As I continue to delve deeper into this blog, I continuously find myself writing “this is my favorite” or “one of my favorites is”, but Mount Tallac is an exceptional hike with unreal views of Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness and the Tahoe Basin. The peak is located on the Southwest shore of Lake Tahoe and summits at 9,735 feet.
My latest experience hiking Mount Tallac was last summer with a broken collarbone. I was about two weeks into the healing process still in a sling and one of my friends suggested we hike Tallac. As it’s one of my favorite hikes, there was no question the answer was yes. There are a few different routes you can take up Tallac and we decided to do one that was new to me. We started at Lilly Lake and while discussing our entrepreneurial ideas trekked our way towards the peak. It was a pretty warm day, not scorching hot and with a breeze made the summer day feel pretty cool. After some time, we passed Gilmore Lake on our left and then headed up a steeper section of thick brush and grass. Reaching the final post that said “Mt. Tallac”, we continued up through the rocky section, as at this point you are above the timber line. We reached the summit and spun a 360 degree panorama view that possessed amazing beauty. Enjoy some pictures below!
So as I mentioned above, there a few different routes you can take up Mt. Tallac. I know four and each one has different terrain and is a different experience. If you get the chance I would suggest trying all four at some point. The first one is the Mount Tallac or Cathedral Lake Trail and is about 5 miles one way. This one can be a little crowded in the summer as it’s the most popular trek up to Tallac. It follows Fallen Leaf Lake at the start with great views of that lake and Lake Tahoe on the ascent. The second one starts at the same trailhead as the previous one I mentioned, but you cut right up the Southeast Chutes above Floating Island Lake and is about 3 miles one way. My favorite is the Glen Alpine Trail. This one starts at Lilly Lake and has great views of Desolation Wilderness and Gilmore Lake. It’s about 5.4 miles one way. The last one can really only be done in winter and is popular for skiers and riders. It’s the Northeast Ridge and parallels the northeast bowl ski descent. There is usually a step trail in the snow which is 2.3 miles one way.
Just as you can hike these trails in the summer, you can snowshoe them in the winter. If you find a great day in the winter where the sun is shining, never uncommon, get out your snowshoes and give yourself a tough workout snowshoeing to Tallac peak. Peering out from Tallac to see a pristine, white blanket covering the area is priceless. As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, Caples Lake – An outdoor playground, some great places to rent snowshoes if you don’t have a pair are Shoreline of Tahoe in Stateline, Pyramid Peak Ski and Snowboard or Tahoe Dave’s Skis and Boards both in South Lake.
I haven’t done this myself, but it’s something I need to make the effort to do. It surely takes some determination, and is an advanced descent, but skiing or snowboarding “the cross” from Mt. Tallac is a must do. “The cross” is a fragment of Mt. Tallac that you can see from town. It’s called “the cross” because it’s extremely rare for this section to melt throughout the summer months. Relaxing on the beach in the summer you usually can still see this white section on Tallac, “the cross”.
If I can hike Mt. Tallac with a broken collarbone, anyone can do it! It is well worth the effort. Some tips however, if you’re not used to the altitude you may want to do a bit of training prior to the hike or snowshoe; believe me my dad can attest to this suggestion. And, as with any hike bring lots of water and some food. It’s a great workout with exceptional views, so why not do it? If you’ve hiked, snowshoed or skied Tallac in the past or may find yourself doing one of those in the future, leave a comment below! Also follow me on twitter @sberei.