Tahoe's Trio of Lake Vistas

Hike to Middle Velma Lake in Tahoe

They say good things come in threes, and it’s true when you embark on this 8-mile (round-trip) hike in Tahoe’s Desolation Wilderness. It gives you three excellent lake vistas: Eagle Lake, Middle Velma Lake, and Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe.

From the trailhead, follow signs to Eagle Lake. It’s about a mile in, and popular for its grand granite amphitheater setting. Continue on and up Eagle Falls Trail, ascending a chaparral- and pine-covered ridge.The trail levels out around the 2.3-mile mark and you’ll continue onto the Bayview Trail. Mountains now surround you.

At the next junction, follow Velma Lakes Trail and descend to the water. There’s a good chance you’ll have to cross a stream still running from this past winter’s snowmelt … try not to get your feet wet on these multiple crossings! The remaining 0.2 mile goes quickly.

Take an offshoot down to the shoreline to see Middle Velma’s crystal-clear waters. On your return trip, there’s a large granite outcropping you can step onto for a grand view of Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay. Lake vista trifecta complete!

Gallery image 1 of 6
Gallery image 2 of 6
Gallery image 3 of 6
Gallery image 4 of 6
Gallery image 5 of 6
Gallery image 6 of 6

BONUS: All three Velma Lakes are great locations for backcountry camping. Permits required.

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Hidden Stairways of SF: Urban Hike

    This guided hike sold out fast, but new dates have been added! Get outdoors and explore the hidden stairways and gardens of San Francisco anew. Small group and socially distanced.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Lookout for This View!

    Sierra Buttes Lookout, at a lofty 8,591 feet, is a memory maker for its pucker-worthy stairway to the tower’s balcony. It's a 5-mile (round-trip) hike to reach it. And the reward? Epic!

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Ah, Good Point

    Ready for a rewarding view? Head to to one of the Peninsula’s favorite promontories: Mori Point. Climb your way up the Bootlegger’s Steps to the Mori Point headland for awesome vantages of the San Mateo Coast.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Sleeper Hit

    It's all about the water, and the camping, at Utica Reservoir in Stanislaus National Forest, a High Sierra reservoir perfect for kayak explorations and pitching your tent lakeside..

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Duck, Duck, Goose!

    Try to get a first-come, first-served campsite at one of the Lakes Basin’s lakeside campgrounds. We love Goose Lake Campground, where there are just 14 sites and no motorized boats.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Shealor Stunner

    Robust mountains, striking slabs of granite, and deep green pine reflections make Shealor Lake near Kirkwood resort a jewel of the El Dorado National Forest. Reach this alpine oasis on a 1.3-mile hike.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Simply Amazing Road Trip

    Don’t overthink it, just go! Southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin is a hidden gem just north of the California border. This adventurous region makes savoring summer and fall easy with abundant outdoor recreation.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    High Five!

    Hit the High Sierra for a day hike or get a permit to spend the night at one of the Cottonwood Lakes, five sublime oases set in the John Muir Wilderness.

    View