Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail

We highly recommend the Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail experience. If you haven’t visited Lake Tahoe in the last 6 months definitely check this one out, it only opened last summer. In addition to Emerald Bay this is one of the most gorgeous trials you can do lakeside

This is a three mile path with pristine lakeside views that lies between Sand Harbor to Incline Village. You can now access beaches and coves that were previously only accessible by hopping over a guardrail. There’s 17 designated vista points and 11 shoreline access points

The trail itself is paved and open to walkers, runners, bikers and is handicapped accessible. Definitely worth every penny of $40M invested in this project. We’ll definitely be back!

What’s this trail like?

Although it’s officially called a trail, in actuality it feels more like a path.  At nearly three miles long, it’s bookended by Tunnel Creek Café in the north and the Sand Harbor Beach in the south. 

The trail is about 10 ft wide and the main trail is paved. Some of the lookouts and vista points are not paved, but are super easy to walk on, they may have some uneven surfaces, but nothing to worry about. Restrooms and vista points are handicapped accessible. The trail is also open to walkers, runners and riders on standard bicycles or pedal-assist e-bikes. So this won’t be your typical hiking experience, it has more of a boardwalk feel. 

What about parking?

Access to the Tahoe East Shore Trail is free. Ninety new parking spots with direct access to the path are available  at three new parking lots located along State Route 28 in Incline Village near Ponderosa Ranch Road. 

Parking is currently free but for some of the stops along State Route 28 parking is limited to 20mins. Eventually these spots may require a small fee that goes towards trail maintenance. Tahoe Transportation District’s East Shore Express and Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit (TART) will offer bus service to the new pathway trailhead during the summer months.

Trail start at Sand Harbor

Tahoe East Shore Trail
Sand Harbor Beach

The trail starts at Sand Harbor which has its very own beach. There is some limited paid parking at Sand Harbor which can be closed during winter so check schedules on this one before planning on parking at this spot. 

Look out Tahoe East Shore Trail

Along the trail you can take a break at one of the 17 vista points. This small cove just north of the Sand Harbor trail head, one of the 17 designated vista points along the trail.. Nice lookout on a small islet with emerald green waters.

Vistas off the main trail

Vista Tahoe East Shore Trail
Vista from Lookout

View from the top of a lookout right of the main trai. lIt’s amazing how close you can get to these coves. This one particular lookout along the trail was fun, super easy to hike and had a great view of a cove with emerald colored waters!

Vista Tahoe East Shore Trail
Rocky Cliff Lookout Tahoe East Shore Trail

This was another look out right of the trail that comes out to a cliff edge. It has an excellent view of the water and mountains. You are about 30 ft up on the cliffs here and are able to follow a semi-circular stone laden path.

Tahoe East Shore Trail

This is the view from one of the few parking areas along the trail on Route 28. It is located about midtrail and has about 20 parking spots.  There really isn’t a bad view from any spot along the trail. These particular spots had a 20 minute limit.

Crystal clear blue waters at sunny lake tahoe. This is just one of the 307 sun filled days here even with the nearly 18ft of annual snow. This was actually the view from the  Stateline Fire Lookout trailhead. It was such a clear day that we stopped here before heading down to the East Shore Trail

Why this trail is so important 

To understand why the three-mile Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail is so important, it’s helpful to think about the roughly 11 miles of Highway 28 from Incline Village to U.S. Highway 50 near Spooner Summit. The trail is just one part of a revamp of the entire corridor aimed at making it safer for people and reducing pollution in Lake Tahoe.

The route sees more than 2.5 million vehicles annually. During peak usage time in the summer, cars and trucks are sharing space with as many as 2,000 pedestrians and bicyclists daily. And the accident rate of 1.33 per million vehicles is higher than the statewide average of 0.96 for rural highways.

To keep Lake Tahoe safe and happy this trail provides a much needed access point for visitors to enjoy this very popular lakeside corridor. It’s a great addition to the Lake Tahoe habitat and will be sure to be near the top of the list of sights to see for many years to come.

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