Elevation Gain
574.00 ft (174.96 m)
Trail type
3.30 mi (5.31 km)
Warming hut
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.

Echo Lake is located just a few miles to the west of South Lake Tahoe, and this makes it a very popular destination in the summer. During the winter, however, the road leading to the lake is covered with snow, which makes it a perfect opportunity for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Start at the Echo Lake Sno-Park, and don't forget to pick up a permit beforehand and leave it on the dashboard where it can be easily seen. Permits can be purchased at local stores or online. If you can manage it, try to arrive before 10 a.m. to avoid traffic and find a parking spot.

Head back toward the main road to find the sign marking the Echo Lake Trail that is right across the street. If you are lucky, someone will have broken the trail for you; otherwise, be sure to pay attention to the route to stay oriented. Head northwest to reach the lake. In a healthy snow year there will be plenty of snow from the start, and once you are away from the main road and noise the trail becomes a peaceful winter wonderland.

After 1.5 miles you'll reach the lake. While the lake usually freezes in the winter, always proceed with caution as you test the surface. The dock by the lake is a perfect place to hang out and have lunch before heading up to the ridge if the conditions permit.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)


Fantastic winter views. Easy access. Lake.


Can be crowded. Weather dependent.

Pets allowed


Trailhead Elevation

7,257.00 ft (2,211.93 m)


Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Cross-country skiing

Typically multi-day


Groomed trail



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California


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