← Bikepacking in Patagonia – from El Bolsón to Bariloche, Bacon mac and cheese: 2-ingredient easy backpacking meal →. 3 Minutes. Fortunately, we were the only ones at the lake, so we had no trouble finding a couple of flat spots to set up our camp. Lake of the Woods via Pacific Crest Trail, PCT: CA Section K - Echo Lake to Highway 80, Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop, Maggie's Peak, Eagle Lake, Granite Lake Loop. #10 - Maggie's Peak, Eagle Lake, Granite Lake Loop. https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/california/desolation-wilderness Because of its beauty and accessibility, Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the United States. Desolation Wilderness is one of the most popular wilderness areas in the nation. Susie and heather lakes (Lake Tahoe) is a 10.6 mile out and back trail located near Lake tahoe, California. This loop traverses over Rockbound Pass and Dicks Pass on its way to the beautiful Lake Aloha. comments. This wood caught fire and burned uncontrollably for years, casting black smoke clouds over the entire White Mountain region and polluting the watersheds. Desolation Wilderness Permits and Quotas. It can be difficult to find solitude, especially if you’re hiking to Lake Aloha or up Pyramid Peak on a summer weekend. We laid down on the sunny rocks for a while to let our shoes dry out. Desolation Wilderness is one of the largest wilderness areas near Lake Tahoe at almost 64,000 acres. We found two somewhat sheltered spots for our shelters and set them up before starting to make dinner. A list of other trailheads that provide access to the wilderness follows. After taking a couple pictures at the dam by the outlet of Echo Lake, we headed out. After our short break, we continued on toward our campsite for the night. Desolation has so many good overnight backpacking options with several options from each trailhead and even multiple trailhead options for the same camping destination. As we got higher, we started getting a great view of the lakes below us. Trails in Desolation Wilderness - 30 Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. For backpacking, Fontanillis and Dicks Lake are both in the same Desolation Wilderness zone - #23. Permits are required in Desolation Wilderness. Start at Echo Lakes Trailhead. This 12 mile loop starts at the Fallen Leaf Lake Tamarack Trail Head and intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail. We took advantage of the situation by using the restrooms at the trailhead, then quickly continued. Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the country. It is also one of the most popular wilderness areas in the country due to its proximity to South Lake Tahoe, breathtaking views, numerous lakes & … This is Heather Lake in the Desolation Wilderness located outside of Lake Tahoe, CA. We didn’t mind a bit of snow, but we didn’t want it to be the dominating part of the adventure. In order to protect its unique beauty and wilderness character, human access is limited and certain activities are restricted in the Desolation. The trail starts climbing in earnest after the upper Echo Lake. The sun hit our campsite as we made breakfast, forcing us to shed layers down to shorts within minutes. Desolation Wilderness is accessed through 13 trailheads: Loon Lake, Van Vleck, Rockbound, Twin Lakes, Lyons Creek, Pyramid Creek, Ralston Peak, Echo Lake, Glen Alpine, Mt. The wind was still for minutes, then all of a sudden, you could hear the wind pick up in the treetops. #1 - Lake Aloha Trail. Popular wilderness ages well under the eye of devoted stewards . Initially, we thought he must have been mistaken as the path was in good shape and even had a new trail sign. For day hikes, fill out a day permit at the trailhead (Echo Lakes Trailhead), so that people know where you are in case anything goes wrong. Some of the lakes also contain rainbows or brown trout, and even a few golden trout, our California state fish. After discussing some alternatives and checking satellite photos on Caltopo, we decided to go for a relatively snow-free loop in Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe. That said, I know people are wondering about it, so let me take this opportunity to share that when backpacking in Desolation there are no facilities and leaving no trace is … Desolation Wilderness is in north-central California along the eastern border, 3-1/2 hours northeast of San Francisco, 2 hours east of Sacramento, and 1 hour southwest of Reno, Nevada. The hike over Rockbound Pass is far less crowded than many of the trails on the eastern side of the wilderness. Getting There. During the winter months, most of the trailheads are covered by snow and are not accessible. Day two stats: 9.1 miles. The morning was cold and windy. The trail is fairly flat for most of the hike, with only two sections of significant elevation gain, and you will pass by 5 lakes in under 12 miles round trip. You can reserve 11 spots ahead of time online at Recreation.gov, and 5 spots are available for same day walk in.. For day hikers, you can self issue a permit at the trailhead. Unfortunately for us, they opened for backpacking on the 5th, which meant we needed to find an alternate trip. At waterfall camp, you'll have the opportunity to explore over 50 waterfalls. Day three stats: 4.1 miles. August 2, 2020. Echo Lakes to Susie lake via Lake Aloha. Its a strenuous but beautiful journey. The area is divided into 45 zones and permits are required year-round, with quotas in effect from the Friday before Memorial Day to September 30. Both of us were super happy with the trip. Follow the PCT past Lake Aloha, Heather Lake and Susie Lake. We cooked dinner by the lakeshore, watching the light fade. Lake Aloha Trail. From the PCT intersection, we only had a short 20 minute downhill stroll to get to our campsite. 1,560 ft elevation gain. Lake Aloha is striking in the spring. Even with the breeze, the air was pleasantly warm, especially considering it was early June. My friend Joonas and I had been planning an early June hiking trip to Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite. We followed the Tamarack Trail all the way back to the PCT. This was our first time backpacking Desolation Wilderness in South Tahoe and we absolutely loved it! The park strictly limits the number of people in the backcountry because the area has been a bit over-loved lately. Length : 10 Miles. From the top of the pass, we still had a little over a mile to our campsite. You may find the area so remarkable that you will want to stay longer -- it's hard to see all its beauty in such a short amount of time. Using some rocks and sleeping pads to block the wind, we were able to get some water boiled for a nice, warm dinner. The lingering snow on the surrounding mountains made for some stunning scenery. Desolation Wilderness. If you want to do the full loop, you have to go on the road for a decent amount of time to walk back to the parking lot. Mike L wrote a review Sep 2017. Pemigewasset Wilderness Sign. This is one of my favorite moments from a trip with my dad and my pup. The walk up to the peak is the most challenging, but the view is so gorgeous! My tent held up ok, although I did tighten the lines once. We only broke through in a few places where the melting water had created snow bridges. Day 1: PCT / TRT to Tamarack Lake – Lake Aloha – Heather Lake, Susie Lake. #4 - Lake of the Woods via Pacific Crest Trail, #5 - PCT: CA Section K - Echo Lake to Highway 80. Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Desolation Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. We’d been woken up several times by strong wind gusts. The trail is only recommended for very experienced outdoorsmen. But the views were amazing. Unlike all the other trails we’d been on, the Tamarack Trail wasn’t graded for equestrian use. Even though it was very last minute, we got to see and experience some top-notch alpine landscapes and enjoy nature. With alpine lakes accessible within several miles of hiking, it's no wonder that folks flock to this destination from all over the country. Once we were out of the thick forest, navigation became easier. hard (768) Length: 13 mi • Est. We’d met a man by the spring who told us that the trail we were planning to take hadn’t been maintained for a while. The Value of Reflective Water Pain, Beauty, Life The beauty around Lake Genevieve reflecting off its still morning surface is striking. Read more. The most popular backpacking area is Desolation Wilderness, a 63,690-acre granite slab on the edge of the tree line in Eldorado National Forest.Nearby, the 19,048-acre Granite Chief Wilderness, a relatively unknown aside from the popular Five Lakes day hike, has deep canyons, fields of bright yellow mule's ears and the historic cabins at Whiskey Creek. Elevation Gain: 2100 Feet. We arrived at Susie Lake as the sun was about to dip behind the mountains. We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine lake dotted with fir … Thanks Andrew! Route Name: Bayview Trailhead Location: South Lake Tahoe, California Duration: 3 days minimum Length:22 km / 13.8 miles The fires and smoke are vividly described in early versions of the AMC White Mountain Guide and other regional … Desolation is a popular backpacking destination, with much barren rocky terrain at the edge of the tree line. Cooking was a challenge as the wind tried to extinguish our stoves. Desolation Wilderness has been my favorite destination for backpacking lately since it’s so close to home, and there are so many spots and trails I still want to explore. GROUP SIZE This trip can easily be extended to an overnight backpacking trip with a stay near Lake Aloha. If you choose not to take the water taxi, add 5 miles to the overall trip. Desolation Wilderness is absolutely stunning and I almost don’t even wanna write this post about it because it’s so precious and pristine. Date of experience: June 2018. The first section of the trail, until Tamarack Lake, is very popular. West Linn 380 contributions 93 helpful votes +1. We could see Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe behind us, with tall mountains on either side. The wind was gusty and kept changing direction. It has extensive areas of bare granite rock formations.. This Desolation Wilderness backpacking hike will take you through 12+ miles of beautiful scenery and alpine lakes! Day 2: Glen Alpine trail to Glen Alpine Trailhead, Tamarack Trail to Tamarack Lake.Day 3: PCT / TRT back to Echo Lakes Trailhead. I was glad to hear your Yosemite trips are happening. Share. The ground around the lake is very rocky, and there aren’t that many suitable campsites for tents. The night was surprisingly warm. Make sure to call ahead to the Placerville Ranger Station in Camino, CA to reserve a wilderness permit ($6 reservation fee plus $5/person for the 1st night, $10 more than 1 night). Here’s our camp at last light, with the night’s first stars beginning to twinkle, and the rush of snowmelt singing us to sleep. After a hot day of hiking, there is no better way to relax than with a swim in beautiful Lake Aloha where you can spend hours swimming from island to island. Tallac, Bayview, Eagle Lake and Meeks Bay. Loosey wondering if she should wait for Liz to remove her pack or to just jump in yet another beautiful Desolation Wilderness lake. Both of us were tired anyway after sleeping poorly the night before, so we fell asleep early. Even on a Thursday morning, we met a constant stream of other hikers out enjoying the early summer weather. Note: you need to get a wilderness permit from recreation.gov for this trip. It felt odd being back in civilization in the middle of a hike. Harbors brook and brown trout and provides million-dollar sensations of owning your very own lake. ... to backpacking in the wild places on earth - where people are few, cell signal is nil, and Mother Nature still reigns. There were already more than 10 tents spread around the wooded area on the east side of the lake. Highlights include alpine lakes, granite peaks, and expansive views of Desolation Wilderness. We had a permit for June 4. Starting at the Bayview Campground off of HWY 89, the hike to Dick’s Lake begins at a consistent incline. The snow was slushy in the warm summer sun, but it held firm under our feet. +/- 3,000 feet of elevation with a starting elevation of 6,970 feet and a peak elevation of 9,660 feet. The geography changed as we started descending toward Heather Lake. Lake Aloha via Rockbound Pass – Desolation Wilderness (38 mile loop) Trip Overview: ~38 mile backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness near South Lake Tahoe. This Location The Tahoe to Yosemite, Tahoe Rim, and Pacific Crest Trails through Desolation Wilderness : Main Features: Meeks Bay is the trail head for the Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trail, and an excellent entry point into the Desolation Wilderness for short and medium distance backpackers as well.. Backpacking Desolation Wilderness ABOVE : Last light lingers in the high country around Dick’s Lake. As with most backpacking destinations, you’ll need to secure a wilderness permit for any overnight stays in Desolation Wilderness. We packed up and headed out. This is a great overnight backpacking trip that features some of the best of Desolation Wilderness. We didn’t have a very long day ahead of us, so we took things slow and enjoyed being out in nature after being cooped up for weeks. He had to use rocks to set it up for the rest of the night. Backpacking: Desolation Wilderness ... Backpacking: Desolation Wilderness. Hiking in Desolation Wilderness. .. Near the densely-populated city of South Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County lies the strikingly beautiful Desolation Wilderness area. We arrived at the trailhead a bit before 11 and got our gear in order. Even though I had one of the most comfortable campsites in a long time, I wasn’t able to get a good night’s sleep. For whatever reason, I never sleep well the first night I’m up at altitude. We tried to secure our shelters the best we could, hoping they’d hold up during the night. 570 ft elevation gain. Both of us had the route loaded on our Garmin Fenix 6 watch, which beeped any time we strayed too far off course, telling us to check the map and where we needed to head. After a hot day of hiking, there is no better way to relax than with a swim in beautiful Lake Aloha where you can spend hours swimming from island to island. If you are a lover of nature and backpacking, then Desolation Wildernessin California is a destination worth looking at. My friend’s tarp caught a gust, and two of his stakes flew out in the dark forest. It is an extremely popular hiking destination in California and boasts a number of attractive trails, including the Middle Velma Lake … A practical application of the lessons learned in the first class, so to speak. We encountered snow at around 8000ft. The east side of the Pemigewasset Wilderness is called “Desolation” because loggers clear-cut the forest between 1890 and 1940, leaving behind huge quantities of slash. Day one stats: 10.6 miles. Backpack to this secluded destination that's hidden from most of the traffic in Desolation Wilderness. Trailhead approximate address: Fallen Leaf Lake, Glen Alpine Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, #9 - Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop. A few seconds later, the gust hit the tent like a semi-truck. 2,160 ft elevation gain. You will climb for about 2-3 miles. 6 h 14 m. The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. It was significantly steeper and even required us to use our hands to climb at times. Note: As of 10/3/2020, users have reported that Wrights Lake Rd is gated off just past the equestrian camp, so parking is limited. Desolation is a relative term. The bare granite and snow backdrop makes the lake look even bluer if possible. Good trip, glad you were able to get out. We lost the trail a few times, but it was easy enough to follow the lake in the right direction until we rejoined the trail. The sun even came out as we approached the car. We could already see the opposite side of the valley that we would be climbing to get back to Desolation. Backpacking to Half Moon Lake If you decide to go, please practice Leave No Trace. Aug 31, 2016 - I would definitely recommend this backpacking trip for anyone who is an experienced hiker and is in shape. Rested and full of calories, we climbed over the pass. The trail follows the eastern shore of the Echo Lakes, high above lakeside cabins. You will need to walk the extra distance to the trailhead. The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. Plenty of hiking trails; some to waterfalls and others to great views of Lake Tahoe. It's bounded by logging roads and operations to the north and west, Lake Tahoe to the east, and US 50 to the south. Trip Overview: ~12 mile relaxing backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness. The shore of Lake Aloha was still mostly covered in snow. We navigated down the patchy snow and small meltwater streams without issue. This trail offers great views with a variety of terrains. The trail is fairly flat for most of the hike, with only two sections of significant elevation gain, and you will pass by 5 lakes in under 12 miles round trip. Desolation Wilderness 30 minute Backpacking Map: Meeks Bay to Echo Summit Backpacking Miles and Elevations. Details: Middle Velma Lake – Desolation Wilderness. We arrived at the trailhead a bit before 11 and got our gear … Summer Backpacking near Lake Tahoe has many options, however the opportunity to backpack on the PCT into desolation Wilderness is by far the most sought after experience for hikers in the Central Sierra yearly. The rocky shore always reminds me of the Finnish outer archipelago with its low vegetation and stunted pines. We stopped for lunch halfway through the climb. We had the wind at our back the whole way back to the trailhead. The gray granite gave way to dark black and red-tinted rock. But soon enough, the trail turned into a serious bushwhack through willow and alder thickets. The Wilderness sits on the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountain’s Crystal Range, west of Lake Tahoe, and north of Highway 50. Backpacking the Desolation Loop in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. This means packing out all your trash … The cold wind made us retreat into the relative warmth of our tents before the sun had fully set. Even though I’d hiked this part of the PCT/TRT a couple of times before, I never get tired of the mountain vistas in Desolation. Not exactly the wilderness experience we had the previous night, but it would do. #6 - Lake Aloha via Glen Alpine Trailhead. I hope you’re also able to get out and enjoy the Rockies in your back yard. Both of us were tired after a long day of driving and hiking, so we called it a night early and went to bed around 9. Although this hike can be done as a … Permits. We passed Glen Alpine Springs, an old resort built around a bubbling spring in the ground. My first solo backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness of Eldorado National Forest near Lake Tahoe, California. Even with the lousy snow year we’ve had in 2020, an early June still means there will be snow in most places in the Sierra. The trail was under several feet of snow, which made navigation a bit tricky at times. The weather report called for high winds and snow down to 7000ft later that day, so we were happy to head out. This 4-day backpacking adventure through Desolation Wilderness was the second half of the mountaineering course. Backpacking into Desolation Wilderness provides visitors and locals alike a simple well earned separation from the bulk of the crowds and… The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. Philip Werner 4000 Footers, Backpacking Trips, Trip Reports, White Mountains. Initially, we were in a thick forest, but soon enough, the views started opening up. If you want to avoid that, you can do this as an out and back starting from the Eagle lake trail head. Warmer than most summer nights in the mountains. Eagle Lake trail is one of our favorites. The Tahoe Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail pass through the wilderness. After a short while on the PCT, we turned right and headed down toward Glen Alpine. Trail Head At: Bayview Trailhead Campground, South Lake Tahoe. We had a quick breakfast before we started hiking back to the car. Helpful. Desolation Wilderness is a federally protected wilderness of 63,000+ acres in Northern California. The trail followed a stream that grew more significant as we descended. , high ABOVE lakeside cabins off its still morning surface is striking a list other. 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