Five Lakes Trail

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Five Lakes Trail


  • The Five Lakes Trailhead.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Only one way to go.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Alpine Meadows view.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Five Lakes Trail, Granite Chief Wilderness.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Granite formations along the Five Lakes Trail.- Five Lakes Trail
  • A marmot finds some shade along the Five Lakes Trail.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Steps have been constructed into portions of the trail..- Five Lakes Trail
  • Alpine Meadows' Phantom chair lift.- Five Lakes Trail
  • More climbing along the Five Lakes Trail.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Views from the Five Lakes Trail.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Five Lakes Trail.- Five Lakes Trail
  • The first lake.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Lake two.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Lake four.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Fall colors along the Five Lakes Trail.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Lake shore along the Five Lakes Trail.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Use this as a marker to find your way back to the main trail.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Making better time on the descent.- Five Lakes Trail
  • Map and information. Note that dogs are prohibited in some areas of the wilderness from May 15 to July 15.- Five Lakes Trail
Overview + Weather
Great views. Good climb.
No loop. Can be crowded.
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,138.00 ft (346.86 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
4.86 mi (7.82 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,486.00 ft (1,976.93 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


The Granite Chief Wilderness Area is a 25,000-acre section of the Tahoe National Forest. Established in 1984, the park includes glaciated valleys, exposed granite formations, and 9,000-foot peaks. One of the most beautiful and thrilling hikes in the wilderness area is the 4.8-mile Five Lakes Trail. Few other trails in Tahoe exhibit the secluded charm of this location without an overnight camp in the middle.

The Five Lakes Trailhead is located right off the main Alpine Meadows road. Park across the street and prepare yourself for a strenuous climb of 1,200 feet in a little less than 2 miles. Along the way you will be presented with views of Alpine Meadows and the surrounding mountains. Take note of a phantom chairlift, which is rumored to be a future connection between Alpine and Squaw Valley. Once you have reached the Granite Chief Wilderness sign, your climb is finished.

Follow the trail a bit further until you reach the first lake. From here, there are many smaller trails meandering around and between the lakes. Take your time and explore each one to find your favorite. Once you are ready to return, you can use the top of the chairlift as a marker to find your way back to the main trail. Return to the trailhead using the same path.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(25 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(112 within a 30 mile radius)

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