Best time to visit Lake Tahoe

Loch Leven Lakes in Lake Tahoe

A beautiful chain of lakes high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Best time: June–November

Loch Leven Lakes
Loch Leven Lakes
Loch Leven Lakes
Loch Leven Lakes

Loch Leven is a name that refers to a group of beautiful and accessible lakes in Tahoe National Forest, surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains within Tahoe National Forest in California. The lakes were named after the famous Loch Leven in Central Scotland.

Loch Leven Lakes Trail is usually accessible from early June through November. A 13-km (8.1-mi) moderate out-and-back hike winds from Hampshire Rocks Rd near Big Bend Group Campground off I-80 all the way up to High Loch Leven Lake. Loch Leven offers an iconic high alpine Sierra Nevada lake experience, so it's quite crowded during the summer months. Hikers pass South Yuba River canyon, crossing the ridge, and gradually gaining an elevation of 470 m (1,545 ft). The trail also goes over the 1860s railroad tracks of the Central Pacific railroad, built with help of Chinese labour, which remains one of the major passenger and freight routes to and from California.

Loch Leven chain consists of low, middle, and high Lochs and Salmon Lake with a separate path. Camping at the lakes is possible as well as fishing if you have a license. For campfires, BBQs, backpacking stoves, and lanterns require special permits. Everything is there to relax and enjoy the beautiful Tahoe National Forest.

Practical info

What are the best months to visit Loch Leven Lakes Trail?

The ideal time to take a trip to Loch Leven Lakes Trail is from June up to November when the weather is mild and the hike is accessible. However, the location can be very busy during summertime, when people crave the iconic Sierra Nevada high alpine lake experience. Conversely, it would be best to avoid this place during winter due to snowfall and trail inaccessibility. Show more

How long is the hike from Hampshire Rocks Rd to High Loch Leven Lake?

If a person is planning to hike following the route from Big Bend Group Campground's Hampshire Rocks Rd, the running distance from there to High Loch Leven Lake is 8.1 miles, which is equivalent to 13 kilometers. This trail provides a moderate hiking experience for tourists. The hike from the Canyon of South Yuba River to crossing the ridge gives a gradual 1,545 feet elevation that leads to a unique historical experience of crossing Central Pacific RailRoad tracks of the 1860s. Show more

Can visitors camp at any of the Loch Leven Lakes?

The visitors have the opportunity to live in anyone of the Loch Leven Lakes with obliged permits for campfires, backpacking stoves, BBQs, and lanterns. By having permission to camp in the Tahoe National Forest area, they can enjoy nature's natural beauty with an accompanying calm and serene environment. Therefore, visitors should find the whole camping experience relaxing, either camping overnight or extended stays depending on the willingness of the visitor. Show more

Is fishing allowed in the lakes, and if so, what type of license is required?

Indeed, Loch Leven lake is home to various species of trout, such as rainbow trout, brook trout, and brown trout. However, to fish in the scenic waters of Loch Leven lake in California, visitors must obtain a California fishing license before taking part in angling. Visitors should also take note that on no account are they allowed to use live bait on the lake. Again, always keep in mind that fishing regulations in the area may ultimately differ from the information provided; therefore, confirm before fishing. Show more

What is the significance of the 1860s railroad tracks visitors come across on the hike?

The 1860s Central Pacific railroad tracks once a great passenger and freight route to and from California is a substantial historic artifact. These tracks represent the Chinese laborers' massive movement and have since become the perfect reminder of California's history of human accomplishment. The surrounding trails have an added advantage of a historical experience that tourists will find worthwhile on their hike/adventure, adding more spice to the natural and serene environment of the Lake area. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva