Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake – Don’t mind if I do!

Tahoe Rim Trail

There’s no better way to spend a Saturday, especially the Saturday during Memorial Day Weekend, then a hike from Big Meadow Trailhead to Dardanelles Lake.  This is a great hike and while not being too strenuous has some great views, stream crossings and final destination at Dardanelles Lake.  This was my first time at the Big Meadow Trailhead.  The total mileage for the hike is about eight miles, as it’s just a little below four miles from the trailhead to Dardanelles Lake.  It will probably take about three hours depending on how long you hang at the lake.  Total elevation gain is about 1,000 feet.

Dardanelles Lake HikeI was able to trek this hike today with my hiking buddy, my dog Jillian.  She had her new University of Nevada – Reno harness so she was super excited.  We got a bit of a late start, getting to Big Meadow Trailhead at about 1pm.  The trailhead starts out as the Tahoe Rim Trail and you need to cross Highway 89.  We started with a fairly steep climb, but not too bad.  You will reach the first split where you can go left for Scott’s Lake or right.  You want to go right and then you hit Big Meadow just after you cross a small bridge.  Jillian loves Big Meadow.  I let her off the leash here and she ran free!  Below are some pictures.

Dardanelles Lake Hike

Big Meadow

Big Meadow Bridge

Big Meadow

Big Meadow

Dardanelles Lake HikeOnce out of the meadow, you will continue with another climb.  After you reach the top at the saddle, you will start to go down some switchbacks until you reach another split.  You can go left to Round Lake and Meiss Meadow.  For Dardanelles Lake, you go right and that’s just what Jill and I did.  Not too far from there, you will see a path that goes left.  Don’t make the mistake I did and continue straight, as you’ll want to go left here.  You will cross over three stream sections with some cool rock bridges to cross.  Finally, you’ll reach Dardanelles Lake.  The lake is gorgeous and has a cool shape.  You’ll most likely see a few campsites and people around fishing or hanging out as it’s a popular destination and that’s what Jill and I saw.  Below are a few more pictures.  Enjoy!

Dardanelles Lake Hike

Dardanelles Lake Hike

Dardanelles Lake Hike

Dardanelles Lake Hike

Dardanelles Lake

Dardanelles Lake

Dardanelles Lake

Dardanelles Lake

Big Meadow Trailhead is very easy to get to.  From South Lake Tahoe, you’ll want to drive towards the “Y” and Meyers.  Prior to reaching Echo Summit, you’ll want to turn left onto Highway 89.  You’ll continue down 89 until you see Big Meadow Trailhead on your left.  You’ll also see signs for the Tahoe Rim Trail.  There is a big parking area and no parking fees.

It’s always important to have the right equipment when hiking the trails of the Sierra or anywhere.  A great place to find that equipment is Tahoe Mountain Sports and they are having a huge Memorial Day Sale right now so it’s perfect timing to search for those great hiking boots or perfect pack!  As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I like to use My Tracks to track my hikes, mountain bikes and trail runs.  You can see my track for Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake.  The trails from Big Meadow are great to mountain bike as well, but I’ll discuss them in a later post this summer.  Do you have plans for the rest of this Memorial Day weekend?  Have you hiked to Dardanelles Lake before?  If so, make a comment below!  Also, follow me on twitter @sberei!

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5 thoughts on “Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake – Don’t mind if I do!

  1. This is awesome information, thanks! I did this hike with my dad a long time ago but now that I remember it I’ll definitely do it again. Is it possible to camp there?

  2. This is great information, thank you! I did this hike with my dad years ago but I don’t really remember it. I’ll be sure to do this soon now! Is it possible to camp there?

  3. Hey Josh, thanks! It’s a great hike and lake is very cool. You can definitely camp there. It seems like a pretty popular spot. This was my first time hiking from Big Meadow Trailhead, so I found out there are a few other lakes to explore in this area as well.

  4. Pingback: Big Meadow to Round Lake – Let’s do it! | Lake Tahoe All Access

  5. Pingback: Big Meadow to Round Lake – Let’s do it! | Graniterocx

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