On Site Activities

Fallen Leaf Lake Hiking and Other Nearby Trails

During your stay at Stanford Sierra Conference Center, you’ll be able to enjoy miles of hiking trails right out your back door. We are located on Fallen Leaf Lake, on the edge of the Desolation Wilderness, providing easy access to numerous iconic hikes, including the Cathedral Trail, Mt. Tallac Trail, and Glen Alpine Trail. View our interactive trail guide below for more information about hiking.  Check in at the office, many of our staff members hike, and you can get an update on trail conditions to your destination.

If you would like to venture further from the conference center, check out the Tahoe Rim Trail which circles Lake Tahoe and has stretches that are appropriate for hikers, mountain bikers, and horse back riding.

A few tips for hiking around Fallen Leaf Lake and surrounding areas:

  • Be sure to bring the essentials: a map, appropriate clothing, food, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and sturdy footwear.
  • Don’t drink straight from the rivers, lakes, or streams. A water treatment system is required if you plan to use these sources. Instead we suggest you bring ample water for your hiking excursion.
  • Have an emergency plan and bring appropriate equipment such as a cell phone. Make sure other people know where you are hiking and when you plan to return. Hike in a group or with a partner whenever possible.
  • If you encounter any pack animals give them the right of way by moving up hill and off the trail.
  • Employ Leave No Trace techniques to ensure that you leave the area as pristine as you find it. This includes carrying out all trash, even your orange peels. Stay on the established trail to avoid trampling the flora.

Before your visit you can download and read the e-book version of The Nature Guide to the Southwest Tahoe Basin, which provides information on Tahoe’s natural history, plants, and animals of the region.


Fallen Leaf Lake Water Activities

You can enjoy water activities during your stay at our California conference center.  At our boat dock you can check out complimentary boats.  Our fleet includes stand-up paddle boards, single and double kayaks, rowboats, peddle boats and a number of sailboats including Hobie Cats, Lasers and Escapes.  With the gusty winds, sailing can be challenging.  Our staff are trained and ready to respond to any “turtled” boats!

Fallen Leaf Lake is one mile south of Lake Tahoe, is aligned north to south and is oval in shape.  Glaciers traveling down the Glen Alpine Valley created the lake, and you can see a terminal moraine at the north end of the lake.   Fallen Leaf Lake lies within the National Forest System and is fed by Glen Alpine Creek along with several smaller streams including Cathedral Creek.  The only outflow is Taylor Creek which is dam controlled.  The lake is about 415 deep at its deepest point with an average depth of 240 feet.  Be careful as the bottom falls away rapidly from the shoreline.  Fallen Leaf Lake is known for its excellent water quality as the water is exchanged every eight years (extremely fast in comparison to Lake Tahoe which exchanges every 700 years).  The water temperatures tend to be chilly in the early summer and then warm rapidly as summer progresses.From Memorial weekend at the end of May to October, the Fallen Leaf Marina provides access for water ski boats, fishing boats and sailboats.  Be sure to plan some time for water activities during your stay at our Northern California conference center.  Whether you are relaxing on the dock checking out the scenery, touring around the lake in a kayak or swimming in the pristine waters, you will be sure to enjoy your time at Fallen Leaf Lake.

A few tips so you can enjoy your water sports safely:

  • Familiarize yourself with the area before you enter the water
  • Watch for underwater obstacles such as stumps and logs
  • Swim with a partner or group
  • Wear a flotation device (PFD) while enjoying water sports
  • Supervise children as they play near the water
  • Wear sunscreen

Located one mile south of Lake Tahoe near the California and Nevada border, Fallen Leaf Lake (6,377 feet) is a great location for group retreats, recreation, relaxation, and access to the wilderness. The lake is  is oval in shape and aligned north to south with a length of  2.9 miles and a width of .9 miles. Fallen Leaf Lake has an average depth of 240 feet with the deepest point at 415 feet deep.
Fallen Leaf Lake
Glaciers flowing down the Glen Alpine Valley created Fallen Leaf Lake. An excellent example of the lake’s glacial formation is the terminal moraine visible along the northern end of the lake. Cathedral Peak and Mount Tallac (9,735 feet) are at the Southern end of Fallen Leaf and are popular hiking destinations. Fallen Leaf Lake is located within the National Forest System and is managed by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

Spring snow melt feeds much of the lake with cold water from Glen Alpine Creek on the south end. The flow tapers off in late summer and fall depending on snowfall from the previous winter. It takes eight years to cycle entirely new water in Fallen Leaf Lake. This is extremely fast compared to Lake Tahoe which exchanges its water every 700 years. Fallen Leaf has good water quality and visibility ranging from 40 to 50 feet.

Fallen Leaf Lake is known for great water activities including water skiing, sailing. kayaking, wake boarding, and rowing. Fishing for brook and rainbow trout is also popular. During your stay at our California retreat center, you can check out a stand up paddle board, kayak, peddle or sailboat from our boat dock and paddle, peddle or sail across Fallen Leaf Lake!