Fallen Leaf Lake is located just past Camp Richardson on Highway 89 on the way to Emerald Bay. Fallen Leaf is a beautiful spot to visit and get out on the water or enjoy excellent trails for an easy walk, strenuous hike or trail run, all with the reward of incredible views!
From Highway 89 (near Camp Richardson Resort), turn onto Fallen Leaf Road and access the easier trails just past the campground. Several spots on the shoulder are available for parking. The lake will be off to your right, and a 15-minute walk on fairly level ground (just one short climb up and over a short ridge) will get you to the water. This is my favorite place to run and part of the Kokanee Salmon trail runs held every fall. We ran the 5K as a family in 2011; it’s a fun one!
To access the more strenuous hiking trails, you need to continue driving a few miles down Fallen Leaf Road, and park near the fire station. A fun loop is to head up to Angora Ridge from just behind the Chapel on the Angora Lake Trail.
A few hundred yards up the trail, you’re rewarded with a beautiful view of Fallen Leaf and Lake Tahoe. At the top of the ridge, follow the trail forward to Angora Road, turn right and continue on the road to Angora Lakes. In the summer, make sure you have money to buy fresh squeezed lemonade at the Angora Lakes store, a refreshing reward for your hiking efforts! You can return on the Church Trail or continue further down Angora Road to meet up with the Clark Trail, located behind the fire lookout. The Clark Trail will bring you back down just across from the store and marina.
From Memorial Day through October 1, the Fallen Leaf Store and Marina are open. The store includes a café that serves burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken and fries during lunchtime. If you’re a water person, rent a paddle boat, kayak, or my preferred watercraft, a stand up paddle board and get out on the water! Often in the fall, the water stays calm and glassy through the morning, so I’ll take a lunchtime paddle break.
You can reach the store at 530-544-5323 and the marina at 530-544-BOAT.
Nancy Harrison is sales and marketing director at Stanford Sierra Conference Center on Fallen Leaf Lake. The center is a family camp for Stanford alumni in the summer then open for groups of 30-180 in the spring and fall. Stanford affiliation is not required for group reservations during the spring and fall.