Take a hike: Scenic jaunt to Lake Margaret well worth the work (video)
GETTING TO THE TRAIL
From South Lake Tahoe: Take Highway 50 toward Sacramento, turning east onto Highway 89 (Luther Pass). Follow Highway 89 until it T’s into Highway 88. Turn right onto 88 and head over Carson Pass. Just past the dam at Caples Lake, you will cross the spillway. Look for a brown Forest Service sign that says “Margaret Lake Trail Head.” Park in this lot and look for the trail head marker.
Lake Margaret Trail is a 45-minute drive from South Lake Tahoe, located nearby (before) Kirkwood Mountain Resort in the Carson Pass area. The road turning into the parking area is unmarked, though once back there a sign clearly states the trail is for Margaret Lake.
IT STARTS SLOW
The almost five-mile, out-and-back trail begins as a mellow jaunt through a treed, rocky area. It’s mostly flat and a little shady, especially when we hiked in mid-afternoon. The path was our own; known to be a pretty crowded spot on summer weekends, autumn might be a better time to enjoy the area.
CROSS THE STREAM
Early on in the hike, we crossed what I believe to be Caples Creek — where logs were placed securely over as a foot path. It wasn’t hard to navigate, though it was a bit of a balancing act.
NOPE, NOT THERE YET
A mile before we reached Margaret Lake, we came upon a rather unimpressive pond — which I immediately thought was our destination, until we checked our Google directions. Don’t be fooled. You’re almost there.
FEEL THAT BURN
Nearing the lake, plant life became denser (due to proximity to water, of course) and the air even felt damper. We hiked up a yellow rock face to reach the lake, and it was steep enough to make me puff a little. Wear good hiking shoes.
LAKE VIEWS WORTH THE TREK
It took about an hour to reach Lake Margaret, and it was definitely worth it. We had the pristine area to ourselves; and the water was still, surrounded by mountains — and peaceful. I read that it’s a great place to picnic, swim and climb, though we simply enjoyed the view for awhile before heading back.
Plan for the hike trip to take a half-day or more, especially if you plan to hang at the lake. The difficulty level is moderate; there were some rocky, rough areas but nothing an older child couldn’t handle.
Dogs and horses are allowed on the trail; and there are apparently a few camping spots. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Dress in layers and wear appropriate footwear.