Wildflower Hike to Showers Lake
Updated: Aug 1, 2022
Earlier in the week, I was feeling a bit under the weather and fatigued, so I wasn't certain I'd be up for a strenuous hike. Sometimes it's best to listen to your body and rest when you need it. Most of the time, I run about 100 mph all day long and I rarely take time to slow down or relax. Well, let me tell you that on Friday and Saturday, I allowed myself some R&R on the sunny deck (chores = zero, deck naps = 3). By Sunday, I was feeling better, but still not 100%, so I was hesitant when my husband brought up a 7-plus-mile hike with nearly 1500 feet of elevation gain.
I figured the activity and fresh air would do me some good, either way, so off we went in the Jeep to Carson Pass for another outdoor adventure.
We didn't get as early of a start as we normally do, mostly due to my lack of energy, so we prepared for a hotter than usual hike. We maxed out the water capacities of our bladders and added ice, and put on our sunscreen.
When we turned off of the highway, we oddly drove through a maintenance facility area before joining the gravel forest road that takes us to the trailhead. The parking area had a few cars, but I wouldn't say it was busy. We jumped on the dirt trail and immediately began climbing.
All around us were rolling green meadows of wildflowers. I couldn't believe how many flowers were in bloom. Oh, and the intoxicating floral aroma! We've hiked during peak wildflower season several times, but never have I been so enamored with the smells! All the colors, all the varieties as far as you could see. None of the photos do it justice. And everything was so lush and green – a stark departure from the dry, rocky, pine-treed terrain we typically hike in.
I stopped along the trail numerous times to take photos as we climbed over 830 feet in the first mile or so.
Birds were chirping, the sun was shining, the breeze was perfectly cooling us off.
Even as the terrain transitioned to sagebrush, the wildflowers were in no way deterred.
We continued climbing as the trail weaved and switched back up and through the rolling hills of the meadow to the ridge.
Some spots got fairly steep and the higher we climbed, the more amazing the views.
When I finally crested the ridge (it was a strenuous first mile!), I was rewarded with a fantastic canyon expanse of the Sierra.
Here's a green Dixon Canyon with a glimpse of blue Meiss Lake on the far left and Stevens Peak high in the background on the right.
Along this ridge, I saw such an unexpected thing: Mushrooms! The soil was rocky and incredibly dry, the hillside was fully exposed to the sun, and not a tree in sight, yet I spotted three different clusters of mushrooms! What a strange find in this terrain!
From the ridge at 9,192', we continued descending to Showers Lake, enjoying more wildflowers along the way and carefully navigating the steep, rocky terrain. (You can see Lake Tahoe far off in the distance and the reddish-brown Caldor Fire burn scar from last summer.)
When we arrived at Showers Lake, I think we were both slightly underwhelmed by it, but we still found beauty in its serenity.
After rounding the lake, we continued toward Little Roundtop Trail to finish out the loop back to the trailhead. But not without hiking through some more wildflower fields and a few tiny water crossings.
And we spotted a cute little... prairie dog? Spying on us from a rock. Probably just some kind of squirrel, but it sure acted like a prairie dog!
Here's a better view of Lake Tahoe and the Caldor Fire burn scar.
We reached our trail intersection!
This section of the trail loop afforded lovely views of Caples Lake (and part of the burn scar).
We were treated to yet more flowers on the final stretch before we met up with the forest road that would lead back to the trailhead parking lot.
All in all, Showers Lake wasn't the highlight of the hike, but we couldn't have timed the wildflowers any better!