Tahoe and Vicinity October 1, 2023

Lakes of Lake Tahoe — Part II


Last month, our blog spotlighted three small lakes in the Tahoe Basin. This month’s blog shows off a few more of the lakes surrounding our Big Blue waters.

Sawmill Pond

If your family happens to have an avid, or beginning fisherman under the age of 14, South Lake Tahoe has the perfect destination for a visit. Just a little over 2 miles west of the South Tahoe “Y”, Sawmill Pond is stocked and ready for every youngster armed with fishing poles, power bait, or worms.

With the US Forest Service maintaining the pond, and local service clubs raising funds for stocking, it’s no wonder that the pond is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Sawmill Pond’s convenient parking lot, just off Sawmill Road, leads many families to take advantage of the area for their winter sledding adventures as well.

Echo Lakes

About 10 miles outside of South Lake Tahoe, and perched almost 1,300 feet above the top of Tahoe’s waters, are two sparkling Sierra lakes worth a visit.

A convenient lake trailhead begins at the Echo Chalet, west of Echo Summit. Parking is available at the upper lot off Johnson Pass Road. You then walk down to the pier to the trailhead, where you can begin your relatively easy 3 mile hike to the far end of Upper Echo Lake.

The moderate trail is well-maintained, but with few shady areas, temperatures can warm up to a slightly uncomfortable level on sunny afternoons. Don’t forget your hat.

For those preferring something a little different, a water taxi can deliver you to Upper Echo Lake and back again for a fee. Your dog can join in your boat ride, also for a fee. The taxi operates only between Memorial Day through Labor Day. Carry cash for the water taxi, and be sure to call ahead for fees.

Beyond Echo Lakes, is the popular trail to Lake Aloha. You must obtain a wilderness permit to hike to Lake Aloha. Day use permits are available at the Echo Lakes trailhead.

As a small bonus, the Tahoe Rim Trail meanders through at Echo Lakes. Dedicated walkers should seriously consider adding the trek to Tahoe City. It’s only 48 more miles.

Lily Pond

While this small body of water is slightly short of what some feel is regulation lake size, the 5.5 mile loop trail to Lily Pond makes up for the lake vs pond dimensions. The trail is easy enough for almost everyone in the family to negotiate — except for Rover. Dogs are not permitted on this trail.

The aptly named Lily Pond, in season, actually features wild-growing water-lilies, complete with pads. It would be a sweet spot for a little picnic.

The easily negotiated trail begins just behind the General Creek Campground at Sugar Pine State Park, and follows the historical route of the 1960 Olympics cross country ski trail. Eventually the wide trail narrows, with a short final climb towards Lily Pond.

The lakes highlighted here, and in our previous blog, are a just a sampling of the many, varied, and accessible Sierra lakes around the Tahoe Basin. At least one, and maybe two of them are calling your name. Get out there!