AdventuresHikingLake TahoeSierra Nevada

Stateline Lookout Trail: an easy hike with spectacular views of North Lake Tahoe

(Last Updated On: June 8, 2016)

The Stateline Lookout Trail is more of a slightly moderate stroll than a hike. It’s arguably the easiest trek you will make across the state borders. The trail begins in Nevada and ends at an old California State fire lookout that boasts of some of the best views in all of North Lake Tahoe.

Lookout Below

This hike is often overlooked by locals and visitors for the more popular lake and mountain hikes. However, the views of Lake Tahoe from the lookout rival views from anywhere else in the Lake Tahoe Basin. In fact, this is the best view of Tahoe’s North Shore.

The trail is an old forest road that is paved the entire way. This makes the 1/2 mile uphill hike much more manageable. The first half of the trail is in Nevada. Once you start gaining in elevation, you will begin to see some nice views of Crystal Bay.

Crystal Bay
Crystal Bay

Continue up the road and past the water tower.

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As you start getting closer to the state line, a trail splits from the road and takes you closer to the mountainside. Both the road and the trail take you to the Lookout.

Along the trail, there are placards that detail the history of this region. The first sign is about Crystal Bay and Incline Village.

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Not too far past the first placard is a nicely carved wood bench that’s perfect for taking a few moments to absorb the incredible views.

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A few hundred feet past the bench is the stateline between Nevada and California. There is a placard there to commemorate the stateline. The main image of this article is the view of Lake Tahoe from the placard.

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It’s not too much further from the Stateline placard to the Lookout. In just a few minutes you will arrive at the site that used to have a fire lookout station.

Closer to the Lookout is a great view of Stateline Point. You can see the famed Cal Neva Hotel that is currently under renovation. This hotel used to be owned by Frank Sinatra in the 60’s and was frequented by many famous people like Marilyn Monroe and other members of The Rat Pack.

Stateline Point and Cal Neva
Stateline Point and Cal Neva

There are two options when reaching the Lookout spot. The first option is to continue on the interpretive trail as it further explains Lake Tahoe, the ecology and the way life used to be. The second option is to go up to the actual spot where the Lookout tower used to be.

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Fire Lookout

The old fire lookout tower was dismantled in 2002. In its place are bathrooms, a few picnic tables and a panoramic view of Lake Tahoe. At this point, you are 7,017 feet in elevation. Which means you gained over 400 feet in elevation from the beginning of the hike.

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For those wondering, there are bathrooms available at the lookout.

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Trail Info

  • 1/2 mile One Way
  • Almost all uphill
  • Elevation gain of 400 feet
  • Mostly paved and easy to follow
  • Bathrooms at lookout


  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Bring sunscreen for warmer months
  • Bring water
  • Great place for a picnic
  • Definitely bring your camera
  • Make sure you find a suitable parking spot
  • Crowded during the summer and nice weather weekends

Final Words

The Stateline Lookout Trail is vastly underrated and often overlooked. The views here are incredible. From Crystal Bay to Agate Bay, there are no finer views of Tahoe’s North Shore than from the Lookout. Head up on a nice spring day and enjoy this beautiful, scenic trail.

Check out more of my Lake Tahoe adventures.

Agate Bay and Kings Beach
Agate Bay and Kings Beach


sl trail 1 (1 of 1)Take Highway 28 and turn north on Reservoir Drive, just past the vintage Tahoe Biltmore Casino. Turn right on Lakeshore Ave and look for Forest Service Road 1601 (the big green gate). Park below the gate on the street and do not block any of the residential homes.




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After many years of being a full time freelance writer, and a long time resident of this state, I've decided to turn my full attention toward California by exploring all that it has to offer. My goal is to inspire you to get out there and explore this amazing state. Please follow my adventures and news content by visiting Calexplornia daily or clicking on one of my Social Media accounts below.

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