Best time to travel to Lake Tahoe

Grouse Lake in Lake Tahoe

An oasis nestled among rocks and beautiful granite slabs

Best time: mid-June–September

Grouse Lake
Grouse Lake
Grouse Lake
Grouse Lake
Grouse Lake
Grouse Lake

Grouse Lake is a picturesque isolated lake surrounded by rocks and cliffs, nestled near South Lake Tahoe in the scenic Mokelumne Wilderness, California. Grouse Lake Trail starts on the southern shore of Upper Blue Lake where you can park in the dirt parking area. At the start cross the metal footbridge and then spot the trailhead marker on your left. Grouse Lake Trail is 10 km (6 mi) long and takes you through diverse landscapes from the forest in the beginning, then past meadows and through the treeless section for the last couple of miles to Grouse Lake.

After you follow the trail for about 2 miles, you will come to Granite Lake. This is a beautiful spot to camp at, take a swim in, and enjoy a picnic. After that point, the trail winds up a series of steep inclines, rocky slopes, and grassy hillsides. You will get great vistas if there is no fog impeding your view.

The trail descends steeply as you approach Grouse Lake, which is surrounded by beautiful cliffs. You will find plenty of spots to set up camp around the lake. Take a dip in refreshing lake waters or sprawl out on the rocks under the mountain sunshine. The area offers lots of places to explore from your camp.

It is a great hike with overnight stay and excellent vistas into the impressive canyons that make up the Mokelumne Wilderness. One of the perks of the trail is that you can easily summit Deadwood Peak from the trail before descending to Grouse Lake. From the summit of Deadwood Peak, you get a great perspective over the canyons and miles up and down of the Sierra Crest.

The best time to complete a Grouse Lake Trail is from mid-June through September. Visitors need a permit for camping in the Mokelumne Wilderness. You can find a trail map on the Forest Service website.

Practical info

What is the ideal time to visit Grouse Lake at Lake Tahoe?

Grouse Lake can be accessed from mid-June through September, making it the best time to explore. The summer season brings warm and sunny weather, perfect for swimming and exploring the surrounding region. Although the trail can be navigated outside this time frame, visitors might face challenging weather, and the trail can be rougher to hike. Show more

How long does it take to walk along the Grouse Lake Trail?

Hiking the Grouse Lake Trail takes about six hours to complete, with a length of 10 km (6 mi). The trail showcases various picturesque landscapes, including forests, meadows, rocks, grassy hillsides, and lake views, but with elevation fluctuations that make the trail moderately challenging. Visitors can complete the hike in a day or camp in the area to experience the natural beauty of the environment. Show more

Where should visitors park while accessing the Grouse Lake Trail?

Visitors can park in a dirt area located on the south shore of Upper Blue Lake, which serves as the starting point of the Grouse Lake Trail. No permit or parking fees are needed to park at the trailhead. Due to the trail's popularity during peak times, it is advisable to arrive earlier in the day to obtain parking, primarily when hiking to other trails. Show more

What are the available amenities along the Grouse Lake Trail like picnic areas or campsites?

The Grouse Lake Trail has picnic areas and campsites spread out throughout. Two miles from the trailhead, Granite Lake houses excellent facilities for camping or resting, complete with a picnic area and a fantastic swimming spot. In addition, numerous campsites can be found around Grouse Lake. Be sure to acquire a permit before camping in the Mokelumne Wilderness area. Show more

Is it possible to hike to Deadwood Peak from the Grouse Lake Trail?

Hikers can walk to Deadwood Peak from the Grouse Lake Trail, which is roughly a four-mile round trip from the lake. This hike is challenging but rewarding and offers excellent views of canyons and the Sierra Crest. The hike can take a single day to complete, but hikers must carry adequate water and snacks, apply sunscreen, and wear proper hiking footwear. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva