Alite: Fun Simple Outdoor Gear for Casual Camping

Penner Lake



We love the Tahoe National Forest. It’s a short drive from the Bay Area and has an incredible density of fresh water to enjoy. Of all the numerous lakes and rivers to explore, Penner Lake is an Alite favorite.

It’s a moderate 3-mile hike and a manageable day trip. But it’s also an accessible backpacking destination with ample free campsites on national forest land. The maintained trail winds past other alpine lakes, rock knolls, and stunning forest. People trek to Penner to camp, fish, and there is even some bouldering for all you climbers out there.

This lake is the perfect swimming destination with clear water and deep pools easily accessible from every shore. We recommend bringing a floaty for maximum relaxation on the water. The water is chilly but in the hot summer it will be just what you crave after the effort of getting there. The granite rock formations serve as the perfect natural launch pad for cliff jumping and warming up after a swim.


  • Pro tip: there's great fishing at Penner as many anglers peel off at the lakes closer to the trailhead
  • Rock outcroppings offer opportunities for climbing and bouldering
  • Ultimate swimming, floating, cliff jumping destination
  • Backcountry camping available along the trail to Penner as well as at the lake.
  • Dogs welcome on leash
  • About a 7 mile roundtrip from the trailhead
  • Moderate hike to Penner is scenic and offers access to other lakes and day hikes
  • Make sure to pack and carry enough water for the duration of your visit
  • Pack it in, pack it out. There are no trash or bathroom facilities out here!