Popular wilderness ages well under the eye of devoted stewards . Desolation is a relative term. For whatever reason, I never sleep well the first night I’m up at altitude. We followed the Tamarack Trail all the way back to the PCT. Once we were out of the thick forest, navigation became easier. Saved from healthnuthayley.com. The lingering snow on the surrounding mountains made for some stunning scenery. I was glad to hear your Yosemite trips are happening. 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. This is one of my favorite moments from a trip with my dad and my pup. Unlike all the other trails we’d been on, the Tamarack Trail wasn’t graded for equestrian use. Starting at the Bayview Campground off of HWY 89, the hike to Dick’s Lake begins at a consistent incline. We laid down on the sunny rocks for a while to let our shoes dry out. 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. At waterfall camp, you'll have the opportunity to explore over 50 waterfalls. Day 1: PCT / TRT to Tamarack Lake – Lake Aloha – Heather Lake, Susie Lake. 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. This was our first time backpacking Desolation Wilderness in South Tahoe and we absolutely loved it! This is Heather Lake in the Desolation Wilderness located outside of Lake Tahoe, CA. Desolation Wilderness, California. 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. Its a strenuous but beautiful journey. Details: Middle Velma Lake – Desolation Wilderness. Follow the PCT past Lake Aloha, Heather Lake and Susie Lake. 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. You will need to walk the extra distance to the trailhead. Trip Overview: ~12 mile relaxing backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness. The sun hit our campsite as we made breakfast, forcing us to shed layers down to shorts within minutes. We took a long lunch break at Tamarack Lake. 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. We took advantage of the situation by using the restrooms at the trailhead, then quickly continued. Philip Werner 4000 Footers, Backpacking Trips, Trip Reports, White Mountains. He had to use rocks to set it up for the rest of the night. Desolation Wilderness 30 minute Backpacking Map: Meeks Bay to Echo Summit Backpacking Miles and Elevations. 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. You will climb for about 2-3 miles. This is a great overnight backpacking trip that features some of the best of Desolation Wilderness. Initially, we thought he must have been mistaken as the path was in good shape and even had a new trail sign. Route Name: Bayview Trailhead Location: South Lake Tahoe, California Duration: 3 days minimum Length:22 km / 13.8 miles 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. The Wilderness sits on the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountain’s Crystal Range, west of Lake Tahoe, and north of Highway 50. Even on a Thursday morning, we met a constant stream of other hikers out enjoying the early summer weather. The trail starts climbing in earnest after the upper Echo Lake. This trail offers great views with a variety of terrains. This trip can easily be extended to an overnight backpacking trip with a stay near Lake Aloha. Pemigewasset Wilderness Sign. Read more. Using some rocks and sleeping pads to block the wind, we were able to get some water boiled for a nice, warm dinner. 6 h 14 m. The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. The night was surprisingly warm. The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. We found two somewhat sheltered spots for our shelters and set them up before starting to make dinner. We navigated down the patchy snow and small meltwater streams without issue. A list of other trailheads that provide access to the wilderness follows. Desolation Wilderness is one of the largest wilderness areas near Lake Tahoe at almost 64,000 acres. #6 - Lake Aloha via Glen Alpine Trailhead. 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. Backpack to this secluded destination that's hidden from most of the traffic in Desolation Wilderness. We cooked dinner by the lakeshore, watching the light fade. August 2, 2020. My friend’s tarp caught a gust, and two of his stakes flew out in the dark forest. 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. Backpacking Desolation Wilderness ABOVE : Last light lingers in the high country around Dick’s Lake. 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. This 4-day backpacking adventure through Desolation Wilderness was the second half of the mountaineering course. Backpacking: Desolation Wilderness ... Backpacking: Desolation Wilderness. 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. A few seconds later, the gust hit the tent like a semi-truck. Take the Glen Alpine Trail back to Fallen Leaf. Some of the lakes also contain rainbows or brown trout, and even a few golden trout, our California state fish. A practical application of the lessons learned in the first class, so to speak. This Desolation Wilderness backpacking hike will take you through 12+ miles of beautiful scenery and alpine lakes! Lake Aloha via Rockbound Pass – Desolation Wilderness (38 mile loop) Trip Overview: ~38 mile backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness near South Lake Tahoe. #10 - Maggie's Peak, Eagle Lake, Granite Lake Loop. We’d been woken up several times by strong wind gusts. ... to backpacking in the wild places on earth - where people are few, cell signal is nil, and Mother Nature still reigns. As with most backpacking destinations, you’ll need to secure a wilderness permit for any overnight stays in Desolation Wilderness. This means packing out all your trash … Near the densely-populated city of South Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County lies the strikingly beautiful Desolation Wilderness area. The morning was cold and windy. Eagle Lake trail is one of our favorites. This 12 mile loop starts at the Fallen Leaf Lake Tamarack Trail Head and intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail. After our short break, we continued on toward our campsite for the night. 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. From the top of the pass, we still had a little over a mile to our campsite. comments. +/- 3,000 feet of elevation with a starting elevation of 6,970 feet and a peak elevation of 9,660 feet. 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're looking for a real adventure, you can try turning this loop into a day hike. Day two stats: 9.1 miles. In order to protect its unique beauty and wilderness character, human access is limited and certain activities are restricted in the Desolation. Hiking in Desolation Wilderness. 1,560 ft elevation gain. The trail follows the eastern shore of the Echo Lakes, high above lakeside cabins. Thanks Andrew! Start at Echo Lakes Trailhead. My tent held up ok, although I did tighten the lines once. We stopped for lunch halfway through the climb. We could see Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe behind us, with tall mountains on either side. 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. Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the country. We had a quick breakfast before we started hiking back to the car. The cold wind made us retreat into the relative warmth of our tents before the sun had fully set. The geography changed as we started descending toward Heather Lake. We packed up and headed out. Good trip, glad you were able to get out. Harbors brook and brown trout and provides million-dollar sensations of owning your very own lake. GROUP SIZE The Tahoe Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail pass through the wilderness. The rocky shore always reminds me of the Finnish outer archipelago with its low vegetation and stunted pines. My first solo backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness of Eldorado National Forest near Lake Tahoe, California. Desolation is a popular backpacking destination, with much barren rocky terrain at the edge of the tree line. My friend Joonas and I had been planning an early June hiking trip to Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite. hard (768) Length: 13 mi • Est. Lake Aloha is striking in the spring. Initially, we were in a thick forest, but soon enough, the views started opening up. Day three stats: 4.1 miles. We could already see the opposite side of the valley that we would be climbing to get back to Desolation. 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. As we got higher, we started getting a great view of the lakes below us. The gray granite gave way to dark black and red-tinted rock. Not exactly the wilderness experience we had the previous night, but it would do. 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. Even with the breeze, the air was pleasantly warm, especially considering it was early June. We only broke through in a few places where the melting water had created snow bridges. 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 backpacking, Fontanillis and Dicks Lake are both in the same Desolation Wilderness zone - #23. From the PCT intersection, we only had a short 20 minute downhill stroll to get to our campsite. The fires and smoke are vividly described in early versions of the AMC White Mountain Guide and other regional … Highlights include alpine lakes, granite peaks, and expansive views of Desolation Wilderness. 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. There were already more than 10 tents spread around the wooded area on the east side of the lake. After taking a couple pictures at the dam by the outlet of Echo Lake, we headed out. Desolation Wilderness is one of the most popular wilderness areas in the nation. It's bounded by logging roads and operations to the north and west, Lake Tahoe to the east, and US 50 to the south. Aug 31, 2016 - I would definitely recommend this backpacking trip for anyone who is an experienced hiker and is in shape. It is an extremely popular hiking destination in California and boasts a number of attractive trails, including the Middle Velma Lake … The wind was still for minutes, then all of a sudden, you could hear the wind pick up in the treetops. Desolation Wilderness is absolutely stunning and I almost don’t even wanna write this post about it because it’s so precious and pristine. But soon enough, the trail turned into a serious bushwhack through willow and alder thickets. We arrived at the trailhead a bit before 11 and got our gear … Elevation Gain: 2100 Feet. It was significantly steeper and even required us to use our hands to climb at times. 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. 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. #1 - Lake Aloha Trail. We tried to secure our shelters the best we could, hoping they’d hold up during the night. This loop traverses over Rockbound Pass and Dicks Pass on its way to the beautiful Lake Aloha. 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. Trail Head At: Bayview Trailhead Campground, South Lake Tahoe. West Linn 380 contributions 93 helpful votes +1. It felt odd being back in civilization in the middle of a hike. The sun even came out as we approached the car. This wood caught fire and burned uncontrollably for years, casting black smoke clouds over the entire White Mountain region and polluting the watersheds. The Value of Reflective Water Pain, Beauty, Life The beauty around Lake Genevieve reflecting off its still morning surface is striking. Unfortunately for us, they opened for backpacking on the 5th, which meant we needed to find an alternate trip. It can be difficult to find solitude, especially if you’re hiking to Lake Aloha or up Pyramid Peak on a summer weekend. Warmer than most summer nights in the mountains. Trails in Desolation Wilderness - 30 Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Although this hike can be done as a … Day one stats: 10.6 miles. 570 ft elevation gain. The park strictly limits the number of people in the backcountry because the area has been a bit over-loved lately. We didn’t mind a bit of snow, but we didn’t want it to be the dominating part of the adventure. 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 & … 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. Trailhead approximate address: Fallen Leaf Lake, Glen Alpine Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, #9 - Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop. 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. We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine lake dotted with fir … Length : 10 Miles. During the winter months, most of the trailheads are covered by snow and are not accessible. If you decide to go, please practice Leave No Trace. Backpacking the Desolation Loop in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. After a short while on the PCT, we turned right and headed down toward Glen Alpine. Plenty of hiking trails; some to waterfalls and others to great views of Lake Tahoe. 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. Mike L wrote a review Sep 2017. Lake Aloha Trail. Desolation has so many good overnight backpacking options with several options from each trailhead and even multiple trailhead options for the same camping destination. I hope you’re also able to get out and enjoy the Rockies in your back yard. 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. 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