Mt Tallac is easily the best hike in the Tahoe area. From the top, you can almost see all of Lake Tahoe.
Trail - 10 miles RT, 3,250 ft elv gain., 9,739 ft at the top.
The trail starts out pretty easy, you get an early payoff on the ridge line with a view of Fallen Leaf Lake. After winding on for awhile longer you come across floating island lake and then Cathedral lake. Many people stop here and turn around, making for an easy day hike. After passing Cathedral lake, the real fun begins. You get out of the tree line and gain a ton of elevation all at once. Be careful on this segment, its slippery with the gravel. When you get to the top of the next ridge, you wind around the back side of the mountain, it levels off a lot here. Then its time to make the final push to the summit. Its very rocky here, so take your time. Now you've made it! A sweeping view of the valley on all sides, Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf lake and the mountains behind it. You'll use a lot of film (or memory) on pictures up here.
Time - It took us 3 hours 45 minutes to get up & about 2 & a half hours to get down. We stopped a lot for pictures, but for those not in the best of shape, you feel every step up. There were plenty of people that passed us on the trail and we passed some people who gave up half way towards the top.
Parking - Parking is free at the trail head, but the lot is tiny. It would be easy to add a quarter to a half a mile extra each way if you don't get there before 8 am (on a weekday).
Permit - These are free as well, you just need to register at the trail head for a pass. You are required to show them if a ranger asks to see it.
What to bring - Lots of water! I would recommend two 32 oz bottles per person. Lunch for the top, a camera, sunscreen, sunglasses and anything else you would normally bring. Bugs were not a problem, but there were a lot of loud grasshoppers.
Recommendations - Start early! It gets hot up there on the rock fields and parking fills up fast. If you're from a low elevation like us, have patience on the way up. Have fun!!
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