Hike from the Eagle Falls trailhead to Eagle Lake and back, enjoying the incredible scenery.
Eagle Falls at South Lake Tahoe is beautiful. It's a fairly easy hike, even with kids. Their are a few steep spots along the way though. Throughout the trail you have beautiful views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay. Overall, it's an easier hike for families, but there are a few better ones for little kids. :)
This hike is only 1 mile long. It begins just above Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe, and climbs up stairs cut out of the rock. Once you enter Desolation Wilderness, the hiking is much easier and the lake is shortly ahead. The trail follows a stream upwards to Eagle Lake. This stream ends up at Eagle Falls, which empties into Emerald Bay.
The hike affords breathtaking views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe. The lake itself is a quiet alpine lake with fish jumping. You can wade in it, and I've seen kids swimming there as well. You can bring a picnic and sit by the lakeside to enjoy it, then hike back (it's downhill the whole way, on the way back).
This is challenging for kids, because of the number of stairs. We saw numerous families on this trail, though. We took my toddler in the backpack and it was great. The lake itself is a great destination and the way back is downhill all the way.
For an ultra-short "hike", you can just enjoy the falls and walk as far as the bridge. There are picnic benches and regular benches along the way to the bridge.
The hardest part of this is the parking. The Eagle Falls parking lot fills quickly, there are a limited number of spaces along highway 89. The best bet is to hover in the Vikingsholm parking lot - people tend to stay a shorter time there. There is a fee for parking at either Eagle Falls or Vikingsholm. There is no fee for the hike, but to enter Desolation Wilderness you do need to file a permit. You do this by filling out the # in your party and your intended destination on a permit and drop it in the box at the trailhead.