Marlette Lake – Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails
This 9.5 mile round-trip hike is one that shouldn’t be missed if you have a full day. The hike follows the well-maintained North Canyon trail from the Spooner Lake parking lot, which is often used by hikers as well as mountain bikers and horseback riders, although the new upper single track trail is just for hikers and sure to be quiet. The hike is a long one, but the trail is mostly even terrain, and the pristine water oasis of Marlette Lake couldn’t be more rewarding. It’s a moderate hike as it’s mostly uphill – the elevation gain is about 1200 feet. At the beginning of the trail, you’ll be beckoned by a meadow of wildflowers and absolutely beautiful Aspen groves. Flowers in the meadow are as diverse as they are pretty, and varieties include pink bog mallow, pink yarrow, and lavender. If you’re going in October, be sure to bring a camera, because that’s when the Aspen leaves turn a stunning golden shade.
The trail itself is also full of colorful history; close to the fish hatchery site, there’s a pile of logs that has remained untouched since the 1870’s when two stubborn loggers couldn’t agree on a price for the pile. At the lake, a stone chimney stands alone to mark the former site where the Leonard family’s summer cabin once stood. The trail also passes a former cord woodcutter cabin, follows a creek for a few miles, and goes over three separate bridges. The peace and quiet at the shimmering waters of the lake are a great place to swim, eat lunch, or even do some catch and release fishing (from July to September). Catch your breath while you fish for rainbow trout, cutthroat and brook trout. The easy long downhill back is something to look forward to as well.
There are flush toilets, water faucets and picnic tables at Spooner Lake and primitive bathrooms along the trail and at Marlette Lake. Be sure to remember lots of water, sunscreen and bug spray. The trail starts near the Spooner Lake Picnic Area, at the junction of Highway 28 and 50. Contact the Spooner Park ranger for more information: Bill Champion (775) 831-0494.