Eagle Lake

Desolation Wilderness

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

Start Exploring
Eagle Lake


  • Eagle Lake.- Eagle Lake
  • The trail to Eagle Lake follows Eagle Creek, crossing at Upper Eagle Falls.- Eagle Lake
  • Eagle Lake Trail.- Eagle Lake
  • Summertime waders above Upper Eagle Falls.- Eagle Lake
  • Eagle Lake Trail.- Eagle Lake
  • Eagle Lake Trail.- Eagle Lake
  • Soaking up the sun on Eagle Lake.- Eagle Lake
  • Eagle Lake panorama.- Eagle Lake
  • An island beckons swimmers at Eagle Lake.- Eagle Lake
  • Storm brewing over South Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay.- Eagle Lake
  • An unnamed, highly featured granite peak above the Eagle Lake Trail.- Eagle Lake
  • A climber near Eagle Lake.- Eagle Lake
  • Climbing options abound near Eagle Lake and Eagle Falls Trails.- Eagle Lake
Overview + Weather
Accessible alpine lake surrounded by dramatic granite peaks. Summer swimming.
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Parking Pass: 
Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,600.00 ft (2,011.68 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Lying in a rugged glacial basin a short hike beyond the Eagle Falls Trailhead, Eagle Lake is a family-friendly destination for soaking the scenic alpine setting that rises above Emerald Bay. Just a mile in from the trailhead, the Eagle Lake Trail rises gradually as it follows the Eagle Creek drainage. The mile-long hike is a good option for families with kids or for those looking for a summer swim in the mountains.

Entering Desolation Wilderness, the trail passes by waterfalls and underneath towering granite peaks before emerging on the picturesque lake. There is a fork in the trail approximately two-thirds of a mile from the trailhead, with a steep trail climbing to the left toward Desolation’s high country and Velma, Dicks, and Fontanillis lakes. Take the trail to the right to continue toward the lake.

While considered a relatively popular hike, most of the crowd filters out beyond Upper Eagle Falls. With plenty of lakeshore to explore, visitors shouldn’t have a problem finding their own slice of solitude here. Please make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles and help out by picking up any trash left around by careless hikers.

Climbing is popular both below and above Eagle Lake, and various granite crags offer a mix of traditional climbing, top-roping, and bouldering.

Free day use permits are required in Desolation Wilderness and are available at the Eagle Falls/Eagle Lake Trailhead. Parking is available at the trailhead for a small fee with free parking located adjacent to the trailhead area along Highway 89. Dogs are permitted in Desolation Wilderness.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(27 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(108 within a 30 mile radius)

Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
94 Members
Who's Done It
47 Members
Submission by
319 Adventures Explored
311 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info