Features: Lake — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
This is a burly section of trail with high elevations, steep grades and no drinking water.
Beginning from behind the stagecoach lift at Heavenly ski resort, the Tahoe Rim Trail
quickly gains elevation on switchbacks, immediately rewarding you with phenomenal views of the Carson Valley. There is a bench with a lookout early on. Multiple granite steps on switchbacks will begin to fatigue your quads.
The Tahoe Rim Trail
traverses the top of Heavenly Valley before losing elevation and returning to the South Lake Tahoe side (western aspect) of the mountains beginning a series of climbs and descents on crumbling granite. You'll reach Star Lake, one of the most beautiful high alpine lakes in the Tahoe basin.
After Star Lake, you'll steadily gain elevation as you traverse the west side Freel Peak. At this point, you'll lose close to 1000 ft of elevation before regaining another ~800 ft to reach the final high point (~16 miles) of this section of the Tahoe Rim Trail
This rugged trail continues to provide awesome vistas overlooking Lake Tahoe before descending through forests to finally arrive at the Big Meadow trailhead.