Tallac’s imposing 9,735-foot summit beckons to be climbed, but be forewarned—you’re in for a challenging 9.4-mile hike with a 3,400-foot elevation gain and hordes of other hikers on weekends. The trail is deceivingly easy in the beginning as it climbs the glacial moraine that hems in beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake. After 1.5 miles, you’ll reach grassy Floating Island Lake and, one mile later, tiny Cathedral Lake. Rest and fuel up here because, in the next 2.2 miles, you face a punishing 2,100-foot gain. Your thighs will burn as you traverse Tallac’s southwest ridge, then climb the jagged metamorphic rocks that mark the very top. The summit vistas don’t disappoint, though: To the east is Emerald Bay and Fallen Leaf Lake, to the west the lake-filled lands of Desolation Wilderness.
By Ann Marie Brown, AFAR Local Expert
Just a touch west of popular Fallen Leaf Lake near South Lake Tahoe, California lies the Mt. Tallac Trailhead, offering a few different destinations along it's route to the summit. We opted to trek to the destination just before the steep climb to the summit begins; Cathedral Lake. Along the way we enjoyed views of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe from a picture perfect ridge line, walked the shores of Floating Island Lake, and took in even better views of Lake Tahoe from higher up the trail.
By Adina Marguerite Pease, AFAR Local Expert
Rock Star at 9,000 feet
Do you see me just below the center and down to the right? I am doing one of my favorite poses, Rock Star. After taking the morning to climb up to the the top of Mt. Tallac, overlooking a piece of earth that is absolute nirvana to me, I struck my fav pose.
Mt Tallac, California 96150, USA