Tahoe hiking: Longer route to Angora Lakes offers fun challenge | SierraSun.com

Tahoe hiking: Longer route to Angora Lakes offers fun challenge

Anthony Gentile
A kayaker cuts across the water at Angora Lakes Resort, which sits on the upper of two lakes. The lakes inset from Lake Tahoe’s South Shore can be reached with a two-mile hike for those looking for a challenge.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.