Now that I’ve drawn you in with my hyperbolic headline, let me clarify — what makes a snowshoe trail the best is highly subjective. Maybe you’re looking for an easy 1-2 hour trek on a flat trail, or perhaps you want an all-day event with extreme elevation gain and Instagram-worthy views. And choosing just five? That’s tough.
So while your idea of the best snowshoe trails might be different than mine — and there are many more trails to choose from— I can say for certain these are all top-notch trails well worth strapping on your snowshoes for. Bonus: They are all dog friendly and just a short drive from anywhere in South Lake Tahoe.
Past a scenic frozen pond, through an aspen stand, over a creek, across a meadow, through towering pines and down to Nevada Beach — a snowshoe-powered outing through Rabe Meadows has a little bit of everything. At roughly 2.2 miles, the out-and-back trek is easy, flat and offers many opportunities to explore off the trail. Pro tip: pack a thermos of hot chocolate or apple cider to enjoy from a snowy bench while you take in the views of Lake Tahoe.
Fallen Leaf Lake
There is no shortage of gorgeous alpine lakes in the Lake Tahoe region, and Fallen Leaf Lake is a local favorite for all seasons. Its crystal clear blue waters highlight colorful rocks, and snow-capped mountains loom in the distance. If you’re feeling ambitious, follow the 8.1-mile trail circling the lake, or turn the trail into an out-and-back trek with a distance of your choosing. A Sno-Park permit is required, and can be purchased online for $5 a day or $25 for the season.
Eagle Creek Canyon
It’s hard to pick a favorite part about this 3.5-mile, out-and-back trail located in the Desolation Wilderness. Maybe it’s the ice climbers that frequent the area, but it’s probably the spectacular views of Lake Tahoe. Bear in mind that the ice on Eagle Lake may be thin, so follow the trail around the lake to be safe. Make sure to pick up a free (but mandatory) wilderness permit at the trailhead.
Whether you’re rocking snowshoes or skis, Jake’s Peak is a popular place to be in the winter. The 3.9-mile loop offers panoramic views of Big Blue and will definitely get your legs burning with the steep incline. For the sake of the backcountry skiers, snowshoers, make your own tracks.
Van Sickle Bi-State Park
Located directly behind Heavenly Village, the Van Sickle Rim Trail Connector gets you above the tree line in no time for epic views of Lake Tahoe and the community surrounding it. From the trailhead to the start of the Tahoe Rim Trail is roughly 3.3 miles, with an opportunity to check out a vista point early into the hike. Keep going onto the Tahoe Rim Trail if you’re up for it, or turn around to complete the out-and-back trek. The park is closed to vehicles in the winter, so park in the garage in Heavenly Village.