Tahoe hiking: Longer route to Angora Lakes offers fun challenge
Getting to the trail
From South Lake Tahoe: Take Highway 50 west toward the “Y” before turning onto northbound Highway 89 (Emerald Bay Road). Travel approximately 3 miles, turn left onto Fallen Leaf Road (closed April through November). Follow road around lake for approximately 5 miles, parking available near Fallen Leaf Chapel and fire station.
From Tahoe City: Take southbound Highway 89 at the Wye, then travel south roughly 27 miles, past Emerald Bay, and take a right onto Fallen Leaf Lake Road.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Angora Lakes offer a wealth of recreational opportunities on the water inset from Lake Tahoe’s South Shore. The upper lake also serves up the most famous lemonade in Tahoe.
Driving to a short hike puts Angora Lakes easily within reach, but for those that want to truly earn their lemonade a greater challenge awaits. A two-mile hike from Fallen Leaf Chapel features challenging terrain and elevation gain on the way to the Angoras — and views of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe early on.
WATCH YOUR STEP
A steep start sets the tone for the first half of the hike, which gets going on a narrow trail with loose granite throughout. Keep eyes on the trail while plotting the next step, but make sure to glance at Fallen Leaf as the hike winds upward.
FULL VIEW OF FALLEN LEAF
A little more than a quarter-mile into the trek, Fallen Leaf Lake comes further into view — offering a great chance to see it along with Lake Tahoe in the distance. The trail eventually turns away from the lake, beginning a steeper ascent amidst raspberry bushes.
The trail becomes less rocky and widens at the half-mile mark, but the climbing continues. Shaded switchbacks wind upward before coming to a plateau a little less than a mile into the hike.
TASTE OF CIVILIZATION
A parking lot appears after about a mile, and will typically be full of circling cars during summer. Walk right on through the lot, follow signs toward Angora Lakes Resort, and don’t second-guess the decision to hike instead of driving.
A dirt road leads from the parking lot to Angora Lakes, and the hike concludes with a mile of gradual decent to the resort. Pass by the first lake and stop for a picture, a snack — and a quiet locale.
SIPPING AND SPLASHING AT ANGORA
The bigger of the two Angora Lakes is home to a resort, which has a store that features kayaks, rowboats and stand-up paddleboards for rent. It also has snacks, sandwiches and Angora’s Famous Lemonade — a sweet, tart organic refreshment served in cups and pitchers that pairs well with admiring the scenery.
Sit on the shore and enjoy the lake that sits in a bowl between high-rising alpine terrain, or take a dip. While the upper Angora features one main shoreline, those looking to explore can take a watercraft across the lake, which spans roughly 1,000 feet.
Trail to Angora Lakes parking lot is narrow with steep elevation gain, and is a mix of loose granite and dirt with both sunny and covered areas. Trail from parking lot to lakes is a wide dirt road with moderate elevation gain. Above hike was 4 miles round-trip, can be completed in 2-3 hours.