Tahoe Tramping
Two short, snow free hikes
Eagle Lake and Shirley Canyon
“You should sit in nature for twenty minutes a day, unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
Eagle Lake – The trail to Eagle Lake in the Emerald Bay area is now snow free,although there are some small rivulets from snow melt running down a few sections of this two mile out-and-back trail.  There is an elevation gain of approximately 450′ up to the lake, steep in a few spots,and there are a number of large granite rock steps along some portions of the trail.

The trail is at the head of Emerald Bay, on the west side of Hwy 89 just past the Vikingsholm parking lot.  Finding a legal parking space can be difficult during the middle of the day, especially on week-ends.

For such a short hike, the Eagle Lake trail has wilderness-like views and scenery, however you will not have wilderness solitude.  This is a busy, popular trail for tourists, and is heavily used almost every day; but with that in mind, I still love to hike it for a quick hour of outdoor exercise.
So if you like rushing creeks, waterfalls, granite slabs, views of Lake Tahoe, Jeffrey Pines, Lodgepole Pines, Sierra Junipers, towering cliffs still covered by snow, and serene mountain lakes, give this hike a try.
Shirley Canyon –  I am sure that most of you have hiked in Shirley Canyon in SquawValley.  With warm weather, the creek is now flowing and the strong current is providing plenty of white water and beautiful waterfalls.
The lower parts of the trail are snow free, and a few flowers are starting to bloom. On a recent hike I saw mahala mat, arrow-leaved balsamroot, spreading phlox, single-stemmed senecio, and primrose monkeyflower.

The trails and footpaths in this area can be somewhat confusing for first-timers, but have faith and just put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the day.  I’m betting you won’t get lost.  If you are going up the left hand side of the creek, after about 3/4 of a mile you will start encountering snow patches on shady, north-facing slopes.  In a few weeks, most of this snow should be melted, and you will be able to hike up to Shirley Lake without hiking through snow.

You can search the internet for more information on both trails.  Now is a good time to get out, stretch your legs, and start preparing for longer summer hikes.