Cold Creek

Copyright © 2016 Jared Manninen

Cold Creek Trail is a multi-use trail that accommodates hikers and mountain bikers and connects with other trails further up the ravine. Although Cold Creek doesn’t offer spectacular views, the trail is flanked on either side by mountainous walls and it parallels Cold Creek. There are few indications you’re still in civilization within a minute of hiking. Also, due to its close proximity to Cold Creek, the trail offers many places in which to dip your toes.

Copyright © 2016 Jared Manninen

Click on the above map to enlarge it for printing and better viewing. This map is only for reference. Always carry a traditional topographic map and compass when traveling in the backcountry.

Trail Data (approximations):

  • Location: South Tahoe – Pioneer Trail
  • Category of Route: Family Fun Hike, Day Hike
  • Total Mileage: 2.5 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Highest Point: 6,565 feet
  • Trail: Hard-packed sand


  • Parking at the water substation gate is OK, but don’t block the gate
  • Dogs are allowed, but keep them on leash and pick up after them
  • Adhere to all Leave No Trace principles
  • There are few trail signs and markers on public lands in the Tahoe region, so unless there are tracks to follow, the correct route may be difficult to identify–when in doubt, turn back
  • Be prepared for inclement weather and carry plenty of warm clothes, food, and water
  • Leave an itinerary of your plans with someone who will call emergency services if you do not return by your prescribed time


Park at the water substation entrance (don’t block the gate) on Pioneer Trail between the roads named Cold Creek Trail and High Meadow Trail. The substation is 4.5 miles from HWY 50 in Meyers and 3.25 miles from HWY 50 near Stateline. Parking is very limited. An optional access point to the trail is located at the top of the road called High Meadow Trail (see map).
Below is a Google Map to assist you in finding the parking area for accessing the Cold Creek Hiking Trail. Remember, parking is at the water substation.


Cold Creek Trail immediately heads upward from the substation, so be prepared for elevation gain. Also, this is a common exit point for mountain bikers, so be aware that they may be coming downhill as you’re hiking up. At 1.25 miles there is a natural turnaround point with a beautifully constructed bridge that spans Cold Creek. This spot also happens to be a nexus of trails, namely Cold Creek Trail, Powerline Trail, and High Meadow Road. Powerline Trail is mostly a traverse and it does offer some glimpses of Lake Tahoe, so head along that trail if you have the time.

Copyright © 2016 Jared Manninen

Lupine along the Cold Creek Trail on May 16, 2016. © Jared Manninen

The Cold Creek trail is appropriate for snowshoeing in the winter, but probably too technical for cross-country skiing as there are a number of large granite boulders along the trail and some steep windy sections to negotiate.

Granite boulders on Cold Creek Trail. Photo taken by Jared Manninen on May 16, 2016.