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Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail

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  • The Palisades Creek Trailhead.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Crossing the dam.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Signage after dam.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Trail split for the east side of the lake.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • The view from the top of Long Lake.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Looking up Long Lake from the east side.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • The view from the granite hills in the south.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • No lifeguards on duty at Long Lake.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Trees line the shore, making for a perfect afternoon hammock siesta.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Looking south at Long Lake.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • The east peninsula at Long Lake.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Reflection from the peninsula.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Devils peak in the fading light.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Sunset on Long Lake.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
  • Devils Peak and Long Lake in the morning light.- Long Lake Swimming Hole via Palisades Creek Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Large lake. Island. Jumping rocks.
Cons: 
Crowds.
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Region:
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Location type: 
Cliff jumping
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

It's a hot and sunny day in Truckee, and the Truckee River isn't seeing the flow it used to, so tubing is out of the question. You've decided you want to take a dip in a lake, but you want to branch out from the Lake Tahoe or Donner Lake spots that you've been visiting since the temperatures became bearable in late spring. If you don't mind a short hike and dirt road access, Long Lake is a great alternative for your alpine swim.

As far as alpine lakes go, Long Lake is moderately large due to its length. This provides for a decent amount of rocky shoreline for laying out and plenty of trees for hanging hammocks. The shore is covered entirely by granite in most areas, and some spots provide boulders up to 9 feet above the water. Head to the southernmost tip of the lake for the best jumping spots.

Long Lake lies about a mile in on the Palisades Creek Trail. The Palisades Creek Trail is an 18.2-mile out-and-back trail that leads to the North Fork of the American River. You'll have an unimpeded view of the east-facing wall of Devils Peak to keep you humble even after nailing the most epic of backflips into Long Lake.

To access the east side of Long Lake, use the Palisades Creek Trail before taking the marked left fork in the trail at the top of the lake. The trail is 2 miles there and back, making sunset possible if you aren't camping. The site lies in Tahoe National Forest, so follow Forest Service guidelines and regulations. There is a parking lot located between the Cascade Lakes on Kidd Lakes road where you can safely park your car for the day and night for free.

Cliff Jumping Safety

Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.

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(23 within a 30 mile radius)

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