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The hike to Star Lake from High Meadow is a beautiful hike starting on a fire road cutting up through the Sierra wilderness on the Star Lake Trail near Freel Peak. This is a pretty popular mountain bike trail as well. The hike is about 6.6 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 2,500 vertical feet. Star Lake sits at an elevation of about 9,009 feet above sea level. The Star Lake Trail actually meets up with the Tahoe Rim Trail just as Star Lake comes into view. There are a few other routes to reach Star Lake, but we decided High Meadow was the best place to start for our trip.
Jeremy, Hendrix (Jeremy’s pup), and I got to High Meadow around 8am. I packed up my Granite Rocx Cascade Backpack & Cooler and we were off on our way. The trail starts on a fire road of dirt and stone. The fire road is about 2.5 miles. It’s a pretty nice elevation gain, but the terrain is simple. Once we hit the 2.5 mile mark, you can continue straight towards Monument Peak Pass and Cold Creek Trail or go right towards Star Lake Trail. We made the right and were on our way up to Star Lake Trail. Just about half a mile you’ll hit the right onto Star Lake Trail. Below are a few pictures.
We turned right on the trail. The next about 2 miles is a fairly gradual elevation gain through the Sierras. Most of the hike is tree covered so it’s nice and shaded. There are a couple of creek crossings so there was plenty of water on the trail for Hendrix. It’s a really pretty hike with a few openings to view Lake Tahoe. See a few more pictures below.
The trail runs into the Tahoe Rim Trail just as Star Lake comes into view. It’s a gorgeous lake that was a bit bigger than I thought. Hiking to Freel Peak, you can get a glimpse of this lake and it’s bigger than it looks. Fish were absolutely going crazy. They were jumping literally out of the water! I’ll need to make sure I bring my fishing pole next time. We hung around the lake for awhile and then made our way back to High Meadow. Check out more pictures below!
To get to High Meadow:
- from the Nevada side, take Highway 50 towards South Lake. Turn left onto Pioneer Trail and then continue past Ski Run Blvd. Make a left onto High Meadow Trail. Follow that until the gate, which in the summer should be open and that will take you to the trailhead.
- from the “Y”, take Highway 50 towards Nevada. Make a right onto Ski Run Blvd and then another right onto Pioneer Trail. Make a left onto High Meadow Trail. Follow that until the gate, which in the summer should be open and that will take you to the trailhead.
I didn’t swim this time, but next time I may need to take a dip to cool off. Star Lake is a pristine high alpine lake. It’s great for a day hike and pretty popular for camping as well. If you’ve hiked or biked to Star Lake, comment below! Also follow us on twitter @graniterocx!