I might argue that Marlette Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Tahoe area. I absolutely love it! It’s on the east shore, which probably doesn’t get as much attention as the north, south and west shores. The lake can be accessed from the north shore and south shore with three main routes: Tunnel Creek Road, North Canyon Road, or a Trailhead off of Highway 28. Marlette Lake is 7,383 feet above sea level surrounded by high mountain ridges. Roundtrip hikes can range from 6.5 to 14 miles depending on the route you take.
I just hiked to Marlette Lake last weekend. I was surprised at how much snow was on the trail and that the lake was actually more than half frozen. Not because of the time of year, but mainly because of how warm it’s been lately and the dryer winter we’ve had. I’ve been to the lake several times, but this was the first time hiking on foot. The trail from the north shore is part of the Xterra Off-Road Triathlon mountain bike, so I’ve trained on this trail many times along with competed on it once. It’s pretty amazing to be able to ride and hike such a beautiful trail with such a beautiful lake. I didn’t take Jillian, my dog, on the hike this time, but I’m sure she would love to come next time; probably when there is less snow! Below are some pictures of the hike and lake. Hope you enjoy!
If traveling from the north shore, you’ll want to start at Tunnel Creek Road. You can park on the side of the road in Incline Village across the street from the Tunnel Creek Café. By the way I haven’t eaten or been there yet, but I’ve heard great things. You’ll start walking up pavement that turns into a dirt and stone flat path. From there you’ll start going up and up. It’s a pretty steep and long climb up a sandy path, that in the summer can get pretty deep. You’ll continue until you reach the Flume Trail. As mentioned in my previous blog posts, this is an amazingly gorgeous trail. It follows along the east shore with epic views of Lake Tahoe, specifically Sand Harbor and an attention grabbing cliff on your side. You’ll continue about 4.5 miles along the flat flume trail. Watch out for mountain bikers, but once you reach the end, you will cross over a small stream that feeds Marlette Lake. After crossing the stream, it’s a very short hike until you reach the dam of Marlette Lake. This is the furthest of the three routes, a little over 14 miles roundtrip.
If going from Spooner, this is probably the least difficult of the three routes. You can park, as I mentioned in my previous blog, A great family hike! Spooner Lake Hike in the parking lot off of Highway 28 that will cost about $6 or off of Highway 50 near Spooner Summit. The North Canyon Road will take you to Marlette Lake and starts on the west shore of Spooner Lake. From the start of the road, it’s about 5 miles to the lake. Along the road, you will see firs, pines and aspen forests. You will climb slightly towards the end, where you reach a saddle that overlooks the lake. You’ll take a path down to the lake from there.
The third route, and the one I took for the first time last weekend, starts at a Trailhead opposite the Lake Tahoe side off of Highway 28 across from the Chimney Beach Trailhead. Similar to the sandy section of the Tunnel Creek route, you will start hiking up and keep hiking up. The trail starts next to an old logging road. You’ll make a steep ascent under mostly shade of sugarpines and aspens for the first part. You’ll see some of the biggest pine cones you’ve ever seen here, the sugarpines. You’ll continue upwards until the final section which is a steep descent to the dam of the lake. The end of the flume trail and the end of this trail both meet at the dam of Marlette Lake. It’s the shortest of the three routes, but still longer than I originally was told. It’s about 6.5 miles roundtrip.
I’ll definitely be hiking and biking this trail again this summer. The three routes give you all types of options depending on what you feel like hiking. If you’ve hiked, biked or made your way to Marlette Lake any other way leave a comment below! Also, follow me on twitter @sberei!