Lake Tahoe’s beauty is no secret, but many people have no idea where to enjoy it from above. Enter the Tunnel Creek Trail: home to the most beautiful panoramic view of Lake Tahoe, and a cheeky Monkey Rock.
What Is It?
The Tunnel Creek Trail is a 4.7-mile out-and-back hike located near Incline Village on the Tahoe Flume Trail. This moderate hike has become known as the home to Monkey Rock, a rock formation in the shape of a gorilla’s head overlooking the lake. The peak of this trail rewards visitors with the best panoramic view of Lake Tahoe, with the entire lake visible from its vantage point.
Where Can I Find It?
The Tunnel Creek Trail is located on the East end of Incline Village. Park by the Tunnel Creek Café, and follow the paved road behind it that heads South. The paved road ends in a few hundred yards and gives way to a Forest Service gate. Pass the gate, and head up the trail to greet the top of the mountain.
- Early morning or late afternoon in the fall or spring are the best time to hike the trail and catch incredible sunrises or sunsets over the lake.
- The lake’s increased clarity during fall makes the aerial views even more beautiful than usual!
- Reward yourself after your hike with coffee, soup and sandwiches at the Tunnel Creek Café, where you started your journey.
- Looking out on the lake from the summit, you’ll notice that you can see the clarity of the water even from a thousand feet up. Lake Tahoe’s water actually reaches peak clarity in the fall when runoff, wind, and boat traffic all diminish.
- Rumor has it that an Incline Village local who was going through a divorce carved ears and nostrils into Monkey Rock.
- Tunnel Creek Trail is great for hiking or biking, and is even dog-friendly as long as your four-legged friend is on a leash!