Tahoe hiking takes on new levels of wow when autumn rolls around.
Here’s where Tahoe locals are hiking in October.
Autumn in Tahoe is quite spectacular. Brilliant blue water, top-of-the-world vistas and crisp colors paint a road-trip-worthy picture. Summer crowds have waned and it’s a glorious time to get out on the trails. We asked Gravity Haus Truckee-Tahoe Operations Director Stefan Moore to share his top 5 fall hikes in Tahoe.
Distance: 10 miles (out and back)
The second tallest peak in Tahoe delivers a whopping 2,200 feet of elevation gain, topping out at 10,776 feet. Mount Rose waves hello from the North Lake Tahoe skyline. Begin this popular hike on Mount Rose Pass from the bustling trailhead parking area. Take the right-hand route for the most direct summit path and trek across volcanic rock, past a waterfall and above a rising valley. When you reach the (literally) breathtaking summit, take time to soak in the 360-degree fall views.
2. Mount Tallac
Distance: 9.5 miles (out and back)
Stefan’s personal favorite is a locally loved challenging day hike that rises high above South Lake Tahoe. The ascent guarantees incredible views of Fallen Leaf Lake, Cathedral Lake and, finally, Lake Tahoe from its summit above treeline at 9,735 feet. This is a high-demand area for hiking and snowshoeing, so you’ll likely encounter other adventurers, but there’s plenty of room to sprawl out and enjoy the fall views.
3. Freel Peak
Distance: 9.4 miles (out and back)
This scenic route traverses the Tahoe Rim Trail from Armstrong Pass and then up, up, up to jaw-dropper vistas. Traverse the Tahoe Rim Trail from Armstrong Pass to the saddle below Freel Peak and then tackle the final lung-busting mile to Freel’s summit at 10,881 feet. Pack a lunch and take in magnificent eyefuls of Hope Valley, the desert peaks of Nevada, Pyramid Peak and Lake Tahoe.
4. Martis Creek
Distance: 3 miles (loop)
When you’re craving a simple yet stunning fall stroll, head to Martis Creek wildlife area. The short sweet hike follows Martis Creek as it winds through the basin near the foot of Northstar Resort. The official Wildlife Viewing Area is loved for its diversity — you’ll pass through sagebrush meadows, riparian areas and pine forests and may even spot deer, beaver and a variety of birds. Take in Sierra Crest and Northstar views and loop back on the Tompkins Memorial Trail.
Distance: 6 miles (point to point and back)
This newer paved family- and dog-friendly trail overlooks Lake Tahoe the entire time and offers accessible picnic areas, beaches, coves and resting benches along the way. Begin from the lot on Tunnel Creek Road at the north end of the trail and follow the Nevada shoreline connecting Sand Harbor State Park to Incline Village south.
READY TO BOOK YOUR FALL STAY IN TRUCKEE-TAHOE?
Take advantage of these Gravity Haus member benefits. Book Cedar House Tahoe-Truckee on the Gravity Haus app for:
- 50% off room nights Sunday-Wednesday
- 25% off room nights Thursday-Saturday
- 15% off room nights over holidays
- 25% off food + beverage orders before 3pm
- Haus Quiver sustainable gear access
- Co-working: Post up in Stella for a few hours to unwind, socialize, check emails, and work in a casual environment.