south to Emerald Bay. From Reno, NV on I-80 west: Take I-80 to Truckee (34 mi.), and exit onto Hwy. 89 south. Follow the instructions from Truckee, above. General location in northern California (in highlighted box). Detailed information about Lake Tahoe: (at http://www.tahoe.com) and Eldorado National Forest: (at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/).

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TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe : Eagle Lake

* The topographic map below shows the trail highlighted in purple. USGS Topo : Emerald Bay, CA. * Approximate locations of the photographs in the trail description pages are identified by the letters A - K on this map. The arrows show the direction the camera was pointing for the photos. * Note: A segment of CA Hwy. 89 just north of Cascade Lake is missing on map, but in fact connects. West of Lake Tahoe Area - Eagle Lake Trail

A B C E F I D G J K H

P

D A B C

F E

G H

I

J K

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TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
Approx. Trail Mileage -

* The Eagle Lake Trail starts from parking areas along the road next to Emerald Bay. From the west side of the road, the trail begins from a picnic area pull off. In a short while, views of craggy peaks catch early rays of the morning sun, as seen in Photo A. Proceed along, heading gradually upward.

Photo A .12 mi.

* Begin climbing a series of steps along the trail, continuing uphill through mixed light forest.

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Photo A - Morning sun scrapes the nearby peaks

* The trail soon draws closer to the river that flows down to Eagle Falls and Lake Tahoe below. Shortly, the trail leads to a rocky ledge along the riverside, to a bridge footpath crossing in Photo B. * Soon after crossing the bridge, another set of stairs appear on the trail. Climb these stairsteps as you approach a leveling from which to again catch a view of the peaks beyond.

Photo B .23 mi. - -

Photo B - Bridging the river gap

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TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
Approx. Trail Mileage -

* Pause after the short climb for a view off to your right of the nearby peaks, now catching a broader swath of the morning sun (Photo C). These are the major rock faces exposed above Emerald Bay, and a continuing presence along the trail to Eagle Lake. *Farther along, generally up and through the woods, the next pause brings you to a rock ledge and leveling at a forest opening.

Photo C .35 mi.

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Photo C - The major rock sentinels just north of the trail

* At the rock ledge, the first good peek from the trail back to Emerald Bay and greater Lake Tahoe beyond appears. * This is not the classic wide view of Emerald Bay so often seen on Tahoe calendar shots, but refreshing nonetheless. * Photo D, taken from the rock ledge clearing, brings one of the panoramas that come so freely along the shores of Lake Tahoe.

Photo D .7 mi. - -

Photo D - Emerald Bay and the gap out to Lake Tahoe

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TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
Approx. Trail Mileage -

* Continuing the gradual light uphill tread, the sawtooth peaks take on yet another profile, this time with a forested footing at their base, shown in Photo E. * The vantage point at this location is particularly rewarding, as it provides a clearing from which a multidirectional landscape view unfolds. * Thick patches of evergreen forest spring up around this clearing, providing contrast to the rocky spires all around.

Photo E .75 mi.

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Photo E - A classic Sierra mixture of forest and sun graced peaks

* At this point, another section of the peaks comes into better view, from the same vantage, but these are towards the southwest. These peaks are broader and somewhat less dramatic, but add interest to the overall scene. * Photo F shows a perspective on this rockbound ridge, again showing typical terrain in the vicinity of the Tahoe shoreline.

Photo F .75 mi. - -

Photo F - More grand peaks above the Eagle Lake trail

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TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
Approx. Trail Mileage -

Photo G .85 mi.

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Photo G - Bright peaks and shadowed trail
* Leaving the previous perch, a flat stretch is followed by a climb along some bush lined trail, then up through a small tree-lined canyon trail with a stream to its side. In Photo G, looking back down the trail, the morning sun provides full illumination of the towering mountain beyond, contrasting sharply with the shaded forest that frames the trail.

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TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
Approx. Trail Mileage -

* From the same location as the previous page, turn now looking forward along the trail. A different, more basic rock face now becomes visible, with less of the sharp sawtooth erosions and a smoother appearing surface. Mostly rock in sight, but still some shadowed evergreens around the edges.

Photo H .85 mi.

* Photo H shows a broad stretch of these striated cliffs.

Photo H - Expansive rock face as you approach Eagle Lake

* A short trip to the lake was promised, and indeed it sneaks up quickly for this popular destination. While the trail continues to the left side around the lake, on the right side the lakeshore cliff also provides some different viewpoints. * Photo I is a scene just offtrail from the right side (northern edge) of Eagle Lake. Continue again along the trail from here.

Photo I 1.0 mi. - -

Photo I - Looking south across Eagle Lake

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TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
Approx. Trail Mileage -

* Coming back from your short detour to the right side of the lake, the trail continues until it reaches a small fork. The main trail continues along on the left fork, while a spur trail goes down to the Eagle Lake shoreline. Take this trail to the lake. * Reach the Eagle Lake shoreline, and a couple of views open up. Photo J looks back to the north above the spur trail.

Photo J 1.05 mi.

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Photo J - Another view of the peaks surrounding Eagle Lake Trail

* From just above lakeside on the east side of Eagle Lake, you can see the main portion of the lake and the stark cliffs on the far shore. * The sun continues to climb, but the east side forest remains shaded in this morning view of the lake in Photo K. * From here, enjoy the lake, then take the spur trail back to the main Eagle Lake Trail, and retrace your route back to Emerald Bay.

Photo K 1.05 mi. - -

Photo K - Eagle Lake on a sunny Summer morning

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