The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. The Value of Reflective Water Pain, Beauty, Life The beauty around Lake Genevieve reflecting off its still morning surface is striking. Both of us were super happy with the trip. #10 - Maggie's Peak, Eagle Lake, Granite Lake Loop. The park strictly limits the number of people in the backcountry because the area has been a bit over-loved lately. Helpful. 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. Even with the breeze, the air was pleasantly warm, especially considering it was early June. For whatever reason, I never sleep well the first night I’m up at altitude. Desolation is a popular backpacking destination, with much barren rocky terrain at the edge of the tree line. Day one stats: 10.6 miles. As we got higher, we started getting a great view of the lakes below us. The geography changed as we started descending toward Heather Lake. After our short break, we continued on toward our campsite for the night. Take the Glen Alpine Trail back to Fallen Leaf. West Linn 380 contributions 93 helpful votes +1. We arrived at Susie Lake as the sun was about to dip behind the mountains. During the winter months, most of the trailheads are covered by snow and are not accessible. 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 gray granite gave way to dark black and red-tinted rock. NOTE: the lake is drained each fall, so plan accordingly. 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. Hiking in Desolation Wilderness. Length : 10 Miles. Cooking was a challenge as the wind tried to extinguish our stoves. 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. We had a permit for June 4. This Desolation Wilderness backpacking hike will take you through 12+ miles of beautiful scenery and alpine lakes! Loosey wondering if she should wait for Liz to remove her pack or to just jump in yet another beautiful Desolation Wilderness lake. Lake Aloha via Rockbound Pass – Desolation Wilderness (38 mile loop) Trip Overview: ~38 mile backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness near South Lake Tahoe. 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. The trail was under several feet of snow, which made navigation a bit tricky at times. Warmer than most summer nights in the mountains. You will need to walk the extra distance to the trailhead. A list of other trailheads that provide access to the wilderness follows. The sun even came out as we approached the car. Thanks Andrew! 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. #6 - Lake Aloha via Glen Alpine Trailhead. Elevation Gain: 2100 Feet. Mike L wrote a review Sep 2017. We packed up and headed out. A few seconds later, the gust hit the tent like a semi-truck. The Wilderness sits on the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountain’s Crystal Range, west of Lake Tahoe, and north of Highway 50. Both of us were tired anyway after sleeping poorly the night before, so we fell asleep early. My first solo backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness of Eldorado National Forest near Lake Tahoe, California. We encountered snow at around 8000ft. Initially, we thought he must have been mistaken as the path was in good shape and even had a new trail sign. 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. 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. The weather report called for high winds and snow down to 7000ft later that day, so we were happy to head out. My tent held up ok, although I did tighten the lines once. comments. 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.. The morning was cold and windy. Desolation Wilderness is one of the most popular wilderness areas in the nation. 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. He had to use rocks to set it up for the rest of the night. .. Date of experience: June 2018. We tried to secure our shelters the best we could, hoping they’d hold up during the night. Note: you need to get a wilderness permit from recreation.gov for this trip. We had the wind at our back the whole way back to the trailhead. After a short while on the PCT, we turned right and headed down toward Glen Alpine. After taking a couple pictures at the dam by the outlet of Echo Lake, we headed out. 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 gusty and kept changing direction. Backpacking the Desolation Loop in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Initially, we were in a thick forest, but soon enough, the views started opening up. I was glad to hear your Yosemite trips are happening. As with most backpacking destinations, you’ll need to secure a wilderness permit for any overnight stays in Desolation Wilderness. +/- 3,000 feet of elevation with a starting elevation of 6,970 feet and a peak elevation of 9,660 feet. Even on a Thursday morning, we met a constant stream of other hikers out enjoying the early summer weather. This 12 mile loop starts at the Fallen Leaf Lake Tamarack Trail Head and intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail. But soon enough, the trail turned into a serious bushwhack through willow and alder thickets. Its a strenuous but beautiful journey. My friend’s tarp caught a gust, and two of his stakes flew out in the dark forest. The trail followed a stream that grew more significant as we descended. It can be difficult to find solitude, especially if you’re hiking to Lake Aloha or up Pyramid Peak on a summer weekend. We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine lake dotted with fir … 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 … If you are a lover of nature and backpacking, then Desolation Wildernessin California is a destination worth looking at. 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. The wind was still for minutes, then all of a sudden, you could hear the wind pick up in the treetops. Trail Head At: Bayview Trailhead Campground, South Lake Tahoe. This was our first time backpacking Desolation Wilderness in South Tahoe and we absolutely loved it! We only broke through in a few places where the melting water had created snow bridges. The first section of the trail, until Tamarack Lake, is very popular. This loop traverses over Rockbound Pass and Dicks Pass on its way to the beautiful Lake Aloha. Unfortunately for us, they opened for backpacking on the 5th, which meant we needed to find an alternate trip. For backpacking, Fontanillis and Dicks Lake are both in the same Desolation Wilderness zone - #23. Although this hike can be done as a … 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. hard (768) Length: 13 mi • Est. 6 h 14 m. The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. 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. The rocky shore always reminds me of the Finnish outer archipelago with its low vegetation and stunted pines. Eagle Lake trail is one of our favorites. 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. The bare granite and snow backdrop makes the lake look even bluer if possible. This 4-day backpacking adventure through Desolation Wilderness was the second half of the mountaineering course. The trail follows the eastern shore of the Echo Lakes, high above lakeside cabins. We followed the Tamarack Trail all the way back to the PCT. Desolation is a relative term. The shore of Lake Aloha was still mostly covered in snow. Day 2: Glen Alpine trail to Glen Alpine Trailhead, Tamarack Trail to Tamarack Lake.Day 3: PCT / TRT back to Echo Lakes Trailhead. The trail is only recommended for very experienced outdoorsmen. Once we were out of the thick forest, navigation became easier. Backpack to this secluded destination that's hidden from most of the traffic in Desolation Wilderness. Backpacking into Desolation Wilderness provides visitors and locals alike a simple well earned separation from the bulk of the crowds and… We stopped for lunch halfway through the climb. The sun hit our campsite as we made breakfast, forcing us to shed layers down to shorts within minutes. 570 ft elevation gain. Desolation Wilderness is one of the largest wilderness areas near Lake Tahoe at almost 64,000 acres. Desolation Wilderness is a federally protected wilderness of 63,000+ acres in Northern California. Route Name: Bayview Trailhead Location: South Lake Tahoe, California Duration: 3 days minimum Length:22 km / 13.8 miles This is a great overnight backpacking trip that features some of the best of Desolation Wilderness. Permits are required in Desolation Wilderness. The walk up to the peak is the most challenging, but the view is so gorgeous! Backpacking to Half Moon Lake 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. Because of its beauty and accessibility, Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the United States. 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. Good trip, glad you were able to get out. From the PCT intersection, we only had a short 20 minute downhill stroll to get to our campsite. The Desolation is a 64,000-acre playground crisscrossed by hiking trails, running water and a generous number of alpine lakes of all sizes bursting with wild brook trout. We’d been woken up several times by strong wind gusts. August 2, 2020. We laid down on the sunny rocks for a while to let our shoes dry out. GROUP SIZE Desolation Wilderness Permits and Quotas. We cooked dinner by the lakeshore, watching the light fade. We passed Glen Alpine Springs, an old resort built around a bubbling spring in the ground. We arrived at the trailhead a bit before 11 and got our gear in order. Unlike all the other trails we’d been on, the Tamarack Trail wasn’t graded for equestrian use. Not exactly the wilderness experience we had the previous night, but it would do. Day two stats: 9.1 miles. Some of the lakes also contain rainbows or brown trout, and even a few golden trout, our California state fish. You will climb for about 2-3 miles. #4 - Lake of the Woods via Pacific Crest Trail, #5 - PCT: CA Section K - Echo Lake to Highway 80. Trailhead approximate address: Fallen Leaf Lake, Glen Alpine Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, #9 - Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop. Saved from healthnuthayley.com. Starting at the Bayview Campground off of HWY 89, the hike to Dick’s Lake begins at a consistent incline. Lake Aloha Trail. Even though it was very last minute, we got to see and experience some top-notch alpine landscapes and enjoy nature. Share. With alpine lakes accessible within several miles of hiking, it's no wonder that folks flock to this destination from all over the country. Using some rocks and sleeping pads to block the wind, we were able to get some water boiled for a nice, warm dinner. Philip Werner 4000 Footers, Backpacking Trips, Trip Reports, White Mountains. This trip can easily be extended to an overnight backpacking trip with a stay near Lake Aloha. It has extensive areas of bare granite rock formations.. 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 Wilderness 30 minute Backpacking Map: Meeks Bay to Echo Summit Backpacking Miles and Elevations. Permits. #1 - Lake Aloha Trail. We could see Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe behind us, with tall mountains on either side. Day three stats: 4.1 miles. This wood caught fire and burned uncontrollably for years, casting black smoke clouds over the entire White Mountain region and polluting the watersheds. From the top of the pass, we still had a little over a mile to our campsite. 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. ... to backpacking in the wild places on earth - where people are few, cell signal is nil, and Mother Nature still reigns. I hope you’re also able to get out and enjoy the Rockies in your back yard. 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. 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. This is one of my favorite moments from a trip with my dad and my pup. The fires and smoke are vividly described in early versions of the AMC White Mountain Guide and other regional … Harbors brook and brown trout and provides million-dollar sensations of owning your very own lake. Desolation Wilderness is absolutely stunning and I almost don’t even wanna write this post about it because it’s so precious and pristine. Highlights include alpine lakes, granite peaks, and expansive views of Desolation Wilderness. A practical application of the lessons learned in the first class, so to speak. Desolation Wilderness, California. We had a quick breakfast before we started hiking back to the car. Start at Echo Lakes Trailhead. Desolation Wilderness. 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. 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. 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