I think this is one of the more popular hikes on the North Shore. Five Lakes is up on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe located at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley. The lakes are in the Granite Chief Wilderness. The hike totals about 5 miles if you reach all five lakes and you’ll gain an elevation of about 1,000 feet. It’s a beautiful hike with amazing views of Alpine Meadows and the back of Squaw Valley. Also, before we get into the hike, I’d like to mention if you need any camping/hiking gear try Tahoe Mountain Sports or Mountain Gear.
Two of my friends and I hiked to Five Lakes a few weeks back. We started quite early to try and beat the crowd and heat. It was hotter than hot hiking that day. We were able to get up to the trailhead around 8:45am. We laced up our boots and were on our way. As usual, I made sure not to forget my Granite Rocx backpack. The hike starts out with a pretty steady climb. You’ll trek over a dirt, rock path through a pretty open wooded area off the start. Not too far into the hike, it opens up into the gleaming sun beating down on you. We continued to climb pretty steadily passing the chairlift poles that are being built to connect Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley. Here is an article discussing the connection. Below are a few pictures.
You’ll reach a sign that says you’re going into the Granite Chief Wilderness. After passing the sign, the path leads further into the shade of the forest. Not too much further you’ll pass another sign where you can go left to Five Lakes or straight catching up with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). We continued left and reached the first, small beautiful lake. Jeremy and I decided to take a quick dip to cool off. As we followed the path around, we were able to see each of the rest of the four lakes and catch up with the trail that lead back down to the trailhead. All of the lakes are quite small. Enjoy some more pictures below!
The trailhead is very accessible and easy to get to. You can drive up the West Shore or the East Shore to reach the trailhead. When driving around the East Shore, follow Highway 50 past Cave Rock and make a left onto Highway 28. Follow the shoreline and stay on Highway 28 into California. Going through King’s Beach and few other towns on the North Shore, 28 will turn into Highway 89 (this is how you would come from the West Shore) and you want to follow that North where you’ll make a right. Then make a left onto Alpine Meadows road and follow that for about two miles. You’ll see the trailhead on the right where you can park on the side of the road.
This is a pretty easy hike with five amazing, pristine lakes. It’s not too long and you’ll really have some astounding views. Here is my MyTracks. Have you hiked to Five Lakes? Leave a comment below! Also follow me on twitter @sberei!