Fallen Leaf Lake

El Dorado County

Fallen Leaf Lake, CA
Fallen Leaf Lake, CA

Fallen Leaf Lake

El Dorado County

Fallen Leaf Lake

Fallen Leaf Lake is often overlooked by Tahoe visitors. Only a couple of miles from Camp Richardson on the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe, beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake stretches for nearly 3 miles in a narrow, glacier formed valley. The lake water is known for its amazing clarity. Much of the property around the lake is privately owned, but there is adequate public access.

Fallen Leaf Lake is popular for all kinds of water activities from waterskiing and wakeboarding to fishing and kayaking. Campers enjoy the nearby Forest Service campgrounds and hikers often use the lake as a jumping off point for climbs to the top of Mt. Tallac or venturing into the Desolation Wilderness.


Fallen Leaf Lake is enjoyed by all kinds of boaters. Water skiers and wakeboarders are often seen on the lake in the morning when the water is smooth. Jet skiing is permitted. Boat inspections at the Meyers, Homewood, or Spooner Summit inspection stations are required prior to launching. Boats must have a green Fallen Leaf Lake inspection seal in order to launch. Winds can come up quickly and boaters need to be wary. Sailors find the winds tricky to negotiate. Kayakers and rowers are seen increasingly on the lake.


Fallen Leaf Lake has a single marina at the south end of the lake. The single launch ramp can be crowded of summer weekends. Fuel and boat rentals are available at the marina. Slips are available for overnight mooring or for longer periods.


Fishing at Fallen Leaf Lake is similar to Lake Tahoe. Anglers have success fishing from shore and trolling from small boats. Recently Fish and Wildlife has re-introduced Lahontan cutthroat trout to Fallen Leaf Lake. As a result, some fear that the population of rainbow trout will disappear. The lake is also home to brown trout, kokanee salmon, and mackinaw.


Fallen Leaf Campground is located at the northern end of the lake, not far from Highway 89. This popular campground offers easy access to both Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe.


Fallen Leaf Lake lodging is limited to private cabin rentals. Cabins range from simple A-frames to luxury homes. More lodging can be found nearby at Camp Richardson and all along the Tahoe shore. Stanford University alumni operate a family camp at Fallen Leaf Lake in the summer. In the spring and fall the facility is available as a conference center.


Fallen Leaf Lake rests at the foot of Mt. Tallac and other spectacular Sierra peaks. Thick forests march down to the water's edge around the lake. Most visitors are amazed at the contrast between crowded Lake Tahoe in the summer and the tranquil shores of Fallen Leaf Lake.

Nearby Communities

Fallen Leaf Lake has a general store and cafe at the south end of the lake. They are open from Memorial Day until mid-October. At nearby South Lake Tahoe visitors can find all the supplies they need.

Fallen Leaf Lake, California

Fallen Leaf Lake from Mt. Tallac Trail (Tahoe in distance)

Tahoe Rim Trail Map

El Capitan Reservoir Facts
Lake Size: 1,562 surface acres
Maximum Depth: 197 feet
Length: 7.5 miles
Shoreline: 22 miles
Dam Construction: 1935
Reservoir Owner: City of San Diego
Maximum Lake Elevation: 750 feet
Average High Air Temperatures
  spring: 79 degrees
  summer: 95 degrees
  fall: 85 degrees
  winter: 71 degrees
Summer Surface Water Temperature: 80 degrees

Recreation Opportunities Near Fallen Leaf Lake

  • Taylor Creek Visitor Center, stream profile chamber (an underwater look at the fish in Taylor Creek), exhibits; speakers &programs at the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater. Entrance road is off Hwy. 89 just north of turnoff to Fallen Leaf Lake.
  • Hiking - Day hike to Angora Lakes or to the summit of Mt. Tallac.
  • Camp Richardson Corral - Horseback riding, daily trail rides, pony rides for kids, summer wagon hay rides.
  • Magic Carpet Miniature Golf - 2455 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe
  • Sierra Ski and Cycle Works - Mountain biking