Whether you like your hikes light and easy or moderate to strenuous, there’s a number of maintained paths around Granlibakken that will hook you up with either the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT ) or both as they overlap. At 165 miles, TRT is one of the world’s premier trails, passing through six counties, three wilderness areas, two states and one state park. Covering three states (California, Oregon and Washington) and 3,000 miles, The PCT traverses the Sierra Nevada, passing through the west side of Lake Tahoe. With both trails offering something unique, here’s a few of our favorite hikes along the great intersections:
- This is a must-hike for the avid because it combines long distance with minimal elevation gain at less than 1,000 feet. This 11-mile hike follows a piece of the Pacific Crest and Tahoe Rim trails to the east summit of Twin Peaks, providing hikers an awesome view of Lake Tahoe and vistas of the great mountainous terrain. As you hike the open ridge along the Sierra crest you’ll meet up at the Pacific Crest and Tahoe Rim Trail junction. It is here where you’ll take in fantastic views of the great peaks of the Desolation Wilderness and the center of Granite Chief Wilderness areas. The trail is free from snow around this time of year.
- I like to think of this one as a quickie climb with elevation. While this trail is only 3 miles long, there’s a nice elevation gain of 660 feet providing for a great aerobic workout. Close to Tahoe City this hike provides its own bouquet of summer wildflowers, vibrant fall color and year-round wildlife watching.
- If you’re looking for a trail with distance and its share of switchbacks and challenges, this one is for you. With an array of ridge-line views of Lake Tahoe, Granite Chief Wilderness, both Blackwood and Ward canyons, this 16 mile moderate to strenuous hike provides for lush areas loaded with wildflowers in both canyons. Twin Peaks, at an elevation of 8,878, is a Sierra crest landmark and is accessible from the trail. There are a few streams to cross and a couple of nice camping spots. There’s a nice waterfall along the upper Ward Canyon part of the trail, and a handful of meadows before you hit some dense forest with towering pines and firs that lead into the Ward Creek watershed. There’s lots of wildlife, too, so don’t be surprised if you run into bear, coyote, raccoon, blue grouse, or even goshawk and spotted owls along this trail.