Glen Alpine Falls/Springs Trail
Photo © Tim Rains
Lower Glen Alpine Creek Falls is very impressive. The waterfall is easily accessible right along the roadside, and cascades 65 ft. in step-like fashion. You can get up very close to the falls, and feel the cascade coming right at you. Neat! This is another waterfall best seen in the spring before Glen Alpine Creek reduces to a trickle in summer. Before venturing up the trail spend some time wandering the historic grounds of Glen Alpine Springs Resort.
The Glen Alpine Springs is the site of a natural springs turned resort in 1884 and represents one of the earliest resorts in the Tahoe Basin. The resort buildings were designed by famous architect, Bernard Maybeck (1862-1957) designer of the San Francisco Palace of Fine Art.
Glen Alpine Springs with cascading snow-fed creek, waterfalls, wildflowers and rich history is a true Lake Tahoe treasure.
Directions to the trailhead: Take Highway 89 north approximately 3 miles from South Lake Tahoe to Fallen Leaf Lake Road. Watch for bicyclists and other cars on this narrow, one-lane road. Continue until you see the Glen Alpine trailhead sign and turn left. Trailhead parking is across from Lily Lake. A wilderness permit is required. Day hikers, pick up your permit at the self serve area at the trailhead. Overnight hikers will need an overnight permit for Desolation Wilderness. This permit must be purchased before you get to the Glen Alpine Trailhead.
Spring/Summer/Fall Interpretive Center open 10:30-3:30 daily when summer docents are on site. Information recordings for programs and hours can be found at 530-573-2405
Fees: Day Hike Free
For those in wheelchairs or with walking assistance, the falls and springs are visible from the road. However, the historic grounds and trail to the falls is covered in gravel and not wheelchair friendly.
Dogs are allowed in Desolation Wilderness and on most other U.S. Forest trails. Pet owners please follow guidelines:
Keep pet on 6 ft leash at all times. Control excessive barking. Check Paws often on rocky terrain, can cause cuts, consider protective dog pads. Pick up or bury canine waste. Keep your dog close by when encountering other people. Remember to bring enough water for you and your pet.