Eagle Falls is one of Lake Tahoe’s most accessible waterfalls. Fortunately for us it’s also a spectacular sight flowing right down the cliffs into Emerald Bay. Consisting of two separate sets of falls, Upper and Lower Eagle Falls (40 feet and 170 feet respectively), Eagle Falls can be taken in as either a roadside stopover or along one of two hikes.
Lower Eagle Falls, located in Emerald Bay State Park, flows off the cliff within a stone’s throw of Highway 89. Parking at Eagle Falls Trailhead and crossing the highway is a good way to take in the more dramatic lower half of the falls as well as a beautiful vista over Emerald Bay. Here you’ll be at the precipice of the falls.
Alternately, to take in Lower Eagle Falls from below, take the mile-long Vikingsholm Trail down to Emerald Bay and follow signage to the short trail up to Lower Eagle Falls.
Upper Eagle Falls is reached via a quarter-mile hike up Eagle Creek along the Eagle Falls/Lake Trail. There is also a mile-long Eagle Falls Loop option. Unlike Lower Eagle Falls, Upper Eagle Falls is technically in Desolation Wilderness, so you’ll need to grab a permit at the trailhead (permits are required for all day-use and overnight trips into Desolation). Continuing on past Upper Eagle Falls will take you up to beautiful glacially formed Eagle Lake.
Hikes to both sets of falls are well within reach of families with young kids.
This is a popular area for locals and tourists alike, and one of the most popular destinations in Lake Tahoe. If you are planning a visit on the weekend, try and arrive early to avoid parking difficulties. Parking along Highway 89 near the trailhead entrance is free, while parking within the Eagle Falls Trailhead area proper costs $5. The Vikingsholm Trailhead is only a few hundred yards north on Highway 89.
Dogs are allowed on trails in Desolation Wilderness/Upper Eagle Falls, but they are not allowed on trails in Emerald Bay State Park and Lower Eagle Falls.