Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
250.00 ft (76.20 m)
Trail type
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The North Canyon Overlook is a generally quiet trail beginning from a small pullout in the highway near Spooner Lake State Park that moderately climbs into the forest, ending at a saddle with panoramic views across the east to north distant lake shores.

There are no signs or trail markers here. Instead, a well defined use trail heads from the shoulder parking area up into the forest. Traversing through raw Tahoe backcountry, the trail remains clear for the first 3/4 mile, weaving amongst trees and soon disappearing from view and audible reach of the highway. While the climbs and descents are relatively small, the uneven terrain make it feel a little more demanding than the modest elevation change appears.

Reaching the crest of the first climb about 130' higher than the parking area, the trail descends into vegetated forest. At the end of the first descent, the main trail disappears. Here hikers can loop around to the north, following a path that leads back toward the highway and a crossing into Spooner Lake State Park, or may continue along the route to the west, heading up another short steep climb through manzanita brush.

Just past this climb the trail reaches an opening on the slope where views stretch across to Emerald Bay. Consistent with the primitive nature of the trail, there are no benches or anything here. But some brief walking around will lead to views stretching to the casinos at Crystal Bay on the lake's north shore.

The North Canyon Overlook Trail traces what is some of the most expansive section of landscape between the highway and the lake, lending a backcountry feel to an area that is relatively easily accessible via dirt single track.

Explore the area a little bit. Hikers and snowshoers wanting a bit more of a challenge can continue west, descending and then climbing the next hill to Deadman Point. This hike is all about the unique views that lie a short distance down a path that tends to remain quiet when other nearby hiking trails can be jammed with cars filling up the parking areas.

Parking is free and at a small gravel pullout with enough room for maybe four vehicles. There are no amenities of any kind at the parking area or along the hike. While the trail is present, the landscape presents great terrain for hikers and snowshoers to leave the path and explore the backcountry.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



No crowds. Wide views.


Trail fades in the forest.

Trailhead Elevation

6,930.00 ft (2,112.26 m)

Highest point

7,090.00 ft (2,161.03 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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