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May 6, 2014 | Tim Hauserman
It’s getting warm. The snow has melted at lake level and a few flowers are just about to poke up their heads. It’s time to hike. While some of the higher sections of the west shore will still be covered in snow for another month or more, a number of my favorite trails are already snow free, and just as importantly, crowd free. So get out there and enjoy one of these three beauties:
Head to the Bay for Vikingsholm, Eagle Falls, and the Rubicon Trail from Emerald Bay to Bliss State Park. The lake is spectacularly gorgeous in the spring, yet nearly boat free, and the osprey and eagles are out and hungry. While in the mid-summer you may have trouble finding parking for this hike, that will not be the case in April and May. Enjoy.
Trailhead: 17 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89. Park in the Vikingsholm Park lot, or just a bit further south on your right.
Tahoe Rim Trail-Tahoe City towards Brockway Summit.
This low elevation trail with a southern exposure is the first part of the TRT to lose the snow. The trail provides views of the lake right from the get-go, and things just get better once we reach the edge of the Truckee River Canyon in about a mile. From there, for the next four miles the trail often hugs the canyon edge with views of Tahoe and the Truckee River. At five miles, you reach a rocky viewpoint towards Tahoe, and then shortly thereafter, the Glass Mountain view into Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
Trailhead: From Highway 89 at the Chevron Station in Tahoe City, take Fairway Drive 0.2 miles. Park on the right, and the trail starts on your left.
Tahoe Rim Trail-Spooner Summit to South Camp Peak.
While this trailhead begins at over 7000 feet, the east shore gets only half the snow as the west shore, so this lovely section of trail is one of the first parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail to come out of the snow. Hike five miles south to South Camp Peak where you are treated to a level mile of drop dead gorgeous views back across the lake towards the west shore.
Trailhead: Where Highway 28 and Highway 50 meet on Spooner Summit, go 0.75 mile towards Carson City on Highway 50 to the trailhead on your right.
Need more info? Pick up a copy of Tahoe Rim Trail: The official guide for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.