There are many big hikes around Tahoe that offer amazing views of the lake, but what to do when you are mountain adventuring with young ones? It's important to get those little adventurers off on the right foot - loving being active in the mountains. I've got a couple of hikes that we started the kids on and they are both great for motivating little hikers!
Hike 1 - Stateline Lookout
This peak was once used as a fire lookout for the National Forest. As you can imagine, the view is spectacular with nearly a 360 degree view of Lake Tahoe and the basin.
Why this trail is great for younger hikers: The trail is an old Forest Service road which offers a smooth and wide path to the top. The pitch of the road is steep, but the trail is only 1/4 mile till you reach the top where you'll find a paved looped trail with interpretive signs about Tahoe plants, animals, and history. Along the trail there are benches to sit down and enjoy the view and to celebrate the accomplishment of a hike well-done by your little mountain adventurer.
For directions, follow this link to the US Forest Service website.
Hike 2 - Donner Camp Picnic Site and Interpretive Trail
North of Tahoe along Hwy 89 is a stop on the route of the infamous Donner Party of 1846-47. At the Donner Camp Picnic Site there is a 1/3 mile trail through Alder Creek Valley with interpretive signs displaying excerpts from Donner Party member's diaries and letters.
Why this trail is great for younger hikers: The trail is short and it's a loop which I think is great for kids as there is always new scenery and the mystery of what's "around the corner" to keep them going! The trail is well-worn and for a short trail, goes through a variety of habitats - creek and marshy area with boardwalks, open meadows, and pine forest. If kids get tired of walking through the meadow, it's not long before they've entered into the forest with new sights and sounds to engage their senses.
Tip: Make "binoculars" by taping together two cardboard rolls (toilet paper rolls) and adding a string neck strap. You might be surprised at what a kid's imagine will find when looking through their very own "binoculars" and it also helps keep them motivated to keep walking!
Directions can be found on the US Forest Service website.