Top Spots to Leaf Peep in Lake Tahoe

Photo of Spooner Lake, East Shore of Lake Tahoe

It’s the leaf-peeping season in Lake Tahoe! Time to head to the hills to see the spectacular scenery that is bursting with color right now!

To save you time on where to go to see the best of Mother Nature, the team at Sun Bear Realty and Property Management are offering their top picks for “leaf pepping in the Sierra” this year.

Pack that picnic, bring the camera, and get ready for days of dazzling colors now through the end of the fall season in Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Rim Trail, of course!

At the top of the list is one of the most famous hiking and biking trails in the nation which you can access right here on the east end of town.  Before you head out, or after you return, pick up a bite to eat at Tunnel Creek Cafe.  We prefer to do the latter and top off a day on the trail with a local brew and over-stuffed sandwich, too.

There are so many options from this starting and ending point – all promise spectacular views of “big blue.”

For the novice, we recommend the shorter stroll from the Café up to a winding corner that is ideal for that perfect Christmas Card photo!  If you have some energy left, keep going up to seek out the famous “Monkey Rock.” Those who truly want to immerse themselves in the changing colors of the season can hike for hours on end to the top.

Spooner Lake

Here’s another popular spot and with good reason. The Lake is surrounded by hundreds of Aspens and more than 12,000 acres of forested and wide-open space. 

New this year at the entry to the Park is an Amphitheater and a wide variety of interpretive programming and ranger-led hikes. 

Within the park, there are 50 miles of hiking, equestrian and biking trails. In addition, this Park is the gateway to some of our favorite trails including the hike to Marlette Lake, Flume Trail and Red House.

Hope Valley

This leaf peeping paradise may in fact be one of the best places on the planet to absorb the Autumn colors of the Sierra. To get there, drive from Incline Village to South Lake Tahoe and head west to the junction of Highway 88 and Highway 89. This area is well known for its “nearly psychedelic displays of yellows and oranges” in the fall.

As noted on the website:  “Its lack of development is one of its greatest features.  Visitors can scan the meadows and see almost nothing but unspoiled beauty … from its meandering West Carson River to its guardian peaks.”

With the Valley, there are several lakes that are a perfect spot to stop and take in the glory and grandeur within.  We like to take a picnic to Silver Lake which is also ideal for those who love to kayak or fly fish.

Mt. Rose Peak Trail

Another favorite within the Sun Bear family is a day hike to the waterfall along Mt. Rose Peak Trail. This 10.7-mile loop trail is not for the novice and is considered “moderate to advanced.”  Throughout the trail, there’s no doubt you will find times to stop and click a few pics of Lake Tahoe along the way. 

For those who seek adventure, once you pass the waterfall, keep climbing to the top of Mt. Rose (not the ski resort, this is the actual mountain) at 10,000’.  The breathtaking views of the valleys below are worth every mile.  

 During this time of the year in particular, it’s a popular trail: go early, it’s worth it.  Throughout the trek, you will be wrapped in the magnificent colors of the season.