Top 6 Places to Go Snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe

The Ultimate Guide: Top 6 Places To Go Snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe

By

Ted Schlater

Looking for the best snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe? Look no further than this guide for the best spots recommended by locals. Winter in Lake Tahoe starts around November and brings with it endless winter activities. From skiing to snowmobiling, this picturesque destination has something to do for everyone. Not only is there an average of 600 inches of snow each winter, there’s also 300 days of sunshine on average each year. This is why Tahoe is such a popular winter destination! Given the popularity of sports like skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing may  seem like an unlikely choice. However, read on to learn about all the reasons why this activity is a great option for everyone.

Why Snowshoeing?

Photo taken from above of two pairs of feet in snowshoes against white snow
  • Fewer People: Unlike the more popular activities, Lake Tahoe snowshoe trails are relatively less crowded. You can enjoy the scenery around you without having to worry about bumping into too many people.
  • Beautiful Scenery: Lake Tahoe is famous for its gorgeous views, and snowshoeing is the perfect way to appreciate them in the winter. You can snowshoe at your own pace and skill level as you take in the winter wonderland around you.
  • Accessibility: Snowshoeing is generally a low-impact activity, making it accessible for people of all ages and fitness levels. Additionally, there’s  a wide range  of Lake Tahoe snowshoe trails of varying difficulty levels. And because snowshoeing is accessible for people of all ages, it’s a great way for families to spend time together in the winter and get in some exercise at the same time!
  • Winter Photography: Snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe is an easy activity for stopping along the way to take pictures of the stunning winter views. You’ll see snow-capped mountains, frozen waterfalls, and more. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to capture some winter wildlife, like deer, rabbits, and birds!
  • Adventure: Snowshoeing gives you a chance to explore areas of Lake Tahoe that may not be accessible in the summer months. With snowshoes on your feet, you’ll be able to walk through hidden trails, explore the woods, and climb small hills.
  • Cardiovascular Exercise: If you’re looking for a great way to workout without too much exertion, snowshoeing is a perfect activity. Given that it’s a low-impact form of exercise, you’re not putting too much pressure on your body while also working your legs and core and burning calories at the same time.
  • Convenience: Snowshoes are easy to store, transport, and take on and off, thus giving you the flexibility to explore on your own terms and schedule. And if you’re trying snowshoeing for the first time, you can always rent snowshoeing equipment for a relatively low cost until you know if you like it. We offer snowshoe rentals at Vista Trail Bikes.
 

Now that you know the benefits of snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe, you may be wondering where you can enjoy this pastime. Here are some of the best Lake Tahoe snowshoe trails enjoyed by locals and visitors alike!

1. Tahoe Meadows

Person snowshoeing on snow covered path through the woods at the Meadows Trails and Recreation Area in Lake Tahoe

 

Experience the best of Tahoe winter! Tahoe Meadows offers access to a wide variety of winter time activities such as sledding, snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, and snowshoeing. Nevada Nordic – a community based organization whose mission it is to promote the establishment of a multi-use venue – periodically grooms a wide selection of trails (see map) for backcountry skiing, fat tire biking and snowshoeing. The variety of trails means there’s something for everyone at any skill level. There’s usually plenty of parking and it’s a popular and easily accessible destination for families visiting Tahoe in the winter. If you’re able to, remember to kindly donate to Nevada Nordic using the QR codes found on the signage you encounter along your adventure.

Trail map of groomed trails in the winter in Lake Tahoe for backcountry skiing, fat tire biking, and snowshoeing

2. Mount Peak Rose Trail

  • Distance: 10.7 miles (17.2 km)
  • Elevation Gain: 2,378 ft
  • Difficulty: Challenging, best for experienced hikers
View of Lake Tahoe from the top of Mount Peak Rose Trail in the winter

Mount Rose is the third tallest mountain peak in the Tahoe basin and is perfect for more experienced hikers looking for a snowshoeing trail to explore. There are several smaller trails, including Tahoe Meadows and Chickadee Ridge

The Mount Rose Peak Trail is longer (10.7 mile loop) but can still be enjoyed on snowshoes if you’re up for the challenge! This trail boasts some incredible scenery, including waterfalls and forested areas. You can also take in the sights of some of the other peaks in Lake Tahoe, including Tamarack Peak. At the top of the Mount Rose Peak Trail, you’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the entire Lake Tahoe basin.

Similar to Fallen Leaf Lake Trail, this trail is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your pets with you. Just remember that they must always be kept on a leash. Though the elevation gain is significant, it’s also gradual, so you can adjust to the change as you climb.

3. Chickadee Ridge

  • Distance: 3 miles (4.8 km)
  • Elevation Gain: 400 ft
  • Difficulty: Beginner-friendly, moderately challenging
View of Lake Tahoe from Chickadee Ridge Trail on a sunny winter day

The Chickadee Ridge snowshoe hike starts at the Tahoe Meadows Trail and consists of a gentle climb along the ridge. The trailhead is easily accessible and is suitable for both beginners and more experienced snowshoers. 

This hike promises stunning Lake Tahoe views and is also the perfect place to spot some of Tahoe’s friendly chickadee birds, especially closer to spring. Once you spot the birds, you can sprinkle some bird seed in your open hand and they may actually eat out of your hands. This can be a wonderful photo opportunity!

4. Donner Peak Trail

  • Distance: 4.7 miles (6 km)
  • Elevation Gain: 905 ft
  • Difficulty: Beginner-friendly, moderately challenging
Snowshoe tracks through the snow covered woods in Lake Tahoe

A relatively short out and back route, Donner Peak Trail has gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake. Not only that, it’s great for beginners because it has a ton of places to rest along the way.

This trail is an especially good beginner snowshoeing option if you’re staying in Truckee. It’s also a generally quiet trail, so you don’t have to worry about running into too many other people crowding up the trail. As an added benefit, this trail is dog friendly, so you can bring your pup along with you, as long as they are on a leash.

5. Fallen Leaf Lake Trail

  • Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
  • Elevation Level: 144 ft
  • Difficulty: Beginner-friendly, moderately challenging
Fallen-Leaf-Lake-Trail-in-Tahoe

The Fallen Leaf Lake Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in South Lake Tahoe. The views across this trail include waterfalls, wildflowers (in the spring and summer), conifer trees, as well as a gorgeous alpine lake, which is often frozen over in the winter. 

The trail is accessible year-round and both dog-friendly and beginner-friendly. You should be done in just over an hour, so you can easily bring your furry best friend with you when you go adventuring on this trail.

6. Van Sickle Rim Trail Connector

  • Distance: 6.4 miles (10.3 km)
  • Elevation Level: 1,351 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderately challenging, good for beginners and experienced snowshoers alike
Woman snowshoeing in the mountains of Lake Tahoe during springtime when snow is starting to melt

The Van Sickle Rim Trail Connector is one of the most popular places to go snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe and for good reason. It’s an easily accessible trailhead with breathtaking views of alpine forests, snow-melt cascades, and more. There are also numerous rocky outcroppings where you can rest and take in all of Lake Tahoe’s splendor.

This out-and-back trail is one of the most flexible trails you’ll find in Lake Tahoe. While the whole route is a bit longer than beginner trails such as Donner Peak, the out-and-back nature of this pathway means that even beginners can enjoy it and turn back whenever they want. Additionally, this is a dog-friendly trail as long as dogs are on a leash, so you’re welcome to bring your pups along for a walk!

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to try something new, snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe is truly a unique experience. You’ll be able to get in some adventure while also enjoying some of the most beautiful sights you’ll find anywhere on the planet. The trails in Lake Tahoe are perfect for snowshoers of all experiences, and this allows both families and solo explorers to enjoy this activity. Don’t worry if you don’t have snowshoeing equipment with you – you can easily rent snowshoes through Vista Trail Bikes!