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Big Meadows Trailhead in South Lake Tahoe

Big Meadows Hike

There are several lakes accessible from the Big Meadows Trailhead off Hwy 89 in South Lake Tahoe. Grab your hiking boots, water, some sunscreen (maybe bug spray too) + a buddy to hit the trails!

1. Big Meadows To Round Lake: Moderate 2.7 miles one way. Take Hwy 50 west to Hwy 89, 4 miles to the Big Meadows parking lot on the left. Follow the trail at the lower end of the parking lot approximately 200 yards, where it intersects with the highway. Look for the trailhead sign across Hwy 89.The first 1/2 mile of this trail climbs from the highway through Jeffrey pine and white fir to Big Meadow. After crossing the creek and a large meadow, the trail enters the cover of a lodgepole forest. In another 1-1/2 miles, the trail descends nearly 250 feet along an aspen-covered bank to a junction. Take the left fork which leads by a wall of volcanic rock. After another short climb up a small hill, the trail leads to Round Lake.

2. Big Meadows To Scotts Lake: Easy 2.5 miles one way. Follow directions to Round and Dardanelles Lake until you reach the Scotts Lake trail junction approximately 1/4 mile after the trail begins. Here the trail climbs upward at a gradual pace through Jeffrey pine, and fir, high above Big Meadow. A great hike in the fall, the trail travels through a beautiful aspen grove which opens into a valley covered with juniper and sagebrush. A short distance further, the trail turns into a jeep road, leading to Scotts Lake.

3. Big Meadows To Dardanelles Lake: Aspen trees and wildflowers along the trail make this an exceptionally scenic hike during the spring and fall. Follow directions from the previous hike to the trailhead. When the trail forks approximately 1-1/2 miles past Big Meadow, take the right fork. In less than a 1/4 mile, take the unmarked trail to your left which crosses the creek. The trail winds through willows before crossing two more streams. A short climb leads you to Dardanelles Lake, surrounded by picturesque granite cliffs on one side and flat granite shelves on the other.


Hike content provided by U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.