equipment, no matter how short the hike. Hiking permits are not required for Meiss
Country. Campfires are allowed and permits may be obtained in person from any Forest
Service office or fire station. If you bring your pet on the trail, put it on a leash to minimize its
impact on wildlife and other visitors. Observe common courtesy and follow trail regulations. Others will appreciate your observance of minimum impact camping and packing out what
you pack in. Hikers, mountain bikes and horses are allowed on all trails in Meiss Country
with the exception that no mountain bikes are allowed on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Parking large enough for horse trailers is located at both trailheads. Remember,
courtesy to others by yielding the right-of-way when possible.
Take Highway 50 to Highway 89 to the Big Meadows parking lot on the
left. Follow the trail at the lower end of the parking lot
approximately 200 yards, where it intersects with the highway.
Cross the highway cautiously and look for the trailhead signboard.
The first 1/2 mile of this trail climbs steeply from the highway
through Jeffrey pine and white fir to Big Meadow. After crossing
the creek and a large meadow, the trail enters the cover of a
lodgepole cloaked forest. In another 1-1/2 miles, the trail
descends nearly 250 feet along an aspen-covered bank to a junction.
Take the left fork which leads by a wall of interesting volcanic
rock. After another short climb up a small hill, the trail leads to
Round Lake, Meiss Country's largest lake. The brownish-green lake
is a great place for a refreshing swim or for trying your hand at
catching some cutthroat trout.
Aspen and alder trees along the trail make this an exceptionally
scenic hike during the fall. Follow directions from the previous
hike to the trailhead. When the trail forks approximately 1-1/2
miles past Big Meadow, take the right fork. In less than a 1/4
mile, take the unmarked trail to your left which crosses the creek.
The trail winds through rolling hills and past willows before
crossing two more streams. Look for the giant seven foot in
diameter juniper along the way. A short climb up a small hill leads
you to Dardanelles Lake, surrounded by picturesque granite cliffs
on one side and flat granite shelves on the other.
Follow directions to Round and Dardanelles Lake until you reach the
Scotts Lake trail junction approximately 1/4 mile after the trail
begins. Here the trail climbs upward at a gradual pace through
limber pine, Jeffrey pine, and fir, high above Big Meadow. A great
hike in the fall, the trail travels through a beautiful aspen grove
which opens into a valley covered with juniper and sagebrush. A
short distance further, the trail turns into an old jeep road,
leading to Scotts Lake.
Take Highway 50 south from South Lake Tahoe to Highway 89 and turn
left. Continue to the intersection of Highway 89 and 88 and turn
right. Continue past the Carson Pass Sno-Park one mile, turn left
on the dirt road and park in the dirt parking area. The trailhead
is located on the other side of the highway, just across from the
parking area. Follow the trail up a hillside covered with mule ear
and sagebrush to a saddle, providing views of the surrounding
peaks. At this point the trail follows an old jeep route, crosses
the Upper Truckee River and leads into a large meadow. Follow the
path to the right .6 miles down the gentle slopes to Meiss Lake. A
shallow but scenic lake, Meiss is one of the warmest lakes in the
Tahoe area, making it a great place for chest deep swimming.
Fishing is not allowed in Meiss Lake.
Follow directions to the trailhead from the previous hike. Showers
Lake is the highest in the Upper Truckee River Basin. Follow the
Pacific Crest Trail through expansive meadows with views of Round
Top (10,381'), Elephant's Back (9,585') and Red Lake Peak
(10,063'). The trail begins by winding upward through a series of
switchbacks for over a mile. After reaching a summit, the trail
drops down a steep grade into the flatlands of Meiss Meadows,
riddled by many streams in the springtime. At this point, the trail
parallels an old jeep trail for about a mile. When you reach a
junction, take the left fork which will eventually lead you up a
moderate hill, covered with wildflowers in the spring. Reaching the
crest, the trail descends to Showers Lake, one of the cooler lakes
in the Tahoe area.
A challenging trip, great views of the Upper Truckee River Basin
and Lake Tahoe reward the serious hiker. Two cars are needed for a
day hike. Plan to leave one car in the Carson Pass area and one at
the Echo Summit Sno-Park located on Highway 50. Follow directions
from the previous hike to Showers Lake. The Pacific Crest Trail
continues across the lake's only outlet at the north end and then
begins a steep ascent past an impressive, overhanging volcanic
point. Gradually curving northward, the trail crosses numerous
creeklets, traverses large meadows and follows forested crests with
many ascents and descents. The trail eventually leads to the Echo