There is a Washoe Indian legend about the formation of Fallen Leaf and the surrounding lakes. A warrior was fleeing from an evil spirit with only a leafy branch in his hand given to him by a deity called the good one. The warrior was told if pursued by danger, drop the magical branch and water would appear where the branch fell. In a fit of panic, the warrior snapped the branch and dropped half. Rapidly, water began to rise creating a barrier between the warrior and the evil one now known as Lake Tahoe. With relief, the warrior continued to flee the evil one. As the warrior hurried up the canyon to where Fallen Leaf Lake now lies, he spotted the evil one once again. With only half the branch and four leaves the warrior plucked a leaf and waited with bated breath as it fell to the ground. Once again, water sprang up and Fallen Leaf Lake was formed. The warrior continued to run, and as he dropped the rest of the leaves Lily, Grass and Heather Lakes rose up to protect him. The warrior crossed the wastes of Desolation Valley and leaving the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada, found safety in the neighboring Sacramento Valley.
- View of Fallen Leaf Lake from the Angora Ridge fire lookout
Now, as much as running from an entity called the evil one would not be on my list of things to do, I am however happy that this Washoe warrior unintentionally created amazing hiking scenery for Stanford Sierra Conference Center guests and staff members to enjoy. There are a plethora of incredible hikes that not every conference retreat center can offer. A few days ago fellow staffers and I enjoyed an invigorating hike to Angora Lakes. With walking sticks in hand, we made our way to the Clark Trail and hiked up to the Angora Ridge fire lookout. Built in 1924, the fire lookout is no longer active, but the lookout is considered a historical landmark and offers incredible views of Fallen Leaf lake.
Now if honor and glory are more your goals, Mount Tallac is the hike for you. Located at 9,738 ft. (3,300 feet above Fallen Leaf Lake) Mt. Tallac offers some of the most breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the Crystal Range in Desolation Wilderness. You can choose your own adventure by taking the Cathedral Lake Trail or the Glen Alpine Trail. This is not for the faint of heart, but the reward is getting to the top and feeling like you have conquered a mountain.
Majestic Mt Tallac reflected in Fallen Leaf Lake
If you are more city mouse than country mouse take a picnic basket and a loved one and head up to the Lower Falls and Lily Lake. A easy-going, but lovely hike that will take you to the picturesque area of Lily Lake. Be sure to have a Kodak moment with the bubbling waterfalls along the way. Break out that picnic basket and enjoy the amazing scenery in front of you.
- Oh the wonders of Lily Lake
Excellent hiking is just one of the many benefits of coming to Stanford Sierra Conference Center. If you are interested in more information about the Fallen Leaf area check out the informative book, A Nature Guide to The Southwest Tahoe Basin, written by Charles Quinn with selected essays by Rebecca Chaplin. You can find it for sale in the fountain store here at SSCC where we sell many other fine products. So what are you waiting for ? Get your hiking shoes on and get out here!
- Informative books and more here at the SSCC Fountain Store!