Fallen Leaf Lake Trail, South Lake Tahoe

#4 of 16 in Trails in Lake Tahoe (California)
Hiking Trail · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Fallen Leaf Lake is a mountain lake located in El Dorado County, California, near the California-Nevada state border, about one mile south of the much larger Lake Tahoe. It is approximately aligned north-to-south and oval in shape, measuring approximately 2.9 miles (4.6 km) on the long axis and 0.9 miles (1.4 km) on the short axis. The lake was created by at least two glaciers that traveled northward down the Glen Alpine Valley. If the glacier had continued instead of stopping, Fallen Leaf Lake would be a bay of Lake Tahoe, similar to nearby Emerald Bay. A terminal moraine is visible at the north end of the lake on the northeast edge.
Fallen Leaf Lake is located within the National Forest System lands managed by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, adjacent to El Dorado County. The land surrounding the lake is privately owned, leased from the U.S. Forest Service, and part of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Like some areas where the Forest Service has leased land intermingled with private land, the two land types appear in a mosaic or checkerboard pattern.
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Fallen Leaf Lake Trail reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
63 reviews
  • Beautiful small lake, worth a visit, if you have an hour or so. Very serene. Recommended by the hotel and glad they did!  more »
  • A mini Tahoe. I got a good hike in, about 2 miles all total. It has always been windy at Fallen Leaf Lake when I've been there so I don't know if that is usual or not. Little white caps but people....  more »
  • Love Fallen Leaf lake. In the summer it can be a lot warmer than Lake Tahoe and less crowded. Beaches are sandy and rocky but easy to get to and safe to swim and play in. Great for hiking, camping, swimming and boating.
  • Easy to get to. Beautiful lake and beautiful walk to the lake. Wasn't able to see the falls. As the actual trail is not marked very well, didn't know which way to go. Also with it being fall we weren't sure if it would even be flowing.

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