Just a touch west of popular Fallen Leaf Lake near South Lake Tahoe, California lies the Mt. Tallac Trailhead, offering a few different destinations along it's route to the summit. We opted to trek to the destination just before the steep climb to the summit begins; Cathedral Lake. Along the way we enjoyed views of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe from a picture perfect ridge line, walked the shores of Floating Island Lake, and took in even better views of Lake Tahoe from higher up the trail.
When hiking this trail in the off season, it's important to know that the road to the trailhead from Highway 89 will be gated. There's a small area to park, but then you'll need to walk the one mile or so to the trailhead - make sure to consider that extra time especially during short winter days. From the Highway to the Cathedral Lake we ended up trekking about seven miles round trip.
One thing to note about hiking summer trails in the winter - be mindful of the conditions. In our case, most of the trail was covered with hard packed and sometimes icy snow. I wore Sorel boots* which were great for the occasional plunge into deeper snow - but not so great for ice. If you're hiking this trail in similar conditions, I would highly encourage you to wear a pair of YakTrax*. I picked up a pair of the Pro variety and I couldn't be happier with them. They're great for gripping hard pack snow and seem to help you slide a bit slower on ice.
Disclosure: The links to the Yaktrax and Sorel boots above are affiliate links. If you end up purchasing one of these items through the Amazon Affiliate link (indicated with a *) I've provided above - I'll get a tiny little commission and will also be incredibly grateful to you for helping to support this site.