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General Information: The Eagle Falls / Eagle Lake hike is one of the most popular South/West Shore hikes. The quarter mile hike to the falls is easily within the ability of virtually all visitors, although for just a bit more effort, the hiker to Eagle Lake is well rewarded with stunning views of the Tahoe backcountry. The down-side to this popularity is the steady stream of people who crowd the trails during the summer, especially on weekends. Do yourself and everyone else a favor, do NOT visit this area on a summer weekend!

Where To Start: Emerald Bay is located a few miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. The Eagle Falls trail starts at the end of

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the Eagle Falls parking area ($3.00 fee required). Being cheap...I mean frugal, we prefer to park outside the parking lot on Highway 89 and walk to the trail head. Of course, on a summer weekend, this might add an additional mile or so to the hike!

Trail Description: Technically, in order to hike past the falls (1/4 mile) you need to fill out the wilderness permit at the trailhead. In reality, few people bother here unless they are heading further than Eagle Falls. The Trail starts off climbing genlty, but quickly comes to a stone staircase that always make us feel like we're heading up to someone's front door. The stairs are short lived however, ending just before the bridge over Eagel Falls where one gets a nice view back towards Emerald Bay. After the falls, the trail continues to climb steadily for another 3/4 mile to Eagle Lake. All in all, the hike involves 420 feet of climbing, challenging but well within reach of most 4 or 5 year olds. At the end of the trail, the peaceful, glacially formed Eagle Lake rewards all who endure.

To the north, the cliffs of Eagle Point tower above, while looking at the lake, Maggie's Peaks loom behind. Across the sparkling lake, more cliffs guard the way to Lower Velma Lake, a Tahoe jewel. Amazingly, even on crowded days, when you think the lake will surely be a zoo, once the lake is reached, the crowd disperses and the lake remains remarkably pristine. The hike down goes fast as it is nearly all downhill!

Environmental Concerns: The greatest environmental concern here is the shear volume of people and the pollution that seems to always accompany thousands of humans. Be sure to use the restroom at the trailhead but if you have to go while out, stay a minimum of 100 yards away from the lake and stream. Use the hike as an opportunity to talk to your children about responsible environmental stuardship and spend 15 minutes filling up a bag with trash left behind by careless previous hikers. Let the kids know that people go into the wilderness to escape the loudness of the city and instill in them an appreciation of just listening to how incredibly quiet nature usually is!

Advisory: Highway 89 can get very busy in this area and serious accidents occur here every year. Make sure you park well off the road and keep children close as you navigate the roads to the trail head.

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