Where can you find stunning trails with unbeatable views of wildflowers, as well as dramatic spring run-off? Here are four hikes we highly recommend.
Photography by Paul Hamill
Webber Falls, Truckee, Calif. (featured image)
Directions: Take Highway 89 north from Truckee to Little Truckee Summit; turn left toward Jackson Meadow on County Road 7. At 6.5 miles, watch for signage to Lake of the Woods; a few hundred feet up, park at the pullout on your left lined with boulders and walk directly down the embankment due south. Listen for the sound of water—the falls are about 500 feet from the parking area.
Shirley Canyon Waterfalls, Squaw Valley, Calif.
Directions: From the Squaw Valley parking lot, walk or drive to the end of Squaw Peak Road. Follow the trail for 2.5 miles, keeping the creek on your right, until you come to giant granite rock slabs. Cross those and continue to Shirley Lake. From there you can either turn around or keep climbing to High Camp, where you can take the tram down for free.
Horsetail Falls, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Directions: Take Highway 50 south from South Lake Tahoe toward Placerville. About 2 miles past Strawberry, look for a pullout on your right with a parking lot (fee is $5). You can take either the Wilderness Boundary Trail to the base of the waterfall or the Pyramid Creek Trail for a good view of the falls.
Glen Alpine Falls, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Directions: Take Highway 89 north for 3 miles from South Lake Tahoe to Fallen Leaf Lake Road. Continue until you see the Glen Alpine trailhead sign and turn left. Parking is across from Lily Lake and a wilderness permit is required for day hikers from the self-serve area by the trailhead.