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Stories from the valley

Eagle Falls and Eagle Lake: A popular destination worth exploring

Contributed by Carl Gwyn

Easily accessible popular places are avoided by many hikers and forest visitors because the idea of going to the wilderness usually translates into getting away to less populated places. If this is always the mantra, beautiful places like Yosemite would be avoided by many visitors.

group of people hiking Eagle Lake trail

Eagle Falls and Eagle Lake were such a destination for me. I have driven by the trailhead many times without even thinking of stopping because of the number of cars lined up on the road and the crowds. However, this summer is the summer I have chosen to visit some of these more popular places to find out what makes them so popular.

The hike to Eagle Lake is great hike for all ages of visitors who wish to access the beauty of the wilderness quickly and don’t mind sharing it with others. If you arrive before 9 a.m., you will probably find a parking place in the trailhead parking. After that, plan on parking someplace along the road and having a longer hike by walking to the trailhead. Once you are there, you won’t be disappointed.

Eagle Falls

Before your start, have a look at Eagle Falls, which is right at the entrance to the parking lot. After that, wander up the short, wooded walkway to the beginning of the trail. The trail climbs gently up the canyon and can be navigated by hikers of all ages. You soon come to upper Eagle Falls and cross over them on the Eagle Falls Bridge.

After about one mile you arrive at beautiful Eagle Lake that is nestled in a picturesque canyon. Most people stop at the first chance to get close to the lake, but if you go farther around the lake, you will find less populated places to drink in the views. If you go in the early spring, you will be greeted by an abundance of snow plant blooms.

Eagle Lake

The trail to Eagle Lake continues deeper into the Desolation Wilderness, but on our hike today we chose to head back down to the trailhead. We made a stop at the Eagle Falls Vista Point which offers a nice view of Emerald Bay. Several interpretive signs line the trail that provide history of the area.

For more information on the trail, please click here.

Have a wonderful time exploring this beautiful spot on the Lake Tahoe shoreline.