Best time to travel to Lake Tahoe

Grouse Lake

An oasis nestled among rocks and beautiful granite slabs

Grouse Lake in Lake Tahoe 2020 - Best Time
Photo by

Tom Hilton

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.

Mokelumne Wilderness. Penstemon 2020
Mokelumne Wilderness. Penstemon

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.

Granite Lake  2020
Granite Lake

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.

Grouse Lake 2020
Grouse Lake

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.

Deadwood Peak, Mokelumne Wilderness 2020
Deadwood Peak, Mokelumne Wilderness
View of Fourth of July Lake from Deadwood Peak 2020
View of Fourth of July Lake from Deadwood Peak

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.