For our last Fall color hike on this trip, we picked the Meeks Creek drainage near Lake Tahoe, California based on a suggestion in only one guidebook. Well, it didn’t have too much in the way of color but it was a nice hike on a good day to a pretty lake. Plus we logged an unexpected geocache on the way back! We stayed in South Lake Tahoe and were forcefully reminded (again) of what a traffic snarl it can be (particularly if they’re paving the road during rush hour).
We got an early start and, after wrenching free of the traffic maelstrom, made our way up Highway 89 to the Meeks Bay Trailhead at – wait for it – Meeks Bay! Signage is a little vague here and it took some artful U-turn driving to get us back to the trailhead. So, an exciting start to the day with screeching tires and smoking brakes. But, hey, it’s a rental!
With the car safely out of the way, we walked 1.3 miles along flat Forest Road 14N42 to where the single-track Tahoe-Yosemite Trail starts climbing up the side of the canyon.
The trail is well-graded, with short climbs spaced between flatter sections – nice walking. Fall color was mostly in the ground cover and the plants around water features. Not big and bold like Lundy Canyon, but nice.
Near the wilderness boundary, the trail crossed a wide, flat expanse the size of several football pitches. Easy walking. But I did observe some unusual behavior.
A little over three miles in, we got close to Meeks Creek and then crossed over its dry bed next to a missing bridge. There were piles of building materials stored in the woods nearby so we’re assuming it’ll get re-built before the snow flies or after melt-out in the Spring.
Once over Meeks Creek, we wandered along the trail as it found its way to Lake Genevieve.
The day had started out fairly clear but by the time we got to the lake, a band of dark clouds was passing overhead. Truly scary looking clouds. Scary enough to make one of us think about swearing off rock hugging.
But then the scary clouds passed – likely on their way to terrify Reno – the sun came back out and Lake Genevieve started looking very charming.
After a snack and a clean-up of some trash douche-bags had left at the lake (Come on – keep the trash in your own living room where in belongs!), we headed back. By now, the clouds had gone from scary to artistic and it looked like sunshine was going to make a comeback too.
After reaching the Forest Road, we took a short detour to the site of old Camp Wasiu, a Girl Scout camp that closed in 1965 (not to worry, a new Camp Wasiu opened in 1988 at a better site). We found the geocache hidden near the old camp and then went back to the trailhead.
A 9.7 mile round-trip, 1,200-foot elevation gain, hike that was short on color but gave us a good walk on good trail to a pretty lake and threw in a geocache for good measure. We’d had great luck with the weather thus far on this trip but the next morning we awoke to rain with the threat of more. So, not interested in testing our rain gear, we drove home, having had a wonderful adventure both in Death Valley and in the Eastern Sierra.BACK TO BLOG POSTS
Yes, our going swimming now would have qualified as a “character building” moment – one we shrewdly chose to avoid. Watching the scary clouds was enough.
We did this hike when we were in Lake Tahoe at the end of July. We continued on to Crag Lake, which was wonderful for swimming! Probably not so much for swimming in late September, though. 🙂