When you’ve got young kids or hiking newbies in tow, you’re not likely to bag any peaks in Lake Tahoe. But just because you won’t be climbing 3,200 feet to summit Mt. Tallac (which we highly recommend, by the way) doesn’t mean you can’t find equally epic scenery on less arduous trails. Explore beautiful alpine lakes, trek to a historic lighthouse, take in fields of wildflowers, or enjoy a high-altitude lemonade on these family-friendly hikes.
Head to Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the East Shore for an accessible 2.5-mile loop around Spooner Lake. During the silver rush, Spooner Lake was created by damming water flowing downstream from nearby Marlette Lake and used to redirect water into flumes that moved logs down to the valley. Surrounded by stands of aspens and pine trees, the flat nature trail around Spooner provides an excellent vantage point to observe the numerous birds that take refuge in the branches and on the lake. Placards with details on the history, flora and fauna of the land follow the trail, which is popular year-round for hiking, leaf-peeping come fall, and cross-country skiing.
The Angora Lakes Trail, a 1.2-mile, out-and-back trek, takes you past the lower lake to the upper lake where the quaint Angora Lake Resort has been operating its nine rustic cabins since 1917. Though the South Lake Tahoe-based hike has a few steep sections, it is manageable for all ages. A small general store at the edge of the lake sells their famous fresh-squeezed lemonade and rents out kayaks, rowboats and stand-up paddleboards. Surrounded by imposing granite slabs cut through by numerous waterfalls, it’s a great spot to post-up for a picnic and enjoy a swim.
Rubicon Point Lighthouse
Savor views of the famed turquoise waters at D.L. Bliss State Park as you hike along the Lighthouse Trail in search of the small wooden lighthouse which once held the title of the world’s highest lighthouse. Built in 1919 along with three other beacons, the Rubicon Point Lighthouse was in commission for just two years. The 2.4-mile loop, rated as moderately challenging with just under 500 feet of elevation gain, completes the circle with a turn onto the Rubicon Trail and back to the trailhead.
The Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Trail is a 1.3-mile loop just outside of Incline Village that is considered wheelchair and stroller accessible, though it is not paved. The mostly flat trail meanders through the vibrant grassy meadow, which should be bursting with wildflowers if you time it right. Wildflower season is variable and depends on winter snowmelt, but it usually peaks between mid-July and August. The short hike takes you over three boardwalks spanning little streams as views of the higher peaks loom in the backdrop.