You have probably heard of the Tahoe Rim Trail. The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 165 mile distance hiking trail which forms a loop around Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada and Carson Ranges of California and Nevada in the United States. If you are looking for a shaded hike that takes about 1.5 hours and has views along the entire route, then I have the perfect 3.6 mile section for you off of Brockway Summit. The destination “Picnic Rock” is, without a doubt, the shortest hike one can take to obtain these spectacular long-range views!
This hike is friendly for the whole family and easy to find. On a recent unseasonably warm November weekend, I opted to pack up a picnic and head out with my 10-year-old and dog to take in some views. The 1.5 mile climb up a single track is shaded, and offers a nice uphill climb with switchbacks through the Tahoe National Forest. The views of Tahoe literally begin at the trailhead and continue up to the destination. The uphill is somewhat strenuous for those with health conditions, but very young children do hike it regularly. Follow the switchbacks up approximately 1.2 miles until you see a sign labeled “Spur Trail” on the left. Follow it up an additional .3 miles to rock formations named “Picnic Rock.” Once you are perched on your rock, you will be rewarded with views from a vantage point unlike any other in Lake Tahoe. Looking towards the lake, you will look down on Kings Beach, North Tahoe Regional Park, and Agate Bay. Panoramic views sweep across the east, west, and south shores of the lake, Incline Village, Desolation Wilderness, and the ski runs of Northstar. If you turn around and look behind you, you will see all of Donner Summit and Highway 80, Truckee, Martis Valley, Mount Rose, and Mount Baldy. I can’t think of any other vantage point in Tahoe that you can do this! It is amazing. Bring your camera.
From Northstar, head up Hwy 267 (5-10 min). Just after you crest the summit, look for a parking lot on your right. You can park here, or take a left onto a dirt road up to the Tahoe Rim Trailhead. If you pass the “Lake Tahoe Basin” sign, then you have gone too far. Enjoy the hike.