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MapSnapsTM TrailPhoto Guide

Eagle Lake Trail

West of Lake Tahoe Area

Photo: Eagle Lake

California Lake Tahoe Region
Other TrailPhoto Guides are available, with information at
MapSnaps TM 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.

DIRECTIONS: (Trailhead is located near black star symbol on map)
* Difficulty Rating - Easy
From Sacramento on US 50 east: Follow US Highway 50 east from
* Scenic Value - 9 out of 10 Sacramento, approximately 108 miles, coming into South Lake Tahoe
(pass by the first turnoff for Hwy. 89 on your right near Meyers,
* Best Seasons - Summer/Fall
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
(Winter/Spring: snow covered).
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.

Detailed information about Lake Tahoe: (at and

General location in northern
California (in highlighted box). Eldorado National Forest: (at
MapSnapsTM 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




MapSnapsTM TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
. Approx.
* 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 Photo
short while, views of craggy A
peaks catch early rays of the
morning sun, as seen in
Photo A. Proceed along, .12 mi.
heading gradually upward.

* Begin climbing a series of -

steps along the trail,
continuing uphill through
mixed light forest.

Photo A - Morning sun scrapes the nearby peaks

* The trail soon draws closer Photo

to the river that flows down to B
Eagle Falls and Lake Tahoe
below. Shortly, the trail leads
.23 mi.
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 - Bridging the river gap

MapSnapsTM TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
* 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). Photo
These are the major rock C
faces exposed above
Emerald Bay, and a
continuing presence along
.35 mi.
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 - 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 Photo
appears. D

* This is not the classic wide

.7 mi.
view of Emerald Bay so often
seen on Tahoe calendar
shots, but refreshing - -
* 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 - Emerald Bay and the gap out to Lake Tahoe

MapSnapsTM TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
* 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. Photo
* The vantage point at this
location is particularly
rewarding, as it provides a .75 mi.
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

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. Photo
These peaks are broader F
and somewhat less dramatic,
but add interest to the overall
.75 mi.

* Photo F shows a - -
perspective on this
rockbound ridge, again -
showing typical terrain in the
vicinity of the Tahoe

- Photo F - More grand peaks above the Eagle Lake trail

MapSnapsTM TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake


.85 mi.

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.
MapSnapsTM TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
* From the same location as
the previous page, turn now
looking forward along the
trail. A different, more basic
rock face now becomes Photo
visible, with less of the sharp H
sawtooth erosions and a
smoother appearing surface.
Mostly rock in sight, but still .85 mi.
some shadowed evergreens
around the edges.

* 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 Photo I
side around the lake, on the
right side the lakeshore cliff
also provides some different 1.0 mi.
- -
* Photo I is a scene just off-
trail from the right side
(northern edge) of Eagle -
Lake. Continue again along
the trail from here.

Photo I - Looking south across Eagle Lake
MapSnapsTM TrailPhoto Guide - W. Lake Tahoe: Eagle Lake
* 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 Photo
continues along on the left J
fork, while a spur trail goes
down to the Eagle Lake
shoreline. Take this trail to 1.05
the lake. mi.

* 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 - 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, K
but the east side forest
remains shaded in this
morning view of the lake in 1.05
Photo K. mi.

* 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 - Eagle Lake on a sunny Summer morning