Spring is here and the skiing is still great, but with temperatures warming it's never too early to plan your spring and summer hikes. Escape the crowds and be at one with nature surrounded by peace, tranquility and the flowery meadows of North Lake Tahoe! Late May/June to mid-August is optimal time to see wildflowers at higher elevations so plan your spring and summer hikes accordingly. Grab your water and plenty of snacks and get ready for a floral paradise bursting with color and fragrant wildflowers.
Thunder Mountain Trail – Palisades Tahoe
Palisades Tahoe trails make great half-day adventures perfect for wildflower pursuits! Palisades Tahoe's unique alpine meadows are filled with Giant Red Indian Paintbrush, Yellow Salisfy, and California Snow Flowers. The Thunder Mountain Trail boasts beautiful flora and fauna this time of year in addition to small waterfalls and stunning views of Squaw Creek. The lower portion of the trail crosses the creek via the footbridge and is a great spot to explore. The start of the trail is located at the bottom of the Exhibition chairlift.
Download the Palisades Tahoe app to find even more trails, including the family friendly Trollstigen Trail where you'll find Mariposa lily and buckwheat. This gentle trail is less than a mile and traverses the base of Olympic Valley starting at The Resort at Squaw Creek and ending at Palisades Tahoe Village.
Page Meadows – Tahoe City
Page Meadows is a series of 5 interconnected meadows with beautiful mountain views and very few hills making it great for families. This easy, 1.4 mile trail has great wildflowers and leaf-bearing plants, including views of Ward Canyon and Ward Peak. From Highway 89 turn on Pineland Avenue, near Sunnyside Restaurant. Veer left at the "Y" toward Ward Valley. Follow the road toward the Tahoe Rim Trailhead and take the TRT on the right to head toward Page Meadows.
Another Tahoe City spot for wildflowers is Lake Forest Beach. Head to Skylandia State park from Tahoe City and take Bristlecone Street all the way to the end to find yellow buttercups and vibrant, purple lupines along the beach shoreline.
Barker North to Vista Point – Pacific Crest Trail
Discover open fields full of mule's ears and amazing views of the Desolation Wilderness, Blackwood Canyon and Lake Tahoe on the Barker North to Vista Point trail. This moderate, 3.5 mile round trip trail crosses a stream bordered with asters, delphiniums, tiger lilies, columbines, paintbrushes and other wildflowers. Trek through open volcanic terrain and red fir forest leading to two lofty volcanic plugs where you can picnic and sightsee.
To reach the Barker Pass trailhead, take Hwy 89 4 miles south from Tahoe City or 4 miles north from Tahoma, then turn (right if coming from the north and left if coming from the south) onto Blackwood Canyon Road at Kaspian Campground. The trailhead is 7.5 miles from the turnoff.