... To start our trip, we parked at Lower Echo Lake. The Lower Echo Lake trail head is the main trail head for the Desolation Wilderness. I turned to my buddy, and said, "the same way out as in," and he drove me over to the South Upper Truckee, where I quickly hiked to Summit City Creek, and the isolation of the Western Flank of the Sierras between Round Top and Lake Alpine. The trailhead has a map of Desolation Wilderness (it’s helpful to take a picture to have an idea of the trail and locations of other lakes along the hike, including Lake Lucille, Lake of the Woods, Tamarack Lake and Triangle Lake). At Echo Lakes there is a boat taxi operated in the summer by Echo Lakes Resort cuts three miles off your trip. ... Pyramid Peak, 9984', highest in Desolation Wilderness. Aspects of the trail leading to the peak were steep, but nothing too technical. After that, it would be necessary to utilize the boat taxi and hitchhike six miles back to the car. He cooked the mixture with slightly less water so that the paste was thick enough to spread over the tortillas. Each time I venture into the backcountry, I’m reminded that moving to Lake Tahoe in 2005 is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The 66.52 miles between Meeks Bay and the Lake Alpine Lodge on Highway 4 make using the Echo Lake Chalet as a resupply point optional for Southbound backpackers on either the Pacific Crest Trial or Tahoe to Yosemite Trail. When we return, we’ll collect our stuff and hike to our next “lodging.”. You could easily hike the Pacific Crest Trail/Tahoe Rim Trail north to an intersection just past Dick’s Lake. Begin walking on the paved path (next to the water taxi dock and Echo Chalet). If you’ve looked at any of my other trail articles, you’d notice that I pretty much stick to writing about the main trails around Lake Tahoe (that have already been promoted in countless other guidebooks and websites). On my last trip across the length of Desolation Wilderness I emerged from Desolation Wilderness through the Lower Echo Lake trailhead on September 17, 2009. Your safety is your responsibility. Desolation Wilderness Hike to Dick’s Lake (1-3 Days) This Desolation Wilderness backpacking hike will take you through 12+ miles of beautiful scenery and alpine lakes! I miss it. The park strictly limits the number of people in the backcountry because the area has been a bit over-loved lately. Realistically, tourists have been running roughshod across Lake Tahoe since the early to mid-1800s. I remember climbing on similar rock when I was a child living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I had been wanting to visit Lake of The Woods in Desolation Wilderness ever since I hiked out to Lake Aloha back in early June 2015. So glad I set up the tent. You tend to feel safer in a group, but that feeling also can cause you to take more risks. You'll need to self-issue a permit for day-use in Desolation Wilderness at the trailhead. Period. Backpack to a Gorgeous Alpine Lake in Desolation Wilderness October 30, 2020 July 10, 2020 Mike Tebbutt I prefer to be heading out for at least multiple nights whenever I manage to get out backpacking, but when all you have is two days and one night, no place packs a punch quite like Desolation Wilderness. Today it seemed like I didn’t (again!) But since I moved to Lake Tahoe last year (2005), I’ve been more interested in listening than speaking. There’s just so much more downtime. South L…, CA. Both the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail and the 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail share an approximately 22 mile segment of absolutely stunning trail through this br… Quite the chef. Aloha Lake is one of the most popular backpacking trips in Desolation Wilderness, CA. This is always nerve-racking and difficult, especially when it’s the last major obstacle to overcome. ... Desolation Wilderness Hiking. So, he bought dehydrated black bean soup and red beans and rice soup. Arriving late in Fall, it was closed for the season. We’ve managed, however, to have enough food. Tallac, Bayview, Eagle Lake and Meeks Bay. Before I realized how bad the mosquitoes were, I had already dismantled my tent. ALWAYS Double-Check your (and my) mileages. Tahoe Trail Guide and its contributors are not liable for property loss or damage, personal injury, or death. It had been a long time since I had pushed myself that hard, and knowing that I could still hang was satisfying. No matter. I feel so much better now that I’ve eaten and had a chance to genuinely relax. One of the guys scheduled to be in our cooking group was unable to attend. That was right around noon. The hike took longer than I expected and there were a lot more benches and false summits than I anticipated. I moved to Lake Tahoe in the fall of 2005, so I took this backpacking trip in the summer of 2006. I could enjoy the company of other backpackers and hikers, rather than be swept away by them. I know the direct benefits of recreating on public land and encourage others to embrace it as well. The Lower Echo Lake trail head is the main trail head for the Desolation Wilderness. The Echo Lake Chalet also has a store and deli. A relatively easy ascent of the peak provides spectacular views of Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Range. During our 3 day trip, we also hiked up to the summit of Mt. Mileage On our way down from Pyramid Peak there was a massive swath of snow that enabled us to glissade down. note At this point I only have a few snacks left for tomorrow. Pyramid Peak is, literally, visible from most locations in South Lake Tahoe. Old time locals have been preaching abstinence for decades, similar to what you’re proposing (stay away, there’s nothing to see here). I wasn’t a huge fan of the experience, however. Directly behind us is the actual lake, which is small but deep and frigid. Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness: Echo Lakes to Emerald Bay (approximations) Location: South Tahoe – Desolation Wilderness; Category of Hike: Multi-Day Hike; Total Mileage: 27 miles; Total Elevation Gain: 5,050 feet; Highest Point: 9,983 feet (Pyramid Peak) Trail Conditions: Variable conditions ranging from hard-packed sand to boulder and scree fields Desolation Wilderness Trip Report: Echo Lakes Trailhead to Aloha Lake By Katey Hamill on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 Three days, four friends, ten lakes, two peaks, thirteen miles, and too many packets of oatmeal to count. Fortunately the views were stunning. That's an excellent trend. This backpacking expedition into the raw backcountry of Desolation Wilderness made for many unforgettable experiences. Echo Lakes to Susie lake via Lake Aloha. Feb 12, 2018 - #DesolationWilderness is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the United States. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. By preventing and restricting people from going into the backcountry, you discourage potential taxpayers and philanthropists from actually funding the programs, agencies, and dedicated stewards who are so vital to the preservation of public lands. (This seems to be a bit of a theme this summer!) I considered cowboy camping tonight. The most popular entry point for Lake Aloha is Echo Lake. Echo Lake to Echo Summit, Echo Lake There is ample parking above the marina and you even have the option of taking a water taxi across the echo lakes to cut off around 2.5 miles of the hike. Of course I had seen from afar it from Pyramid Peak, which is one of the reasons that I wanted to see it up close. This will never change. Surprisingly, the water was cool rather than ice cold despite the lake being a drainage for snowmelt. I knew I wanted to cover ground I hadn't seen before, so after studying my trusty map and reading some online trip reports, I decided I'd pitch my tent by Lake Aloha for both nights. This means people driving and wandering all over the place in a potentially destructive manner. STOP GEOTAGGING. There were also man made retaining walls, allegedly constructed sometime during the 1920/30s. I was pleased with being able to adapt using them rather than having to rely on rock climbing shoes. Lake Aloha Trail. I appreciate your concern for the increased tourism at Lake Tahoe, but you’re preaching to the choir. I should sleep well tonight. Elevation I’ve posted at the end of the story a map of our route and basic trail data and considerations from the backcountry adventure. I never really worry about theft from humans. And I encourage people to develop their own process of discovery when embarking on their outdoor adventure (adhering to the Leave No Trace Seven Principles). 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 real message I see in the busy Summers crowds at Lower Echo Lake is a good one. I couldn’t find many trip reports about this lake and what was the best way to get there. People are eager to have outdoor adventures and I fully support that. I do believe that many locations around the lake should be left out of guidebooks, but this isn’t because they’re my “secret.” Rather, it’s often because there are no established trailheads or trails for people to safely find and follow. There are eight of us in the group, including our instructor Rick. Never! You will climb for about 2-3 miles. I totally agree that abstinence is 100% effective, but I also know that it’s 100% unrealistic. I woke up at 5AM thinking we were all going to rise at first light, but I was alone. Total bush league on my part. . Backpacking Miles and Elevations, Echo Lake Chalet Backpacker Resupply Page, Approaching the Lower Echo Lake trailhead and Marina, Echo Lake Trailhead The taxi costs $12 round trip. In both classes, I learned new mountaineering skills, met good friends (one of which I still routinely maintain contact), and just developed a greater appreciation for my backyard. On Pyramid Peak, we snacked and took photos but didn’t linger very long. 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. After some real estate voyeurism, the trail begins to ascend some large, mellow switchbacks, climbing up towards the wilderness area. Once you're on the taxi, it will take you across Lower and Upper Echo Lake, which is approximately 2.5 miles, dropping you off at the Pacific Crest Trail. We reached its summit at about 12:30PM. Fortunately, Mathew packed enough water to share until reaching the next water source. Probably because we were there in late July. I also tend to push hard early on, and then taper off as the day or event progresses. Information board at the Echo Lake trailhead. I embrace the latter approach, which is one of the main reasons I created Tahoe Trail Guide in the first place. So, we basically tapped into a direct pipeline to miles of pristine wilderness.. We traveled roughly seven miles in four and a half hours. Unlike Aloha, which is filled with granite slabs from which to navigate without slipping, slimy rocks lined Tamarack Lake. A fee is charged for this service. The specific route from Echo Lakes to Emerald Bay is a standard and popular point-to-point backpacking route based on the convenient trailheads. Part of the Desolation Wilderness experience is observing trail culture at the Lower Echo Lake. Also, the frequent stops leave me exposed longer which seems to lead to a greater need to drink water. There’s no question that it’s good to have extra supplies, but I prefer to keep them at a minimum. Desolation Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Mgnt. I think this is a direct result of traveling in a group. However, we plan to take a day to hike up Pyramid Peak, and also take a side trip to the summit Dicks Peak. A friend drove me into the upper parking lot, which was packed with cars. 6 h 14 m. The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. I am so torn. Desolation Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Afterwards, we continued to push to the base of Eagle Lake Buttress for the remainder of the afternoon. You'll find complete information about planning a trip into the Desolation Wilderness on the Desolation Wilderness Permit Information page. A Forest Ranger stopped by after dinner. With what little light there is outside I can see their silhouettes flying around me. I don’t believe it was a symptom of altitude sickness, just general fatigue and dehydration. Trail distances are constantly changing as the trails are being regularly rerouted. But there the rubble was a result of years of extensive copper mining. The end of our Meeks Bay to Echo Lake trail segment is marked by our arrival at Echo Chalet. At which point we reached our first campsite on the southern side of Lake Aloha. All of his maps are very clean and easy to read. It really is more about technique than gear. The Echo Lake Chalet runs a Post Office, so Pacific Crest Trailers can send a well-timed resupply to themselves during the Summer. From there it was a quick jaunt down to the parking lot. I knew the Sierra Nevada Mountains existed well beyond the ridge line surrounding Lake Tahoe. And, that’s when many backcountry accidents occur. But we have panoramic views of the Crystal Range and Mosquito Pass. 0 miles to the Echo Lake Trailhead. drink nearly as much water as I should have. I wasn’t feeling exceptionally great. By the time the remaining group members negotiated the short climb, I finished my only quart of water. And by that same rationale, you must take issue with every guidebook that’s ever been written about any tourist location around the world. Today was another challenging, but exceptional day backpacking through Desolation Wilderness. The following is the journal that I kept during the trip. Not that I’m exceptionally fast when I hike, but I keep a quicker pace in order to minimize exposure. hard (768) Length: 13 mi • Est. Prior to leaving our Lake Aloha campsite this morning, I swam for about 30 minutes. Being in the group today was probably one of the contributing factors to my miscalculation of water needs. Basically, we needed to scramble down steep angles of scree. Trail nearing the South end of Lower Echo Lake. But the mosquitoes are so bad right now that I dare not open it up. So blowing up spots. Meeks Bay to Echo Summit But even though the trip took its toll on me, it was a total success. Check the map and hike the trail to verify my observation. The bleached granite stood out from the deep blue sky and lakes. In my 15+ years of living in Tahoe (half of that time working in the outdoor recreation industry), I’ve seen a dramatic increase in all aspects of tourism at Lake Tahoe. Situated on the southern end of Desolation Wilderness, Mount Ralston offers great south-facing and north-facing terrain. Unit. I appreciated their interest and including me in their conversation. Remember when wearing North Face mountain jackets in the city was "cool?" That said, Desolation Wilderness and the featured route hasn’t changed much since that time. Time to eat! Mathew and I, and one other hiker had negotiated the section by the time the rest of the crew reached the same spot. Lake Level: 7414' feet. So I swam mostly to avoid getting eaten alive. Echo Summit, North: Lower Echo Lake                                                                                   South: Echo Lake to Echo Summit. It’s no wonder, really, there are piles of snow melting directly into it! I choose to write about these locations because I find much of the available information about them (from those other sources) lack accurate detail. Then he combined both in Ziplocs. It is a step in the right direction for our idiot urban consumers, and is a step down the right trail of life for many city people. Lake Aloha seems appropriately situated for staging a base camp. The walls allowed the lake to retain more water than it naturally would. An interesting aspect about the short climb was that I accomplished it wearing my bomb proof Montrail Moraine mountaineering boots. While serving in the USMC, hiking in large groups was my biggest irritation. I wish I could fall asleep sitting here. This backpacking trip was going taking us on a modified route from Echo Lakes to Emerald Bay. Like most lakes in Desolation Wilderness, American Lake is accessible from a variety of trailheads depending on where you want to start, desired mileage, and elevation gain/loss. We still had miles to cover. However, it still could’ve yielded catastrophic results had one of us slipped or tripped. That was slow going because there was a section near the “Throne of Valhalla” that required some actual climbing. I’ve noticed that during this trip my water and calorie consumption has increased way beyond my norms. Last night’s sleep was less than ideal thanks to a small critter scurrying around me. 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