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Mount Tallac in California

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Mount Tallac
Mount Tallac

Mount Tallac is a prominent peak located southwest of Lake Tahoe, in El Dorado County of California. It is part of Desolation Wilderness in the Eldorado National Forest with the peak named after the Washo word dalálak, which means 'big mountain.'

The trail to Mount Tallac is 10.2 miles (16.4 kilometers) both ways and is rated difficult. It features 3.500 ft (1.066 m) of elevation. Covered by snow in winter, the trail's best time for walking is from May until October. Mount Tallac summit is at 9.735 ft (2.967 m) above sea level and offers marvelous views onto Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra mountains.

From Mount Tallac trailhead hikers can choose between three main trails: 1.7 mi (2.73 km) to Floating Island Lake, 2.5 mi (4.02 km) to Cathedral Lake, and a 5-mi (8.04-km) trail to Mount Tallac itself. The round trip takes most people about 6 hours.

Practical info

When is the best time to hike Mount Tallac?

You can hike Mount Tallac from May through October while the trail is usually snow-covered in winter. The hiking trail spans 10.2 miles and the walk can become easier from spring to autumn months as the weather becomes mild and stable. To capture the best experience of your hike, start in the morning to avoid the heat and have enough daytime to complete the journey. Show more

Where is Mount Tallac located?

Located southwest of Lake Tahoe, Mount Tallac is situated in the El Dorado County of California. It's a part of the Desolation Wilderness located in the Eldorado National Forest and remains one of the popular sites of attraction. Visitors must get a wilderness permit before hiking which is issued at Forest Service ranger stations and visitor centers. The peak got its name after the Washo word dalálak, meaning 'big mountain.' Show more

What is the difficulty level of Mount Tallac trail?

The Mount Tallac trail is graded as 'difficult' and the 10.2-mile round-trip hike involves 1.066 m (3.500 ft) of elevation, making it very challenging for inexperienced hikers. Fitness is a necessary requirement, and hikers must carry the right gear, sturdy hiking boots, sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, and sufficient water and food. Adequate preparation beforehand and hygienic practices during the trail can assure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Show more

What are the three main trails to choose from at the Mount Tallac trailhead?

Upon arriving at the Mount Tallac trailhead, hikers are presented with a choice of three main trails- Floating Island Lake, Cathedral Lake, and Mount Tallac. As the shortest and easiest of the three, the Floating Island Lake trail covers 1.7 miles (2.73 km), while the 2.5 miles (4.02 km) long Cathedral Lake trail offers a moderate climb. The 5 miles (8.04 km) Mount Tallac trail is the most challenging and requires time, equipment, and adequate fitness that should not be overlooked by visitors. Show more

What are some of the scenic vistas visible while hiking Mount Tallac?

Hiking Mount Tallac offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra mountain range. Upon summit, the panoramic view of the lake and surrounding mountains opens up an unforgettable scenery that's unparalleled. Navigating through the trail, you may see wildlife such as marmots and deer. Photography enthusiasts will enjoy this beautiful and picturesque surrounding as they capture lifelong memories of nature's artistry. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin