I went hiking on the Big Meadow trail head to Round Lake for the first time yesterday. The hike to Round Lake starts at Big Meadow, and as the name implies, it is a very big meadow! The trail runs down the middle of the meadow which is covered in wildflowers in the spring. After the meadow, continue on through traditional forest, and later as the trail gets steeper you will reach the summit and end at Round Lake. From the Big Meadow to Round Lake it’s about 3.26 miles of hiking.
Directions: From South Lake Tahoe, take highway 50 towards Sacramento, turning east onto highway 89 (Luther Pass) before US 50 heads up to Echo Summit. Follow highway 89 up towards Luther Pass, turning left into the Big Meadow Parking Area just a mile or so before the pass. Park in this lot where you will also find a restroom and information center. It is easy to miss the left turn into the lot, but if you get to where the road flattens out and you can see a large grass meadow to the right, you’ve gone too far.
To get to Round Lake, keep walking until where the Big Meadow Trail hits the Meiss Meadow Trail. Turning up canyon (left) will put you on the path to Round Lake. As the trail climbs gently up the canyon, you will see wonderful volcanic cliffs composed of loose rock off to your left. After 1 mile or so, Round Lake will come into view.
This is a mutli-use trail which means you can come across hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Biking is allowed from the Big Meadow trailhead up to Round Lake, and to the intersection of the Pacific Crest Trail at Meiss Meadows. Besides hiking, horse riding and biking you can also do other activities like camping, fishing and swimming in the lake during the summer. If you are more of a winter’s adventurer you can go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during the winter season.
I was not surprised to see so much snow along the trail due to the huge amount of snow storms we had this winter. At one point a couple riding their horses had to shovel up some snow so they could cross over.
Dogs are allowed on the trail as on most other U.S. forest trails. Just keep in mind that if you bring your fury friend along you must follow the guidelines. Keep your pet on 6ft. leash at all times, control excessive barking, pick up or bury canine waste and keep your dog close by when encountering other people. Remember to bring enough water for you and your pet.
Explore Tahoe and Happy Trails!