Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,275.00 ft (388.62 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
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This hike starts and ends at scenic lakes along the southwestern fringes of the Lake Tahoe basin. Fallen Leaf Lake is a sizeable lake area and a popular gateway to the Desolation Wilderness backcountry. Angora Lakes are a pair of small lakes perched near the base of Angora Peak, with a summer resort at the upper lake with a small market that serves lemonade drinks popular with visitors throughout the summer season.

Hikers can choose to hike up to Angora Lakes as an out-and-back on the trail, which would cover a round trip distance of about 3.5 miles. Or they can circle back down to Fallen Leaf Lake on a couple other trails, making a loop hike with a total distance of 5 miles.

The hike begins at an unsigned trail between the Fallen Leaf Chapel and the Fallen Leaf Fire Station that kicks off with a steep uphill climb which will get your heart pumping immediately. Rising to views over Mount Tallac and Fallen Leaf Lake, the trail soon winds its way into the pine forest before emerging at the small Angora Lakes visitor parking area. A closed dirt road proceeds about 3/4 mile to reach Upper Angora Lake.

During the summer, the lakes are a popular swimming destination, with a small sand beach along its western shore. After taking in the scene, hikers can choose between returning on the path they came, a distance of about 1.75 miles, back to the trailhead. Or they can make a loop out of the various trails, proceeding through the parking area and picking up Angora Ridge Trail, which parallels the narrow road on a dirt single track. Keeping an eye out, a small path leaves the Ridge Trail and climbs a bushy slope up to the Angora Lookout, a Civilian Conservation Corps-built fire lookout that has been empty since the 70's, but has a couple picnic tables and impressive views in either direction from the ridge. 

From the north base of the lookout towers, a trail—named the Clark Trail on maps—descends back toward Fallen Leaf Lake, eventually returning to the Fallen Leaf community on a side road just opposite the Fallen Leaf Marina. From here, walk along the road about 0.4 miles to return to the Fire Station and trailhead.

Parking is located near the fire station, however it is extremely limited. Reaching the Fallen Leaf community requires driving several miles down a narrow road where cars must pull off on a shoulder to allow others to pass, so while this road is accessible to all vehicle types, allow a little extra time to make it to and from the small community.

The Fallen Leaf Marina operates a small market that is open from Memorial Day - September 30th. 

There are no amenities at the trailhead, though Upper Angora Lake has bathrooms, water and a market that is open during the summer.

This trail will likely be completely buried in snow during the winter season, however Angora Lakes are reachable by a different snowshoe trail during winter conditions.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Excellent views. Variety of points of interest.

Cons

Parking at Fallen Leaf Lake is extremely limited. Some road walking required.

Trailhead Elevation

6,390.00 ft (1,947.67 m)

Highest point

7,420.00 ft (2,261.62 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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