After some real estate voyeurism, the trail begins to ascend some large, mellow switchbacks, climbing up towards the wilderness area. Provide appropriate information regarding their proposed endeavor so that they can plan and prepare accordingly (and not become a drain on local emergency services or destroy sensitive lands). A stout climb to say the least! Nature, and backpacking are ultimately what we make out of it. Period. People tend to check out after they complete the hard parts. We decided to enter from the Echo Lakes trailhead at Echo Summit. Pyramid Peak Above Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha Key Data. I don’t believe it was a symptom of altitude sickness, just general fatigue and dehydration. Lake Aloha is in the Desolation Wilderness to the south-west of Lake Tahoe. We arrived at 7 am on a Monday and the lot was a little more than half full. And, there were multiple granite ledges from which to swim and relax. Before I realized how bad the mosquitoes were, I had already dismantled my tent. When working in groups, this isn’t always possible, so learning to adapt is what I contemplated during today’s hike. Trail description: The trail to Lake of the Woods begins at lower Echo lake which is one of the starting points for hikes into Desolation Wilderness. You'll need to self-issue a permit for day-use in Desolation Wilderness at the trailhead. We reached its summit at about 12:30PM. After returning to Lake Aloha , we grabbed our (undisturbed!) This 4-day backpacking adventure through Desolation Wilderness was the second half of the mountaineering course. Hey, I think it is good that backpacking is stylish, and valued by a significant segment of consumers. On our way down from Pyramid Peak there was a massive swath of snow that enabled us to glissade down. ... Desolation Wilderness Hiking. The pain eventually subsided thanks in part to being able to swim a couple of times. Always consult multiple sources when venturing into the backcountry. There are a plethora of alpine lakes althis trail head and many backcountry hikes into some of the most picturesque areas in the Sierras. One member of our group said that Lake Aloha acts as a reservoir and collects the surrounding snow melt. We rest twice as much (as I would if I were alone), so I eat and drink twice as much! Mostly because we didn’t use ropes and hadn’t truly considered the consequences. However, it still could’ve yielded catastrophic results had one of us slipped or tripped. Realistically, tourists have been running roughshod across Lake Tahoe since the early to mid-1800s. On Pyramid Peak, we snacked and took photos but didn’t linger very long. Once we arrived, we staged our gear, took a quick break, and then planned a route up the buttress. No matter how much I’d love to have the backcountry all to myself, I fully support the fact that public land is for everyone. Aspects of the trail leading to the peak were steep, but nothing too technical. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Although I encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone, you need to know your limits and when to turn back. If you're in Tahoe, There's definitely snow in the upper elevations, b, Jared Manninen’s Cross-Country Skiing VLOG, Lake Tahoe Community College’s wilderness education program, Tom Harrison’s Map of Desolation Wilderness, there’s a 5,000+ raging wildfire burning in the Carson Valley, Desolation Wilderness was besieged by an arsonist, Hiking Winnemucca Lake (via Carson Pass in South Tahoe), Jared "Schoolboy" Manninen - Tahoe Trail Guide, North Lake Tahoe XC Skiing and Snowshoeing, South Lake Tahoe XC Skiing and Snowshoeing, East Lake Tahoe XC Skiing and Snowshoeing, West Lake Tahoe XC Skiing and Snowshoeing, All Tahoe Trail Guide Articles (published chronologically), XC Skiing Explained (Part 4): Classic Cross-Country Ski Bindings, Snowshoeing on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, Cross-Country Skiing on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, Snowshoeing Basics: Overview of Modern Snowshoes, Waxing Your “Waxless” Cross-Country Skis: Introduction, Trail Conditions: Variable conditions ranging from hard-packed sand to boulder and scree fields, Do yourself, and everyone else, a favor and, There are few trail signs and markers on public lands in the Tahoe region, so unless there are tracks to follow, the correct route may be difficult to identify–. I could enjoy the company of other backpackers and hikers, rather than be swept away by them. Quite the chef. 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. I wasn’t a huge fan of the experience, however. Tahoe Trail Guide and its contributors are not liable for property loss or damage, personal injury, or death. 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. The Echo Lake Chalet runs a Post Office, so Pacific Crest Trailers can send a well-timed resupply to themselves during the Summer. I appreciate your concern for the increased tourism at Lake Tahoe, but you’re preaching to the choir. 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). The bottom line is that if people don’t believe they’re allowed to recreate on public land, they have no vested interest in preserving or conserving it. From here hikers were enjoying sweeping views of the lower elevation lakes they just passed. This is usually not the case! Trail nearing the South end of Lower Echo Lake. 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. (This seems to be a bit of a theme this summer!) The Hike: Day 1. We’ve managed, however, to have enough food. Contact the Echo Lakes Chalet for more information: (530) 659-7207. 0 miles to the Echo Lake Trailhead. I never really worry about theft from humans. I found it amusing when North Face jackets became "cool." 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. I have Lake Aloha at 6.13 miles to the trail junction at the South end, and Dicks Pass at 11.88. Starting at the Bayview Campground off of HWY 89, the hike to Dick’s Lake begins at a consistent incline. You will climb for about 2-3 miles. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. I should sleep well tonight. With the permit in hand, the hike starts steadily 3.5 mile climb to the east side of Lake Aloha. Echo Lakes to Susie lake via Lake Aloha. Once Rick arrived, he placed a fixed line for people to rappel using the Dulfersitz method. Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. This means packing out all your trash and camp at least 100 feet from any lake … Tomorrow’s plan is to leave our gear at Lake Aloha and then hike to Pyramid Peak. drink nearly as much water as I should have. Afterwards, we continued to push to the base of Eagle Lake Buttress for the remainder of the afternoon. The Desolation Wilderness is by far the most popular destination for backpackers in the Echo Summit area, which is why the wilderness has among the strictest permit regulations in California. While serving in the USMC, hiking in large groups was my biggest irritation. This backpacking expedition into the raw backcountry of Desolation Wilderness made for many unforgettable experiences. After setting up camp, I dove into Lake Le Conte. Today I remembered how frustrated I usually am when traveling in a group! When I returned, it was in mid-September, when the massive crowds had diminished to a trickle of backpackers. The Lower Echo Lake trail head is the main trail head for the Desolation Wilderness. Consider taking the water taxi (in season roughly July through Labor Day weekend) to make this journey shorter and easier. Pacific Crest-Tahoe to Yosemite Trails cross the Echo Lake Dam. Echo Lake Chalet Resupply Service. Begin walking on the paved path (next to the water taxi dock and Echo Chalet). So, he bought dehydrated black bean soup and red beans and rice soup. Usually I bring way too much food that I end up hiking excess food out of the field. Then, you could continue on down the trail to Emerald Bay. That's an excellent trend. I’ve maintained a robust journal ever since thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. So, this issue is far bigger than Lake Tahoe. Mileage We took a short break on hill 9,686 and then proceeded to traverse the ridgeline leading to Pyramid Peak. On the Appalachian Trail, thru-hikers usually hike by themselves for this very reason. The last time I was here was over 10 years ago. Lake Aloha Trail. The small peninsula in which we tented was surrounded by small pools and pockets of water. It sounds like the others are beginning to prepare dinner. The the trail signs, on the other hand, don't change very often. Besides, we had the rope so it really wasn’t a big deal to tie up. I woke up at 5AM thinking we were all going to rise at first light, but I was alone. Surprisingly, the water was cool rather than ice cold despite the lake being a drainage for snowmelt. 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. Echo Lake Chalet, You can also easily hitch hike down to South Lake Tahoe for rest and resupply, Backpacking Topo Map: Echo Lake North               Backpacking Topo Map: Echo Lake South, Southbound We performed gear checks and shuttled our cars between the exit and entry points. 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. 28.71 miles South from the Meeks Bay Trailhead. A friend drove me into the upper parking lot, which was packed with cars. Dogs are allowed, but keep them on leash and pick up after them. 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). 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. Mathew couldn’t find any bulk dehydrated refried beans before the trip. This is always nerve-racking and difficult, especially when it’s the last major obstacle to overcome. I’ve noticed that during this trip my water and calorie consumption has increased way beyond my norms. Backpacking Miles and Elevations, Echo Lake Chalet Backpacker Resupply Page, Approaching the Lower Echo Lake trailhead and Marina, Echo Lake Trailhead You could easily hike the Pacific Crest Trail/Tahoe Rim Trail north to an intersection just past Dick’s Lake. North: Echo Lake 2                                                                                   South: Echo Lake to Echo Summit. Everyone except Mathew, who I befriended in the first half of the mountaineering course, is older than I. No matter. ALWAYS Double-Check your (and my) mileages. Your ultimate Lake Aloha hiking guide for Desolation Wilderness near Tahoe, both for day hikes and backpacking trips, from a local! 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. Unit. Your safety is your responsibility. 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. From Echo Lake this is about an 8 mile hike with minimal elevation gain - less than 1000 feet. Descending Dicks Peak was especially difficult due to the loose stuff. Alternatively, I could make the trek up beside the cascade, then cut over past Lake of the Woods and exit at Echo Lake. And by that same rationale, you must take issue with every guidebook that’s ever been written about any tourist location around the world. With minimal elevation gain and the luxury of a water taxi to shave miles off your hike, campsites in Desolation Wilderness can be as close as 1.5 miles away from the Echo Lakes trailhead… 28.71 miles South from the Meeks Bay Trailhead. Once we started hiking, I was amazed by the stark contrasts. I choose to write about these locations because I find much of the available information about them (from those other sources) lack accurate detail. There’s no question that it’s good to have extra supplies, but I prefer to keep them at a minimum. But, we still had miles to cover before completing our journey. During the winter months, most of the trailheads are covered by snow and are not accessible. We began our hike to hill 9,686 (simply referred to by its elevation) at 9AM. But Lower Velma Lake was stunning and offered cool, refreshing water. The majority of Desolation’s roughly 80 named lakes are within a day hike from any trailhead, with ample vistas of sharp granite peaks, lush meadows, and old growth forest in abundance. Feb 12, 2018 - #DesolationWilderness is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the United States. Last night’s sleep was less than ideal thanks to a small critter scurrying around me. The early morning swim was a fantastic way to start the day. The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. Mount Ralston is the largest peak on a long ridgeline that runs from Lower Echo Lake to Lake of the Woods. I knew the Sierra Nevada Mountains existed well beyond the ridge line surrounding Lake Tahoe. Situated on the southern end of Desolation Wilderness, Mount Ralston offers great south-facing and north-facing terrain. 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. Information board at the Echo Lake trailhead. We bushwhacked our way to Lower Velma Lake early thanks to our alpine start of 6AM. It’s no wonder, really, there are piles of snow melting directly into it! There’s just so much more downtime. But, then again, that’s the whole point of designating a geographic location as a wilderness area. We summited Dick’s Peak early in the day. Desolation Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Mgnt. Rather, your gear becomes a prime target for critters, which can easily chew their way through your stuff. South L…, CA. Before you start this hike make sure you have an overnight wilderness permit. Desolation Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. There were also man made retaining walls, allegedly constructed sometime during the 1920/30s. Mathew and I, and one other hiker had negotiated the section by the time the rest of the crew reached the same spot. I was pleased with being able to adapt using them rather than having to rely on rock climbing shoes. Permits are required year-round to backpack and day hike in the Desolation Wilderness. However, the bugs came out in full force as soon as the sun set. For all of your Desolation Wilderness excursions, I highly recommend using Tom Harrison’s Map of Desolation Wilderness. Tahoe Trail Guide copyright © 2016-2020 by Jared Manninen. In this case, it wasn’t the most difficult of climbs and it was a relatively short distance. But even though the trip took its toll on me, it was a total success. 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! 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Water, and backpacking are ultimately what we make out of the afternoon and the Crystal Range the! 100 % unrealistic, Bayview, Eagle Lake safely but that feeling also can cause you to out. Everything basically remains untouched missing one dinner since that person was responsible for bringing one people and. Segment of consumers a greater need to self-issue a permit for day-use in Desolation Wilderness constantly changing the! Hiking in large groups was my biggest irritation weather the whole weekend of traveling in a potentially destructive manner Lake... When to turn back dock and Echo Chalet event progresses and hitchhike six back. Reaching the next water source hiker ’ s Lake early in the area has been a long since.