Red Lake

Red Lake Wildlife Area

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Red Lake


  • A well-deserved snowshoe break above the Red Lake drainage.- Red Lake
  • The view from above Red Lake east to Hope Valley.- Red Lake
  • The view from above Red Lake west to Carson Pass.- Red Lake
  • Red Lake with Highway 88 in the background.- Red Lake
  • - Red Lake
Overview + Weather
Easy access. Big snow. Possible eagle sightings.
Limited parking. No shelters or restrooms.
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
500.00 ft (152.40 m)
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Total Distance: 
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
8,605.00 ft (2,622.80 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


Red Lake is located on Highway 88 on the road to Kirkwood Ski Resort just past Hope Valley, California. A small parking lot is maintained by CalTrans, and the main highway is usually well-plowed throughout the snow season. This area is a popular choice for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing.  The main trail heads out to the west from the parking lot and traverses the main hill to a peak just below Carson Pass. It is a fairly easy hike on a fair weather day, though the weather can change quickly at this altitude.  

With beautiful mountain views and a sweeping perspective to the east into Hope Valley, this adventure provides some excellent photo opportunities. In spite of some road noise from Highway 88, the adventure is a short walk into some truly expansive country. With no loop option around the lake, the trip is best completed as a there-and-back. Always be mindful of the conditions as you plan your route; this area is prone to heavy snowfalls and unpredictable weather, and avalanche hazards are common. Please check local avalanche conditions before heading out.

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(57 within a 30 mile radius)

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