Round Lake, Big Meadow, CA

Day hike to Round Lake at Big Meadows

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It came after a sweltering two weeks of heat in the Sacramento Valley – Lush, respite, in the form of refreshing 85 degrees and breeze galore. I grabbed a friend and headed, once again, to get lost in Sierra Nevada somewhere.

Pretty much picking a spot on the map, I wanted to get somewhere without snow and crowds, which led me to an awesome surprise off of HWY 89 towards. Only fifteen minutes from HWY 50, we parked at the Big Meadows/Tahoe Rim Trail lot and embarked toward Round Lake.

Halfway between 89 and HWY 88, Round Lake was a cozy but medium sized glacial lake, with a huge meadow along the way. Just as I’d read, current conditions have been leading to a lot of water runoff from historic levels of snow. Early on the 3ish mile hike, we had to slip off our shoes and wade through shin-high waters, but it wasn’t bad at all.

A relatively easy hike from there led through forests clearly hit by drought and storm and manageable snow fields (my friend was in sneakers and stayed dry) until we reached the lake itself.

Gorgeous! Like I said, the weather was heaven, and a nice long rest on a few rocks made me want to stay and camp the night. This would be a supremely easy hike for any backpacker. Plenty of places to camp and as far as I know, you only need a permit for backcountry stoves.

If you get the chance, go. Even with Summer backpacking being hard this year due to snow, Round Lake is a welcome overnighter for anyone needing to get out of the city and away from crowds.

4 Replies to “Day hike to Round Lake at Big Meadows”

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