Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
400.00 ft (121.92 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.

Lying in a rugged glacial basin a short hike beyond the Eagle Falls Trailhead, Eagle Lake is a family-friendly destination for soaking the scenic alpine setting that rises above Emerald Bay. Just a mile in from the trailhead, the Eagle Lake Trail rises gradually as it follows the Eagle Creek drainage. The mile-long hike is a good option for families with kids or for those looking for a summer swim in the mountains.

Entering Desolation Wilderness, the trail passes by waterfalls and underneath towering granite peaks before emerging on the picturesque lake. There is a fork in the trail approximately two-thirds of a mile from the trailhead, with a steep trail climbing to the left toward Desolation’s high country and Velma, Dicks, and Fontanillis lakes. Take the trail to the right to continue toward the lake.

While considered a relatively popular hike, most of the crowd filters out beyond Upper Eagle Falls. With plenty of lakeshore to explore, visitors shouldn’t have a problem finding their own slice of solitude here. Please make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles and help out by picking up any trash left around by careless hikers.

Climbing is popular both below and above Eagle Lake, and various granite crags offer a mix of traditional climbing, top-roping, and bouldering.

Free day use permits are required in Desolation Wilderness and are available at the Eagle Falls/Eagle Lake Trailhead. Parking is available at the trailhead for a small fee with free parking located adjacent to the trailhead area along Highway 89. Dogs are permitted in Desolation Wilderness.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Tahoe Basin Management Unit


Accessible alpine lake surrounded by dramatic granite peaks. Summer swimming.



Trailhead Elevation

6,600.00 ft (2,011.68 m)


Rock climbing
Big vistas


Nearby Adventures

Emerald Bay State Park + Desolation Wilderness
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping


Eagle Lake is also a great little snowshoe trek. Did it last winter and was in awe of the rugged, towering, otherworldly landscape just a short hike past the Eagle Falls bridge. Definitely plan to do it again this winter.
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