Tree, Poison Flat, Carson Iceberg Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Your Backpacking Guide to the High Sierras Yellow Flower
Dardanelles Lake Close up with two people.
Long view of Dardanelles Lake from just North of Showers Lake. Note two backpackers on the thin point.


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Our Final Steps
Showers Lake

Backpacking Schneiders Cow Camp junction South to Showers Lake Junction, Meiss Country Roadless Area, Tahoe Rim, Pacific Crest, and Tahoe to Yosemite Trail routes around the Southern Rim of The Tahoe Basin.





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Trail Guide


Schneider's Camp junction

Showers Junction
7.5 min
Topo Map


Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit




All Sierra Weather

A brief 1.19 mile hike South
Schneiders Cow Camp Junction
brings us to the
Showers Lake Sign Post

  North Side of Showers
Sign Post at the Mystery Junction
  Showers Lake Trail junction post.  
  A sign post without a trail junction.  

Showers Lake

Showers Lake is a very popular destination for local backpackers. Lots of folks from the Carson Valley and Reno enjoy this place, as well as Lake Tahoe Locals out for a quick weekend getaway.

We can approach Showers Lake from many trail heads around the compass.

Trails come into Showers Lake from the Southeast out of Carson Pass, from the North from Echo Summit, and from the Northeast out of the Meyers trail head. These trailheads are featured in this trail guide.

We can also approach Showers from the South via Schneiders Cow Camp off of Highway 88 near Caples Lake, or from the West via Sayles Canyon Trailhead on Highway 50, a half-mile East of Camp Sacramento.

This section of trail guide is hiking South to Showers Lake from Echo Summit along the unified Tahoe to Yosemite-Pacific Crest-Tahoe Rim Trails.

We can also reach Showers Lake from the East out of the Big Meadow Trail off of Highway 89, which cuts in to the trail coming up from the Meyers trailhead just below Round Lake.

The map below depicts all the trailheads we can use to access Showers Lake.

30 min hiking Topo Map
Echo Summit to Round Top Lake


Add your experiences, comments, Questions:
Schneiders to Showers


Meiss Country Roadless Area

Echo Summit to Carson Gap

Showers Lake "Loop"


6.80 miles South from Echo Summit.
5.2 miles North to Carson Pass.

Although the 7.5 min USGS Topographic shows two trail junctions off of the PCT heading to Showers Lake, one to the North of Showers Lake and the other to the South, there is no trail bypassing Showers Lake as the map indicates.

Though the signpost pictured above is located at the point the Northern junction was marked at on the map, I found no trail junction. The Pacific Crest, Tahoe-Yosemite, and Tahoe Rim Trails now loop through Showers Lake.

It appears that the bypass trail around Showers Lake has been abandoned. I was headed to Showers Lake anyway, so I didn't search too hard for the trail remnants around the South shore of Showers Lake.

My notes on this trail junction say, "Signpost, but no Junction."

This is good. Showers Lake should not be missed!

Check out the Map, and Click the Colored Dots for related trail guide page.


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Dardanelles Lake in Christmas Valley

Shortly after departing the Schneiders Junction, the forest thins, and the terrain opens up for Splendid Vistas.
Dardanelles Lake from the Showers Lake overlook

The View Northeast of Freel Peak with Jobs Sister off to the Right behind Freel Peak's Northeast shoulder viewed from Showers Lake. Dardanelles Lake sits nestled in the foreground forest.  Dardanelle Lake is accessible from the South Upper Truckee Trailhead in Meyers and from the Big Meadow Trailhead along Highway 89 below the North side of Luther Pass.

Echo Summit to Carson Pass
Meiss Country Backpacking Map

Cross Country & Winter Travel
in the
Meiss Country Roadless Area

You can make a cross country go at Dardanelles Lake from Showers Lake. I'd drop down to the East to the South Upper Truckee, rather than attempt a direct line from Showers Lake to Dardanelles Lake.
I prefer cross country travel during Winter, when the snow covers the dense undergrowth that blocks much of the terrain from Spring on. I would not suggest attempting cross country travel through most of Meiss Country Roadless Area during Summer.

Dense brush fills about every nook and cranny of the terrain after the Spring Thaw explosion of life, making cross country travel through here very difficult during Summer. Once the cold of Fall strips the brush and the Winter snows covers it all up these cross-country trips through and around Christmas Valley are still very difficult cross country navigations through complex terrain.

Meiss Country Snow Backpacking Trips
But, a grand snow-shoeing triangle with Shower Lake being one corner, Meiss Meadow another, and Round Lake being the third corner is totally do-able!
Well, it's do-able for expert backpackers familiar with the terrain in Summertime, who have developed Winter travel and safety skills.

Snow Training Trips
Even better, the easy ways in and out of Meiss Country from Big Meadow to Round Lake and on to Carson Pass via Meiss Meadow make the Meiss Country an excellent "laboratory" within which to develop our Winter skills during the tamer conditions of early Fall or late Spring.

Once we get the fundamentals of Winter Travel and safety under control we can start hiking the "sides" of this Winter triangle, then put all the sides together into an excellent Winter Expedition as our skills grow and evolve.

Out of the South Basin Triangle Trip
If you are a really aggressive Winter Traveler you can extend the Southeastern corner of this hiking triangle out of the Tahoe Basin to Round Top and The Sisters.
The trip would be: Meyers Trailhead to Showers Lake via Round/Dardanelles Lake. From Showers to Round Top Lake. Round Top Lake back into the Tahoe Basin and down to Round Lake. Round Lake out through Meyers.

That's a nifty Winter backpacking trip I've been doing for 20 years. It can take up to a week through thick powder, 4 or 5 nights if snow conditions are well consolidated.

The Meiss Country Roadless Area is stunningly beautiful draped in Snow.

Snow Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada

Nearby Round Lake also offers scrambles up to Meiss Meadow via Meiss Lake. It is rough country. Very Rough. Which makes the Meiss Country Roadless Area is an ideal location to develop your cross country and route finding skills. But you have a few things to do before going cross country.

First, you must become completely familiar with the area, its terrain, the location of the trails, and the route of the drainages by walking all the trails many times with a detailed map in your hand.

Second, you should camp at both Showers Lake, Round Lake, and Dardanelles Lakes, (or the pertinent areas around your potential cross country route) and scout out the terrain around them thoroughly. Start probing the off trail terrain from your campsites. Understand the nature of the terrain and how much energy it will demand from you to cross it. Observe and locate your most likely cross country routes into and out of each of these lakes.

Third, you should carefully plan a cross country route between the two points, considering the necessity of turning around and going back, or bailing out by alternative routes.

Fourth, get into the best shape you possibly can. During cross country travel through deep forests you are most likely going to have to cross deep forest-floor litter, climb over fallen trees, and push through thickets of bushes with a heavy backpack. That, my friends, requires many many sit ups, or you are going to snap like a twig in a hurricane. Strength, endurance, and flexibility are excellent assets in the backcountry.

Fifth, you must inform reliable people (your "second") of your time in through your specific trail head, your planned route on and off trail, your alternative cross country routes and emergency plans, and your planned exit time and location. With this information you must include the contact information for the local Rangers.

Work out how long after your failure to exit the Wilderness at your specified time that your people will inform the Rangers of your tardiness. This is generally one day after my specified exit time. I will also leave a message for the Rangers with my second, informing them as to my level of experience and conditioning, as well as my plans in case of injury, and route alternatives and my possible bail-out route.

well-informed note on Cross Country through Meiss Country.
See M & L's
Backpack the Sierra

Snow Conditions at Showers Lake

The video above concerns Showers Lake as the destination from Round Lake. The next day we followed the Tahoe Rim South to the Carson Gap and our way up to Round Top Lake. We roughly followed along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route described on the following trail guide pages.

Video Playlist
Echo Summit to Carson Gap

More Videos

View of Dardanelles Lake from Showers Lake Overlook

Dardanelles Lake close-up
Dardanelles Lake close-up

Dardanelles Lake. Note the two backpackers on thin point into lake, on the left edge of the Lake.

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Views from the open terrain around Showers Lake

The View North, approaching Showers Lake.
The View North, towards Lake Tahoe, approaching Showers Lake
As we enter open the terrain around Showers Lake, a grand view North begins to open up.

The same view to the North, but from a little further South on the Trail, reveals a glimpse of Lake Tahoe.
View North towards Lake Tahoe, opens up as you near Showers Lake

Continuing South towards Showers Lake, grand views open up. We see that Showers Lake's location on a flat overlooking Christmas Valley down to Lake Tahoe gives it amazing vistas.

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Majestic Views
open up from
Showers Lake

For the Southbound backpacker Showers Lake represents the end of the closed-in hiking through dense forests and steep drainages we have experienced since hiking out of Echo Lake.

The terrain mellows South of here.

For the Northbound backpacker, Showers Lake will provide your last grand, unimpeded long views until you climb Dicks Pass in Desolation Wilderness.

We do get fantastic views across the Echo Lakes from the Desolation boundary, and at Pyramid Peak hiking by Lake Aloha, but we don't get a real overview until Dicks Pass.

There are many nice views between here and Dicks Pass, but you will spend much more time within the forests and mountains than looking down into, over and across them.

The View Opens
South Upper Truckee drainage contours down through Christmas Valley and on to Lake Tahoe.
Overview of Christmas Valley Tahoe Basin, from Showers Lake overlook
Enjoying an afternoon off with the views from Showers Lake

Dr. Peter Skaff

Peter took this fine view of the very edge of the thin meadow apron that sits just below this section of the Tahoe Rim crest line. Showers Lake sits towards the North end of this thin meadow-flat, one of the few places along the Southwestern rim of the Tahoe Basin with unobstructed views of Lake Tahoe, and the whole extent of the Southern Tahoe Basin.

Below Peter caught a view of what makes the approach to the South Lake Tahoe Airport difficult.

Showers Lake View, taken by Peter Skaff

The South Lake Tahoe Airport runway is visible in the foreground.

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North: Schneider's Camp junction                                                  South: Showers Junction-Showers Lake

Showers Lake

Breaking out of the forest into open terrain approaching Showers Lake from the North is refreshing. Except a last flank of the Western wall of Christmas Valley is still blocking our view of Lake Tahoe. But rotating around the flank adds a bit of drama as the full view is rotates into view as we South puts us past the obstruction.

Soon the last flank no longer blocks our view of Lake Tahoe, but beautifully frames it.

Christmas Valley, the whole extent of the South Upper Truckee River Drainage, the whole Southern Lake Tahoe Basin, along with Freel Peak and a big chunk of the Carson Range all swing into view. Peter's picture, above, displays many of these elements.

The work it took to get here pays off as our physical exertion becomes the personal lens magnifying and gives physical meaning to the aesthetic pleasure of our arrival.

The view from Showers Lake, as well as the many beauties of the trail through the deep forest and precipitous granite terrain we backpacked through to get here from Echo Summit explains why this spot is a local's favorite: It's a challenging and rewarding hike that does not ask too much from you, but does demand work. The trail from Echo Summit is the long and hard way to get to Showers Lake, where that work well rewards us.


From Carson Pass it is 5.2 miles of much easier miles hiking North to Showers Lake, compared with the 6.8 mile trail and more difficult terrain backpacking South from Echo Summit.

From Carson Pass we only have to get over the Carson Gap, then it is a gentle downhill grade almost all the way to Showers Lake, except for a couple of short climbs from the Northern end of Meiss Meadow where shoulders descending off the Tahoe Rim work us a bit.


The Echo Summit to Showers Lake round-trip is a excellent place to get yourself and your gear worked out for longer trips, or just have a nice weekend getaway.

This route is of intermediate difficulty, but has short difficult sections that keep us on our toes. The altitude requires acclimation, but is not extremely high. The distance to Showers Lake is short, so we can easily do the Showers Lake round trip on a weekend, if we are in intermediate+ condition.

Showers Lake is a great place to figure out equipment and physical issues prior to planning or executing an extended long distance High Sierra Nevada backpacking trip.
It puts us into the soup, but the soup's not too hot. If you have a hard time doing the Showers in-and-out, you need to fix these problems before you really hit the trail. Doing the Showers Lake in-and-out will give us a handle on the particular backpacking aspects of backpacking we are having issues with.

7.5 min
Topo Hiking Map

Echo Summit
Carson Pass
30 min
Topo Hiking Map

Echo Summit
Round Top Lake

Miles and Elevations

Next page South
Showers Junction

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Backpacking Trail Guide


Schneider's Camp junction

A compass for your thoughts...

Backpacking Trail Guide


Showers Junction-Showers Lake

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General comments about the Echo Summit to Carson Pass section of the High Sierra trails, or this particular location:

Echo Summit to Carson Pass
Schneiders Cow Camp Junction to Showers Lake

North: Schneider's Camp junction                                           South: Showers Junction-Showers Lake

Alex Wierbinski

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Frosted Backpack

Backpacking Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

Your guide to the High Sierra Crest, including the Tahoe to Yosemite, Pacific Crest, and John Muir Trails

Snug tent after Snow Storm
© Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Crown Jewel of the Pacific Crest Trail