Upper & Lower Eagle Falls

Eagle Falls is a perfect destination for a day hike and spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay. Hike up a short distance to Upper Eagle Falls, then cross over to Emerald Bay State Park to hike down to Lower Eagle Falls.

Trailhead & Parking Information

The main trailhead for Eagle Falls is located just north of Inspiration Point. You can park at the Eagle Lake Trailhead, Vikingsholm Parking Lot or chance off-road parking on Hwy. 89. During peak tourist season, parking is a hot commodity at Emerald Bay. Here are a few tips that can save you money on parking fees and hopefully the ability to score a spot!

EMERALD BAY HIKING TRAIL, VIKINGSHOLM CASTLE, SOUTH LAKE TAHOE

Upper Eagle Falls / Eagle Lake Trailhead and Parking Area

Located on the westside of Hwy. 89, directly across the highway from Emerald Bay. This trail and recreation area is regulated by the U.S. Forestry Service. The fee for this parking lot is $5. If you have an annual Interagency Pass or America the Beautiful Annual Pass, you qualify to park for free in this lot. Simply display your annual pass plaquer in the rearview mirror and fill out the parking registration form at the trailhead.

EMERALD BAY HIKING TRAIL, VIKINGSHOLM CASTLE, SOUTH LAKE TAHOE

California State Park – Vikingsholm Parking Lot 

This lot offers an additional parking option for visiting Upper & Lower Eagle Falls, Vikingsholm Castle, and Emerald Bay beach area. Directly across the highway from Eagle Falls / Eagle Lake Trailhead, you will find a parking lot with limited space. The parking fee is $10 per vehicle. This parking lot is regulated by the California State Park system, so the annual America the Beautiful Pass will not work here. The only way to avert paying for parking at this location is to display your annual California State Park Agency Pass at the registration booth. For the after-hours self-pay station, list your California State Park Agency annual pass number plus the license plate number of your vehicle.

EMERALD BAY HIKING TRAIL, VIKINGSHOLM CASTLE, SOUTH LAKE TAHOE

Off road parking is available up and down the side of Hwy. 89. Be sure to follow signage for “tow-away” zones and “no parking anytime” regulations. This stretch of Hwy. 89 is highly patrolled and you will be ticketed or towed if your vehicle is in parking violation.

Public Transit

The Trolley

Emerald Bay Trolley runs a public transportation route back and forth along the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe during late spring through early fall. For cheap, you can ride from one end of the stretch at the South Y Transit Center in South Lake Tahoe, all the way up the West Shore to Homewood. Stops along the way include Meeks Bay Resort, Vikingsholm, the Taylor Creek Visitor Center and more. The trolley operates only during the peak summer months. Be sure to check the schedule on the official website.

Lake Tahoe Summer Trolley Schedules & Information

EAGLE FALLS TRAIL, SOUTH LAKE TAHOE HIKING
Upper Eagle Falls cascade, Eagle Creek

Upper Eagle Falls

The short hike to Upper Eagle Falls from the trailhead is only 1/4 of a mile or approximately 10 minutes. Upper Eagle Falls cascades down 50 feet. The bridge over Eagle Creek offers a great view of the Falls. If you are interested in a longer hike, the trail extends over the bridge another mile up to Eagle Lake.

EAGLE LAKE TRAIL, SOUTH LAKE TAHOE HIKING

This trailhead also serves as a gateway to the Desolation Wilderness. Overnight camping permits are available for free at the self-registration sign at the main Eagle Lake / Eagle Falls trailhead and parking lot area.

How to get to Lower Eagle Falls

At the driveway entrance to Eagle Falls trailhead, simply cross the highway and walk over to Vikingsholm State Park parking area. At the far end of the lot, you will see the trailhead sign for Vikingsholm Trail. Plan on a steep one mile hike down to Emerald Bay.

EMERALD BAY HIKING TRAIL, VIKINGSHOLM CASTLE, SOUTH LAKE TAHOE

Lower Eagle Falls

Eagle Creek flows from Upper Eagle Falls, down under Hwy. 89 to emerge cascading off a sheer cliff face into Emerald State Park above Vikingsholm Castle.

Eagle Creek

Eagle Creek is fed by springs & snow melt run-off from Eagle Lake. In the spring, the Upper & Lower Eagle Falls will have a thunderous flow. Visit in late summer and you will see a diminished flow.

Eagle Falls, South Lake Tahoe
Lower Eagle Creek at Emerald Bay

Eagle Falls & Eagle Lake were named after the Golden and Bald Eagles that make Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness their main habitat.

Eagle Falls, South Lake Tahoe
Lower Eagle Creek, Rubicon Trail Bridge

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