Early Saturday morning, on June 19, 2021, my friend Claudia S. and I hiked the trail together to lower Loch Leven Lake, in the Tahoe National Forest. Such an amazing hike with a great "foodie" friend of 10+ years!
Photo: It's about 08:30 in the morning, on Saturday, June 19, 2021, and my friend, Claudia and I have arrived at the trailhead, and we're ready to tackle the trail to Loch Leven Lakes. A friendly bystander took this photo of us.
The trailhead is easy to find, as it's located on "Donner Pass Road," which is old U.S. 40, between exits 166 and 186, just off Interstate 80. You'll see a restroom and a small parking lot, but the parking lot fills up quickly, as this is a "busy" trail. You can park along the road, as we did.
Photo: At the trailhead, Claudia points the way, as the sign posts that it's 2.5 miles to the lower lake. I don't want to dispute anything, but my GPS measured the distance as 2.93 miles. It's about a 900 foot elevation gain from the trailhead to lower Loch Leven Lake.
Although the trail is generally well-marked, there are a few places where you have to look for ducts, and use your "head" to see where the trail heads.
Photo: About a half mile from the road, there is a small pond that, even in June 2021, in what the socialists proclaim as a "drought," is full of water. It's not really a good place to swim, as the water is on the stagnant side.
Photo: Claudia took my photo, as we took a break up the trail. The trail is moderately steep, and there were a lot of rocks and boulders to negotiate. Watch out for rattlesnakes, as there are plenty of them, and they love to "hang out" in the middle of the trail.
We didn't see any rattlers on this trip, as we most likely scared them away, thanks to our constant conversation.
Photo: Here's a typical stretch of the trail, before you hit the railroad tracks, which are about 1.25 miles from the trailhead. Thanks, Claudia S., for the photo.
Photo: We weren't planning to "railfan," but the trail crosses Union Pacific railroads busy Donner Pass action, near the "Cisco" station, so we actually were able to catch a train during our hike today.
Photo: Along the way, I managed to stop and photo a pretty flower. I'm not sure what it is, but it was really pretty.
Photo: I hike up a granite slab, as Claudia follows me and takes my photo. Thanks, Claudia S. for the photo and for allowing me to use it for this article.
Photo: After hiking about 2 miles, you come to a ridge and you are greeted to a great view across a valley, and Signal Peak, which is home to lots of radio communications, county, federal and private. The microwave towers on the right, which are mostly white are AT&T, which provide telephone and Internet service to Truckee, and North Tahoe.
I know something about that, as between the years of 1998 and 2001 I maintained that microwave site, when was one of many jobs I performed during my 33+ year career with AT&T.
Photo: Lower Loch Leven Lake. The sign posts the distance is 2.5 miles, but my GPS read it as 2.93 miles. Anyway you count the distance, it took us nearly 3 hours to hike to the lake, due to the steep, rough, trail.
Speaking of GPS coordinates, we noted the lower lake is 39.17.273, 120.30.047, with elevation tagged at 6676 feet above sea level.
Photo: Lower Loch Leven lake is truly a beautiful Sierra Nevada lake, and it's a great day hike, or an overnight backpacking destination, if you're so inclined in that direction. There are a couple of islands in the lake, which make for a great swim destination.
Photo: Claudia checks out lower Loch Leven lake, before we took off our packs and sat beside the lake to enjoy beer and a picnic. The total elevation gain from the trailhead, along old US 40, is about 900 feet, but it certainly seems like a lot more.
It took us nearly three hours to reach the lower lake, as the hike is steep, and there are many boulders and "stair steps" to negotiate. We took our time, and we enjoyed the day, and the beautiful mountain scenery.
Photo: On this early Saturday afternoon in mid June, we had plenty of company, including this friendly dog who enjoyed swimming in the lake and fetching sticks his owner threw into the lake for him to retrieve.
Photo: My friend Claudia and I enjoyed a picnic by the lake, along with a few cans of beer, as a friendly hiker took photos of us enjoying our afternoon at lower Loch Leven lake, located in the Tahoe National Forest. Cheers!
Photo: After our hike, we took a slight detour to Everybody's Inn, located in nearby Foresthill, to enjoy an amazing early dinner, and the company of the owner of the restaurant, Cynthia. Check out the complete article I posted about our dining experience by clicking on THIS LINK. Claudia and I like to eat, and that's one of the many reasons why were friends!
Like me, my friend Claudia is a total "foodie" and likes to eat all cuisines. We met at an eating contest 10 years ago, and have been friends ever since.
Today's hike was truly enjoyable, as we got to enjoy beautiful mountain scenery and great friendship.
Loch Leven Lakes Trailhead
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