North Lake Tahoe is known for outdoor adventures. But, something that makes those activity-filled days even more fun is spotting wildflowers along the way. We’ve put together a list of four of our favorite spots to see wildflowers on your next spring hike. From Lake Tahoe Lupine to Mule Ears to Sierra Tiger Lily, you’ll be sure to have a day filled with beauty.
Photo: Macs Explores
Our first stop is Monkey Rock on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe in Incline Village. It’s a fun and quick hike with fantastic views of Lake Tahoe. The 2.5 mile round trip hike has an elevation gain of over 400 feet along the way, so your slow steady pace will give you ample opportunity to take it all in. The Monkey Rock trail name is literal, and you’ll be rewarded for your hike with a rock that looks like a monkey’s head taking in the gorgeous view. On your way back to the car, stop by Tunnel Creek Café for a snack and a cold beverage.
Photo: Outdoor Project
Another fantastic hike on the Nevada side is the Mt. Rose trail. This hike is a full day commitment – at 11 miles roundtrip with 2,500 feet of elevation gain – and will take about 6 hours. Be sure to take plenty of water and snacks for your journey to the top of the third tallest peak in the Lake Tahoe Basin. From the top you can see well beyond Reno, over Lake Tahoe and on a very clear day you can even catch a glimpse of Mount Shasta. Along the way you’ll pass the Galena Falls area which puts on quite the gorgeous spring wildflower display.
When you make your way back through Incline Village after a long day of hiking, make sure to make a pit stop for some food and drinks. Our favorite spot to stop is the Alibi Ale Works – Incline Public House where you can enjoy a Wagyu Beef Cheeseburger and a pint of one of their many locally-brewed beers. Cheers!
Photo: Palisades Tahoe
Our favorite spring hike in North Lake Tahoe has to be Shirley Canyon trail. Located in the Olympic Valley, it winds its way along a creek full of spring runoff including beautiful waterfalls. The rushing water is gorgeous, but don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for wildflowers including pink Penstemon, Mule’s Ear, Lupine, Paintbrush and more. Depending on your stamina you can choose to hike the full 5 miles to High Camp and ride the aerial tram down or make it an up and back hike to Shirley Lake.
Photo: Tahoe Activities
Make your way to the Desolation Wilderness to one of the best hikes in the area and a great location to spot wildflowers. Eagle Lake trail is just shy of 2 miles out and back so it’s a quick way to get out in the forest. If you want to bring the whole family, it’s a kid-friendly hike. Your first reward along the trail is the beautiful Eagle Falls. If you keep going, you’ll reach Eagle Lake. Take your shoes off and dip your toes in the cold water before heading back down the trail.