Type: Mountain
Distance: 4 Miles
Elevation: 253 Feet

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Fallen Leaf Lake Out & Back MAP 38.923851, -120.027178

Fallen Leaf Lake Mountain Bike Trail Out & Back Details

Flat single and double track trail.


By Bike: Turn left after crossing the large 15th Street bridge on the South Tahoe Beach Cruise and you will carefully cross Hwy 89 to enter at the Forest Service gate.
By Car: Where Hwy 89 (Emerald Bay Rd) reduces from 4 lanes to 2 lanes is a parking area on the right. Directly across the road is a green Forest Service Gate. Enter the trail there.

GPS: 38.923851, -120.027178 (Emerald Bay Road)

The Ride:
Fallen Leaf Lake Mountain Bike Trail Out & Back: A fun mountain bike ride through the forest to Fallen Leaf Lake on a combination of alternating single and double track trails. The ride begins on a single track trail and when you come to a junction, turns right as the Lake is North West of you. Once on the double track stay left as there are a couple of underused trails that connect to your ride. You will arrive at a green Forest Service Gate and Fallen Leaf Rd. Cross the road and enter the single track trail and follow the sign posts to the Lake. Once at the Lake, there are a number of great spots for a picnic, swimming or just relaxing. Before you is the iconic Mt Tallac rising to 9,735 ft. Early in the morning when the lake is still, like a mirror, Mt. Tallac’s reflection glistens on the crystal clear water. As the snow melts during springtime the famous snow cross appears on the face of Mt. Tallac – it is a common subject of many paintings.

Fallen Leaf Lake has been a popular retreat for the wealthy, adventurous and artist. John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, and others came here to write and the motion picture Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, was filmed here. Up the headwaters of the Lake is the beautiful Glen Alpine waterfall. In 1863, Nathan Gilmore discovered mineral springs (then called “Soda Springs”) further up the canyon. In 1884, Gilmore built a 16 room hotel at the springs and bottle and sold the spring water. In 1921, fire destroyed the hotel and was later rebuilt by Bernard Maybeck a famed architect. Today, there is a remnant building at the site.

  • Bike accessible campgrounds: Fallen Leaf Lake Tahoe
    Fallen Leaf Lake and Mt. Tallac
  • Mt Tallac
  • Upper Taylor Creek
  • Golden Aspen
  • Lavender Lupine