Clark Trail – Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails
For the more adventurous hiker, Clark Trail is a strenuous and solitary route that takes you from the southeast edge of Fallen Leaf Lake up the steep wooded hillside to Angora Lookout and Angora Lakes. The steep grades should be traversed with caution and expertise, so only seasoned hikers should attempt this trail. This is a pretty elevated climb – you will gain 560 feet in elevation without much mileage to back it up. The trail is mostly loose shale, and is shady most of the way up. It’s a 1.6 mile hike to Upper Angora, where you can go swimming, cliff jumping, sun yourself on the beach, or try a pitcher of Angora’s regionally famous fresh-squeezed lemonade. Angora Lookout is a relatively minor summit, but still high enough for stunning views across the trees of the basin and north towards Lake Tahoe.
The Angora Lookout served the fire surveillance needs of the Lake Tahoe Basin for many years until it was replaced by improvements in aerial and satellite technology in the late 1970’s. The first lookout was built in 1924 and later converted into a small residence for the individuals personally in charge of it. However, I heard its a hassle for the owners as it often requires bat removal services. In 1935, the current lookout was constructed alongside the original by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In addition, a third structure was built in the 1940’s to serve as a garage. All three of these buildings are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Alternate access to the Angora Lookout can be reached by driving along Angora Ridge Road, which also continues one mile south to Angora Lakes.
The quiet nature of this hike allows hikers to see some wildlife, including chipmunks, squirrels, stellar’s jays, Mountain chickadees, woodpeckers, and if you’re lucky (or not so lucky, depending on how you see it) you could catch a glimpse of a coyote or a bear. Clark Trail is accessible from March through November. To get there, take Highway 89 north from South Lake Tahoe to Fallen Leaf Lake Road. Parking is located at the Glen Alpine Trailhead. From the parking area, walk back down the road to the junction of Fallen Leaf Lake Road and look for the small church to your right. A little post behind the church marks the hard-to-find trailhead.