Where to Hike to See Fall Colors In Tahoe

Sagehen Creek Trail

Leaf peeping – more than a hobby, it’s practically a way of life for a few brief weeks in October. This time of year in Tahoe, the aspens show off their changing golden hue, a sight which has aptly been termed “Tahoe Gold”. The change of colors doesn’t last long, so you have to get out to see the fall colors while you can. Below I’ve listed three of my favorite fall hikes plus a bonus photo-op that you can drive to.

Sagehen Creek Trail


Sagehen Creek Trail is a 6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Truckee. This trail is great for families and features a beautiful creek and reservoir at the end. You can see fall colors throughout the hike, but especially near the beginning near the creek and near the end heading towards Stampede Reservoir.

Length: 6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 246 ft.

Difficulty:  Easy

Trail Type: Out and Back

Features: Lake views & wildlife

Water on Trail: Yes – creek and reservoir at the end.

Dogs Allowed? Yes

Marlette Lake from Spooner Lake

Located on Tahoe’s eastern ridge, Spooner Lake and the hike to Marlette Lake offer beautiful views loaded with golden aspens. Spooner Lake is family-friendly and has an easy one-mile trail circumnavigating the water. If you’re feeling ambitious take on the 10-mile roundtrip trail to Marlette Lake to soak in some of the best displays of color in the area. The sheer volume of golden aspens is worth the trek!

Length: 10.2 Miles

Elevation Gain: 1775 ft.

Difficulty:  Moderate to hard

Trail Type: Out and Back

Features: Two lakes and golden aspens in the fall

Water on Trail: Yes

Dogs Allowed? Yes

Page Meadows

Just south of Tahoe City, Page Meadows is spotted with aspens and covered by criss-crossing trails. The area puts out one of the best displays of “Tahoe Gold” and the volume of trails allows you to choose a hike of nearly any length. My favorite path is the Tahoe Rim Trail and Page Meadows Loop, which is an easy to moderate 5 miles.

Length: 5.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 551 ft.

Difficulty:  Moderate

Trail Type: Loop

Features: Golden aspens in the fall

Water on Trail: No

Dogs Allowed? Yes

BONUS: Drive-Up Photo-Op at the Golden Aspen Cabin

Located off the side of 267, this beautiful broken-down cabin is nestled beneath a grove of golden aspens. This is the perfect spot for a morning or late afternoon photoshoot. To find the cabin from Truckee, take 267 towards King’s Beach. The cabin is about two miles past Northstar and there is a small area on the right side of the road. If you’ve reached Martis Peak Road, you’ve gone too far. Enjoy this spot, but please be respectful of others and remember to leave no trace :).

Happy leaf peeping friends!

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