Hiking trails for all levels of experience crisscross the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe. Before setting out, you may wish to contact the local visitor centers or sporting-goods shops for a map and more in-depth information on particular trails, or hire a guide. Try Tahoe Trips & Trails (tel. 800/581-HIKE [4453] or 530/583-4506; www.tahoetrips.com) for short and long guided hikes. Everything is provided: food, drinks, transportation, and information about the lake. Going on your own? Some of the most popular short hikes in the area are listed here:

  • Eagle Falls/Eagle Lake: This moderately easy trail is well marked and begins at Eagle Picnic Area, across Hwy. 89 from Emerald Bay. It's only about a third of a mile to the steel footbridge overlooking the falls and 2 miles round-trip (1 1/2-2 hr.) to Eagle Lake. Be sure to sign in at the self-registration station at the trail head.
  • Emerald Bay/Vikingsholm: The trail starts at the parking area on the north side of Emerald Bay, on Hwy. 89. It's a wide, well-maintained trail but fairly steep, about 2.5 miles round-trip. At the bottom of the trail is a picnic area, as well as world-famous Vikingsholm, a replica of a Scandinavian castle.
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  • Nevada Shoreline: Begin at the paved parking lot on the west side of Hwy. 28, 3 miles south of Sand Harbor. The trail drops to the beach and follows the shoreline, passing Chimney Beach, Secret Harbor, and Whale Beach. The trail eventually connects to a service road that can be followed back up to the parking area. It's an easy 4-mile hike, with a vertical climb of only 300 feet.
  • Shirley Lake: This trail leads to Shirley Lake and then down to Shirley Canyon. Take the tram at Squaw Valley up to High Camp and hike down, or vice versa. The trail begins at the end of Squaw Creek Road, next to the cable car building. It's a 4-mile hike, easy to moderate in difficulty, with some steep sections.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.