The Best Truckee-Tahoe Hikes to Soak Up Fall Colors


Lake Tahoe’s iridescent blue color is unmistakably the most celebrated aspect of this gargantuan alpine lake. From the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s famous “Keep Tahoe Blue” slogan to a vodka brand that celebrates Tahoe’s blueness, locals and visitors alike are mesmerized by the lake’s azure waters. Yet, every fall season our collective gaze is turned toward the aspen-covered hillsides erupting in vibrant hues of orange, yellow, and red.

Fall in Tahoe is as close to the perfect season you can get, with warm daytime temperatures that are perfect for hiking and chilly nights that have us digging down jackets out of the closet. This is the perfect time to squeeze in those bucket list hikes and adventures before winter’s grip sets in. Here, ideas for some of the best hikes and vistas to take in the grand color scheme of fall in Lake Tahoe.

For an Easy Morning Walk: Sagehen Creek

Fall colors - Sagehen

Sagehen Creek Trail is amazingly lush and beautiful as it follows a lovely stream through the forest out into a meadow ending at Stampede Reservoir.  In the spring there are tons of wild flowers including fields of Mules Ears.  Wildlife is abundant in this area with so many trees, bushes and fields of wild flowers.  There are beaver dams, although I haven’t seen a beaver, deer, tons of birds, squirrels and probably a bear or two.  In the fall the foliage will turn a brilliant range of colors so come with your camera.  This trail is a local favorite and great for trail runners and hikers, it’s a family friendly hike near Truckee, perfect for bird watchers, nature lovers, flower lovers and visitors.

For Hikers and Bikers: Page Meadows

Fall Colors - Paige Meadows

Whether you are meandering by foot, or out for a spin on the bike, enjoy the rainbow of fall colors through the swaths of aspen trees. With many ways to access Page Meadows you can spend hours wandering through the connecting trail systems. Pack up for a couple of hours with the pup, or your bike. Either way, be sure to stop and take a few pictures of the gorgeous fall foilage. 

For Family-Friendly Hikes: Spooner Lake and Marlette Lake

A hike to Marlette Lake reveals century old cabins surrounded by stunning aspen groves. Aaron Hussmann
A hike to Marlette Lake reveals century old cabins surrounded by stunning aspen groves. Aaron Hussmann

Located on Tahoe’s eastern ridgeline, Spooner Lake and the hike to Marlette Lake offer an immense valley loaded with aspen and willow groves for one of the most spectacular fall color opportunities in the Tahoe basin. Spooner Lake boasts a family-friendly picnic area and an easy one-mile trail circumnavigating the still waters that reflect and magnify the intense fall colors surrounding its shoreline. More ambitious hikers and mountain bikers can cruise the 10-mile roundtrip trail to Marlette Lake to take in some of the finest displays of color in the region. The sheer volume of golden aspen leaves will be well worth the trek.

For the Peak Baggers: Mt. Rose

Just minutes outside of Incline Village and only 40 minutes from Reno, the Mt. Rose Summit and Mt. Rose Meadows area offers unparalleled opportunities to see fall color against the backdrop of Tahoe’s cobalt blue waters. Enjoy a mild day hike along the Tahoe Rim Trail by hiking from Mt. Rose Meadows towards Ophir Creek, or challenge yourself with a brisk fall hike up the summit of Mt. Rose, the second-highest peak in Tahoe at 10,776 feet, through vibrant meadows full of changing colors.

Stop in today to get geared up for your fall adventures and check out some of our favorite hiking shoes here!

Featured image provided by Aaron Hussmann

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