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Cave Rock Hike

Hike to the top of famous Cave Rock, which towers over the east side of Lake Tahoe.  This Native American sacred outcropping is open to hiking only; climbers have been banned in respect to our Native Americans.

Here's an easy hike to Cave Rock that is only about 1/2 mile in length. The trailhead is in the Cave Rock Estates (3 mi. north of Zephyr Cove and just south of the Cave Rock tunnel). The well-maintained trail ends at the base of the rock, about 20 feet below the very top. Anyone of average ability can scramble up the narrow trail to the very top, where there is room for relaxing, enjoying the view, or even a picnic. If you plan on climbing to the very top, wear sturdy hiking boots to protect your feet.

Click on any thumbnail picture for a larger image

cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view Here's a map showing the location of the trailhead and Zephyr Cove. You will find Cave Rock Drive just 3 miles north of Zephyr Cove (along Highway 50). Turn right onto Cave Rock Drive and proceed to the dirt trailhead parking area 0.2 miles up the road.
cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view This is the turnoff from Highway 50 onto Cave Rock Drive (left), and the dirt trailhead parking area (right). When parking here, be sure not to block the trail entrance or the fire hydrant. cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view
cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view Here are some of the scenes you will see along the short and easy trail to the base of Cave Rock. On the left is the view out over the lake, and on the right is the view of Cave Rock from the trail. cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view
cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view You will arrive at a trail junction (left). Take the left fork to get to Cave Rock. The right fork (partially hidden by shadow) leads to some forest trails that make for fine additional hiking.
This picture of the top of Cave Rock was taken from another hill above and behind it (accessible by taking the right fork mentioned above), which also shows the view toward the west. cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view
cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view Just before you get to the narrow trail that leads to the very top, you will encounter a sign advising rock climbers of the local rules (left). This is for real rock climbers. The picture on the right shows the kind of stuff required to scramble up the narrow trail to the very top of Cave Rock. The only equipment required for this part of the trip is a good pair of boots. cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view
cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view On the left is a view toward the south, from the top of Cave Rock, and on the right is a view toward the north. cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view
cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view On the left is a view from the south, back at the rock being climbed. At the top, you can peer down over the edge (if you are very intrepid) for a thrilling view down toward the highway and the Cave Rock boat ramp (right). cave rock, hike, forest, hiking, trail, trailhead, lake view

Zephyr Cove, South Lake Tahoe / Maria & Bob Tarn / Maria@TahoeTarns.com