Hiking Trails in and around Northstar Resort


The trails around the Northstar Resort take you on a thrilling adventure through breathtaking vistas and colorful landscapes. Learn more about hiking in North Lake Tahoe.

Posted on June 13, 2023

Father and son hike at Northstar

As summer rolls in, the mountain ranges around Lake Tahoe come alive with vibrant hues of wildflowers and lush greenery. The snow melts away to reveal the best scenic hikes in North Lake Tahoe — an array of trails that reward your every step with incredible views.  

North Lake Tahoe hiking trails showcase magnificent vistas, serene alpine lakes, and pristine wilderness. From the sweeping views atop Mount Pluto to the tranquil trails through Martis Valley and forested trails on Mount Watson, the best hikes in North Lake Tahoe will immerse you in the natural wonders of the Sierra Nevada. Note that trail opening dates vary depending based on the weather conditions.  


The Panoramic Mt. Pluto  

Set in the picturesque Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mt. Pluto is an exceptional hiking destination. With its breathtaking landscapes, diverse trails, and majestic views, the mountain offers an unforgettable hiking experience. Whether you're a beginner looking for a leisurely stroll or a seasoned adventurer, this is one of the must-do hikes in North Lake Tahoe.  

You can hike or take a ride to the top of the mountain. Northstar offers gondola and chairlift rides to help you experience the scenic sights without breaking a sweat, which are free with a 23/24 EpicPass. But, if you begin your ascent on foot, you'll go through a lush alpine forest teeming with various plant and animal life. The trail meanders through dense groves of towering pine trees that create a magical atmosphere.  

The trail opens as you ascend higher, revealing marvelous vistas and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Mt. Pluto's rugged peaks and rocky slopes present a thrilling challenge for adventurers seeking a strenuous hike.  

Luckily, you're spoiled for choice and can pick a trail that suits your hiking preferences. There are two hiking trails on property at Northstar Resort, and many more in the immediate North Tahoe area. Be sure to refer to the trail guide for hiker friendly trails, as our local bike trails do not allow hikers for safety. 

Mt. Pluto is a gentle mountain that invites every hiker to reach the summit. Standing atop this majestic peak feels surreal. You're rewarded with an incredible 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and shimmering lakes. It's a sight that will leave you breathless and remind you of the grandeur of the great outdoors.  

The Enchanting Sawtooth Hiking Trail  

Sawtooth Trail is a great choice when looking for the best hike with a view in North Lake Tahoe. The Sawtooth area, known for its transcendent natural beauty, rewards hikers with an enchanting outdoor experience. The diverse landscapes, dramatic vistas, and quiet alpine environment allow you to reconnect with the beauty and power of the great outdoors.  

One of the highlights of hiking the Sawtooth Trail is the sweeping views of the majestic beauty of Lake Tahoe. As you ascend the trail, you'll be treated to dazzling views of the crystal-clear waters between towering mountains and lush green forests. The sight of the lake from various vantage points along the trail is awe-inspiring.  

The trail meanders through the Granite Chief Wilderness, characterized by rugged granite peaks, dense pine and fir forests, and vibrant wildflower meadows. Sawtooth Trail offers a mix of challenging and moderate terrain to accommodate hikers of all skill levels. The trail is characterized by granite outcrops, boulders, and occasional stream crossing that add an element of excitement to your hike.  

Several pristine mountain lakes, including Sawtooth Lake, provide idyllic spots for rest and rejuvenation. Take a refreshing dip, enjoy a picnic, or bask in the serenity of nature by these peaceful lakes.  

The Sawtooth trail immerses you in a wilderness teeming with diverse plant life. They include vibrant meadows with colorful flowers to towering conifers. Keep an eye out for playful squirrels, grazing deer, and various bird species.  

The Awe-Inspiring Martis Peak 

Martis Peak is a captivating hiking destination in the Sierra Nevada mountains, allowing outdoor enthusiasts to embark on a colorful adventure. Rising to almost 9,000 feet, Martis Peak is one of the best hikes North Lake Tahoe has on offer, with the ascent taking you through a picturesque landscape characterized by dense forests with pine and fir trees and colorful wildflowers. 

The well-maintained trail offers a mix of moderate to challenging terrains. It meanders through groves of trees, crosses small streams, and presents occasional rocky sections. As you approach the peak, the trail becomes steeper, but the effort is worth it. Reaching the peak rewards you with breathtaking views that stretch for miles.  

Marvel at the stunning vistas of the Sierra Nevada, distant snow-capped peaks, and the sparkling waters of Lake Tahoe. The striking beauty of the Martis Valley and the surrounding wilderness will leave you in awe.  

Besides the scenic vistas, you’ll find a decommissioned fire lookout tower built in 1914, at the top. You can climb to the tower for a better view or even stay overnight at no charge if you bring your camping gear. The peak is also a great bird-watching spot, and you may spot hawks and eagles soaring above the mountain ridges. It’s the perfect place to rest and recharge before your descent. 

A Forest Adventure on Mount Watson 

Mount Watson is a scenic hiking destination near Lake Tahoe. Rising to an elevation of 8,500 feet, Mount Watson offers hikers a captivating experience colored by a sense of calmness, natural beauty, and spectacular vistas.  

The trail to the summit of Mount Watson conveniently starts at the Fibreboard Freeway. As you ascend, the trail winds through dense forests with pine and fir trees, providing the serenity you need to appreciate being out in the wild. During the warmer months, the trail comes alive with vibrant wildflowers that add splashes of color to the greenery.  

Unlike other North Lake Tahoe scenic hikes, the Mount Watson trail is highly forested, but the mountain summit rewards you with an expansive panorama that reveals Lake Tahoe's sparkling waters surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Sierra Nevada. From this elevation, the view of the vast lake against the backdrop of rugged mountains is mind-blowing.  

The peak of Mount Watson is an ideal place to pause and reflect, far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Take a break, breathe the crisp mountain air, and savor the tranquility of the surroundings. It's the perfect spot for a picnic before the descent.  


Enjoy Unmatched Comfort During Your Hiking Trip  

The mountain ranges of North Lake Tahoe make an excellent hiking destination. They offer diverse trails brimming with breathtaking landscapes and majestic views. 

Booking a stay at the elegant Northstar Resort makes the perfect home base for your hiking adventures. Find the best hiking spots within reach and stay in comfort for all of your Northstar summer adventures.