Ever Wanted to Thru-Hike the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail? Here’s Your Guide.

The 170-mile-long Tahoe Rim Trail passes through three wilderness areas and two mountain ranges as it takes hikers from 6,200 feet to higher than 10,000 feet in elevation. In the Desolation Wilderness, you find pristine alpine lakes and granite peaks, in Meiss Meadows, you stroll through hip-high fields of wildflowers, and at the base of Tahoe’s highest mountain, Freel Peak, there is a mountain of quartz and Star Lake, the highest lake in the Tahoe region. But what you will remember the most is the mile-after-mile views of Lake Tahoe. The trail is your chance to see Tahoe from every angle, and all of them are beautiful.

The best part about thru-hiking the TRT is that the trail is an enormous circle. Wherever you start, if you just keep walking in the same direction you will return to where you began. As you work your way around the lake, you can always measure where you have hiked from, and how far you still have to go.

The trail crosses roads in a number of locations making resupplying easy, and with water scarce in some locations, a resupply usually means water and food. The interesting thing about camping on the rim trail is that, except for the few days that you are in Desolation Wilderness, the vast majority of trail users are day users.

Thru-hiking the rim trail by yourself is challenging, but it’s a doable adventure for any relatively strong hiker. You need two weeks, friends to drop off food and water at several key points and a good deal of perseverance.

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