Scenic Hike to Loch Leven Lakes Near Lake Tahoe

Loch Leven Lakes hike near Lake Tahoe

Loch Leven Lakes hike near Lake Tahoe

A hike to the Loch Leven Lakes near Lake Tahoe is a rewarding experience. Three beautiful glacial tarns make up the Loch Leven group.  A well-graded trail climbs 3 miles to the first lake and then reaches two more in the next few miles.

The island-dotted lakes are beautiful and excellent for swimming. Trailhead: Big Bend Exit off I-80. The parking lot is 1/8 mile east of the Visitor Center.

This is not an easy hike as it is a 6 mile round trip to Loch Leven Lakes with an overall elevation gain of 1,120 feet to reach the lower lake. Middle Lake is only a short distance further and is larger than Lower Lake.

I recommend going this extra distance as the lake is quite lovely. Access to the trail is from Interstate 80. Take the Rainbow/Big Bend exit. The trailhead begins one-eighth of a mile east of Big Bend visitor center.

You should start this Loch Leven Lakes hike early in the day as it gets quite hot in the summer, even at the altitude near Lake Tahoe. The first part of the hike is in fairly open country with little shade.

It’s not bad on the way up but can be really hot on your return trip. Fortunately, it’s almost all downhill at that point. The upper part of the hike is through a fir forest which does give you some welcome shelter from the heat.

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