Not that I’m exceptionally fast when I hike, but I keep a quicker pace in order to minimize exposure. This would be Alex’s first backpacking trip and he hadn’t really trained, so we planned to keep the trip very easy. 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. We had a glorious evening at Lake Aloha and perfect hiking weather the whole weekend. Desolation Wilderness. Also, the frequent stops leave me exposed longer which seems to lead to a greater need to drink water. I was pleased with being able to adapt using them rather than having to rely on rock climbing shoes. So much so that we decided to stop short of our scheduled destination. Part of the Desolation Wilderness experience is observing trail culture at the Lower Echo Lake. We rest twice as much (as I would if I were alone), so I eat and drink twice as much! The crux of today’s route was definitely Eagle Lake Buttress. I feel so much better now that I’ve eaten and had a chance to genuinely relax. And, that’s when many backcountry accidents occur. Fortunately the views were stunning. A Forest Ranger stopped by after dinner. Time to eat! Though we departed the Desolation Wilderness boundary North of Upper Echo Lake, the Desolation Wilderness experience is not officially over until we hike through the Lower Echo Lake trailhead and Echo Chalet. The reason is that the Echo Lake Chalet is only 27.71 miles South from Meeks Bay trail head, and another 38.81 miles South to the Lake Alpine Lodge from Echo Chalet. No matter. The end of our Meeks Bay to Echo Lake trail segment is marked by our arrival at Echo Chalet. Keeping people out doesn’t work, and it’s totally egocentric … “go ahead and shut the door behind me because I made it in.”. 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. But there the rubble was a result of years of extensive copper mining. Lake Level: 7414' feet. Hey, I think it is good that backpacking is stylish, and valued by a significant segment of consumers. Never! Prior to leaving our Lake Aloha campsite this morning, I swam for about 30 minutes. Instead of wasting time, energy, and valuable resources on trying to keep people out, I’d much rather work toward encouraging people to develop a healthy love for the outdoors. I considered cowboy camping tonight. 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. I could enjoy the company of other backpackers and hikers, rather than be swept away by them. Usually I bring way too much food that I end up hiking excess food out of the field. This means people driving and wandering all over the place in a potentially destructive manner. I wasn’t a huge fan of the experience, however. Check the map and hike the trail to verify my observation. A relatively easy ascent of the peak provides spectacular views of Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Range. Your safety is your responsibility. Your Online Resource for Hiking, Backpacking, Cross-Country Skiing, and Snowshoeing at Lake Tahoe. At Echo Lakes there is a boat taxi operated in the summer by Echo Lakes Resort cuts three miles off your trip. That's an excellent trend. The small peninsula in which we tented was surrounded by small pools and pockets of water. Feb 12, 2018 - #DesolationWilderness is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the United States. (This seems to be a bit of a theme this summer!) Price. note 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. Experiencing the quiet of Fall in the Desolation Wilderness has changed my mind about Desolation. 28.71 miles South from the Meeks Bay Trailhead. Not that you will see me there in mid-Summer, but I'm going to start visiting Desolation again, but only during Fall and Spring before the big crowds form up. When working in groups, this isn’t always possible, so learning to adapt is what I contemplated during today’s hike. It is located west of Lake Tahoe and north of Highway 50 in El Dorado County. Mount Ralston is the largest peak on a long ridgeline that runs from Lower Echo Lake to Lake of the Woods. So, we were operating on the idea that we would be missing one dinner since that person was responsible for bringing one. I found it amusing when North Face jackets became "cool." 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… Directly behind us is the actual lake, which is small but deep and frigid. From there it was a quick jaunt down to the parking lot. We summited Dick’s Peak early in the day. Rinsing off before calling it a night always helps me relax and sleep more soundly. This 4-day backpacking adventure through Desolation Wilderness was the second half of the mountaineering course. If you decide to go, please practice Leave No Trace. We decided to enter from the Echo Lakes trailhead at Echo Summit. On Pyramid Peak, we snacked and took photos but didn’t linger very long. The area where we camped reminded me of a day spa. A stout climb to say the least! The following is the journal that I kept during the trip. You could easily hike the Pacific Crest Trail/Tahoe Rim Trail north to an intersection just past Dick’s Lake. At this point I only have a few snacks left for tomorrow. Desolation Wilderness was nicknamed “Destination” Wilderness long before I ever moved here. Mileage sign at Echo Lake trailhead states: Aloha Lake 5 miles. And, the rich green needles of Jeffery Pines and old, gnarled Junipers provided even more visual contrasts. So, we basically tapped into a direct pipeline to miles of pristine wilderness.. We traveled roughly seven miles in four and a half hours. We still had miles to cover. STOP GEOTAGGING. Everyone except Mathew, who I befriended in the first half of the mountaineering course, is older than I. I’m not sure what the deal is, but I feel like I haven’t much left to say. I appreciate your concern for the increased tourism at Lake Tahoe, but you’re preaching to the choir. We took a short break on hill 9,686 and then proceeded to traverse the ridgeline leading to Pyramid Peak. So, I provide accurate information so that people can make appropriate decisions about recreating outdoors at Lake Tahoe. Contact the Echo Lakes Chalet for more information: (530) 659-7207. We’ve managed, however, to have enough food. As far as food goes, this trip has worked out perfectly. Desolation Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. There are a plethora of alpine lakes althis trail head and many backcountry hikes into some of the most picturesque areas in the Sierras. After returning to Lake Aloha , we grabbed our (undisturbed!) Then, we made our way to the trailhead at Lower Echo Lake, which is on the southeast end of Desolation Wilderness. However, we plan to take a day to hike up Pyramid Peak, and also take a side trip to the summit Dicks Peak. Old time locals have been preaching abstinence for decades, similar to what you’re proposing (stay away, there’s nothing to see here). Other urbanites use wilderness backpacking as a lifeline from nature to protect their sanity from the degradations of the Urban Consumer Life they are stuck within. 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. I embrace the latter approach, which is one of the main reasons I created Tahoe Trail Guide in the first place. He cooked the mixture with slightly less water so that the paste was thick enough to spread over the tortillas. Starting at the Bayview Campground off of HWY 89, the hike to Dick’s Lake begins at a consistent incline. #1 - Lake Aloha Trail. In this case, it wasn’t the most difficult of climbs and it was a relatively short distance. The last time I was here was over 10 years ago. Thousands of backpackers travel along the Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail through Desolation Wilderness every year. Today was another challenging, but exceptional day backpacking through Desolation Wilderness. 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. Tahoe Trail Guide copyright © 2016-2020 by Jared Manninen. This is one of the more popular trails in the area, so expect to share it! We moved slowly toward our way to the base of the buttress. This was because the ascent was steep and the underbrush was thick. South L…, CA. Today it seemed like I didn’t (again!) All rights reserved. I knew the Sierra Nevada Mountains existed well beyond the ridge line surrounding Lake Tahoe. ... Pyramid Peak, 9984', highest in Desolation Wilderness. Visit the forest service website for more information about acquiring permits. The Echo Lake Chalet runs a Post Office, so Pacific Crest Trailers can send a well-timed resupply to themselves during the Summer. Mathew couldn’t find any bulk dehydrated refried beans before the trip. Essentially, there are two diametrically opposed schools of thought regarding over-tourism: 1) impose martial law and keep everyone out; 2) or, let everyone in but with the appropriate information and education. Situated on the southern end of Desolation Wilderness, Mount Ralston offers great south-facing and north-facing terrain. 90% were wearing brand new backpacking clothes, and had the latest gear, all virtually unused. ... To start our trip, we parked at Lower Echo Lake. 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. A beautiful hike around both the Echo Lakes lead to the heart of the Desolation Wilderness and Lake Aloha. The Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail use the same path through Desolation Wilderness. I was most annoyed on company or battalion level “forced marches.” Since everyone has their own rhythm and pace, it’s just so challenging to keep everyone organized. After setting up camp, I dove into Lake Le Conte. 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. Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha 12.8 mi 20.7 km • 1,434' Up 437.09 m Up • 1,436' Down 437.71 m Down. For all of your Desolation Wilderness excursions, I highly recommend using Tom Harrison’s Map of Desolation Wilderness. Once we started hiking, I was amazed by the stark contrasts. You need to get there early in the day, as there are a limited number of parking spots and may day hikers park here. But since I moved to Lake Tahoe last year (2005), I’ve been more interested in listening than speaking. Lake Aloha seems appropriately situated for staging a base camp. With the permit in hand, the hike starts steadily 3.5 mile climb to the east side of Lake Aloha. Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Nature, and backpacking are ultimately what we make out of it. And by the time the trip was over, I was exhausted. This is incorrect according to my measurements and experience. I also wanted to point out the fact that there are actual mountaineering classes (offered at Lake Tahoe Community College) that people can take in order to learn about backpacking and backcountry safety. 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 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. And by that same rationale, you must take issue with every guidebook that’s ever been written about any tourist location around the world. Fortunately, Mathew packed enough water to share until reaching the next water source. So glad I set up the tent. 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 The Lower Echo Lake Trailhead is the main trailhead for the Desolation Wilderness. My face took a beating from the sun since we spent much of the day on Eagle Lake Buttress. The descent from the buttress was as difficult as anything we did during the past three days. 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! This will never change. However, the bugs came out in full force as soon as the sun set. The other option of saving public land is akin to contraception in that you promote education and mitigation of risk. Unlike Aloha, which is filled with granite slabs from which to navigate without slipping, slimy rocks lined Tamarack Lake. 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. Rick knew her so she stuck around to chat. Teach people how to recreate responsibly so that they don’t “love the place to death.” Show them where they should park and travel so that they don’t disrupt locals and their neighborhoods, for example. After some real estate voyeurism, the trail begins to ascend some large, mellow switchbacks, climbing up towards the wilderness area. Then he combined both in Ziplocs. People are eager to have outdoor adventures and I fully support that. I knew I wouldn’t fall, but I still didn’t feel confident enough in my skills to do the ascent unaided. I totally agree that abstinence is 100% effective, but I also know that it’s 100% unrealistic. When I sit upright, the cool evening breeze soothes my skin. We arrived at 7 am on a Monday and the lot was a little more than half full. It felt like I spent half the night shooing it away with my trekking poles. You'll need to self-issue a permit for day-use in Desolation Wilderness at the trailhead. And, there were multiple granite ledges from which to swim and relax. But Lower Velma Lake was stunning and offered cool, refreshing water. Basically, we needed to scramble down steep angles of scree. The walls allowed the lake to retain more water than it naturally would. There are eight of us in the group, including our instructor Rick. I am so torn. It looks majestic from a distance so I knew it would be special to visit it directly. I woke up at 5AM thinking we were all going to rise at first light, but I was alone. Besides, we had the rope so it really wasn’t a big deal to tie up. Hiking through Desolation Wilderness. I moved to Lake Tahoe in the fall of 2005, so I took this backpacking trip in the summer of 2006. 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). Per the Associates Program Operating Agreement I must disclose the following statement: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window), Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness: Echo Lakes to Emerald Bay (Trail Journal & Data), I hiked all through the mountains and forests toda, I barely had time to raise my camera (hence the sl, The Tahoe Big Year is underway! Pyramid Peak is, literally, visible from most locations in South Lake Tahoe. The #tahoerimtrail and #pacificcrestrail travel directly through. During my first summer of living at Lake Tahoe I took a mountaineering course offered through Lake Tahoe Community College’s wilderness education program. On the Appalachian Trail, thru-hikers usually hike by themselves for this very reason. So, he bought dehydrated black bean soup and red beans and rice soup. Always consult multiple sources when venturing into the backcountry. 28.71 miles South from the Meeks Bay Trailhead. It was fun to watch and caused me to reevaluate the route we three had taken. Lake Aloha Trail. While serving in the USMC, hiking in large groups was my biggest irritation. 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). After that, it would be necessary to utilize the boat taxi and hitchhike six miles back to the car. A practical application of the lessons learned in the first class, so to speak. Echo Lake to Echo Summit, Echo Lake And, I believe most of the guys are married. to Meeks Bay to Echo Summit Elevation My ankles definitely got a workout. The course was a fantastic way in which to learn more about the new outdoor playground that I found myself living in. However, for the past couple of years I’ve grown bored of talking about myself. I should sleep well tonight. But, we still had miles to cover before completing our journey. Before I realized how bad the mosquitoes were, I had already dismantled my tent. This is usually not the case! Once we arrived, we staged our gear, took a quick break, and then planned a route up the buttress. Afterwards, we continued to push to the base of Eagle Lake Buttress for the remainder of the afternoon. And instead of tenting tonight, I’ll be sleeping under the stars. Pyramid Peak Above Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha Key Data. Arriving late in Fall, it was closed for the season. 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. Distance: 11.3 miles roundtrip Difficulty: Moderate Type: Day hike or 2- to 3-day backpacking trip Elevation gain: 2200 feet feet High point: 8350 feet Season: July to October, or earlier in years with low snowfall Contact: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit A handful of people free climbed the 5.7 pitch. We meet up at rest stops and campsites, but we nearly always hike by ourselves and at our own pace. Surprisingly, the water was cool rather than ice cold despite the lake being a drainage for snowmelt. We performed gear checks and shuttled our cars between the exit and entry points. The early morning swim was a fantastic way to start the day. The Lower Echo Lake trail head is the main trail head for the Desolation Wilderness. However, this time I chose to be on belay (using a bowline on a coil) while I climbed. A friend drove me into the upper parking lot, which was packed with cars. The 63,000 acre Desolation Wilderness situated just West of Lake Tahoe is a hiker’s paradise. From here hikers were enjoying sweeping views of the lower elevation lakes they just passed. 2.00 miles South to Echo Summit Trailhead. I looked at the beauty of the rock, water, and trail, and lamented the ocean of people who covered them. Mileage Consider taking the water taxi (in season roughly July through Labor Day weekend) to make this journey shorter and easier. The Echo Lake Chalet is an important resupply point for Northbound backpackers on the Pacific Crest Trail, though it is not as important for Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite hikers. At that point in my life I was not taking pictures, films, or writing a trail guide. We arrived at the trailhead a bit before 11 and got our gear … A lake house built atop bare rock along Lower Echo Lake en route to Lake Aloha in the Desolation wilderness. 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. I never really worry about theft from humans. We reached its summit at about 12:30PM. Information board at the Echo Lake trailhead. The Hike: Day 1. Welcome to Desolation Wilderness, 63,960 acres of sub-alpine and alpine forest, granite peaks, and glacially-formed valleys and lakes. I’ve noticed that during this trip my water and calorie consumption has increased way beyond my norms. By the time the remaining group members negotiated the short climb, I finished my only quart of water. I wasn’t feeling exceptionally great. However, I never realized just how accessible everything was and how beautiful it all could be. From there, you could embark on any number of day hikes. 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. I have Lake Aloha at 6.13 miles to the trail junction at the South end, and Dicks Pass at 11.88. During our 3 day trip, we also hiked up to the summit of Mt. I don’t believe it was a symptom of altitude sickness, just general fatigue and dehydration. 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… During the winter months, most of the trailheads are covered by snow and are not accessible. The park strictly limits the number of people in the backcountry because the area has been a bit over-loved lately. Total bush league on my part. All of his maps are very clean and easy to read. Although I encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone, you need to know your limits and when to turn back. That was slow going because there was a section near the “Throne of Valhalla” that required some actual climbing. So blowing up spots. Lake Aloha Trail is a 13 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Echo Lake, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. Mostly because we didn’t use ropes and hadn’t truly considered the consequences. I know the direct benefits of recreating on public land and encourage others to embrace it as well. Lake Aloha is in the Desolation Wilderness to the south-west of Lake Tahoe. That was right around noon. On our way down from Pyramid Peak there was a massive swath of snow that enabled us to glissade down. Part of the Desolation Wilderness experience is observing trail culture at the Lower Echo Lake. Echo Lake Chalet Resupply Service. I’ve posted at the end of the story a map of our route and basic trail data and considerations from the backcountry adventure. Quite the chef. The Echo Lake Chalet is an important resupply point for Northbound backpackers on the Pacific Crest Trail, though it is not as important for Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite hikers. Today I remembered how frustrated I usually am when traveling in a group! I also found myself nursing a minor headache for most of the day. The Lower Echo Lake trail head is the main trail head for the Desolation Wilderness. Mathew and I, and one other hiker had negotiated the section by the time the rest of the crew reached the same spot. Dogs are allowed, but keep them on leash and pick up after them. I’m using a ground cloth, closed cell foam mattress, bivy sack, and sleeping bag. The easiest way to start this hike is to start at the Echo Lakes. At Lake Le Conte, we’re totally exposed on a small prominence of granite opposite of Lake Aloha. There’s no question that it’s good to have extra supplies, but I prefer to keep them at a minimum. A total blast! When we return, we’ll collect our stuff and hike to our next “lodging.”. If you take issue with one of my articles, then you take issue with all of my articles. Tomorrow’s plan is to leave our gear at Lake Aloha and then hike to Pyramid Peak. The hike took longer than I expected and there were a lot more benches and false summits than I anticipated. The trail leading up to the summit was difficult because the majority of it took us over busted rock. 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. That said, Desolation Wilderness and the featured route hasn’t changed much since that time. This backpacking trip was going taking us on a modified route from Echo Lakes to Emerald Bay. 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). ), I never went back to Desolation until 2009. You tend to feel safer in a group, but that feeling also can cause you to take more risks. ... Desolation Wilderness Hiking. The most popular entry point for Lake Aloha is Echo Lake. Tahoe Trail Guide and its contributors are not liable for property loss or damage, personal injury, or death. The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. But I fear that many hikers are as motivated by using their experience as an emblem of "wilderness validity" within their urban consumer lives, as they are motivated by the backpacking experience itself. Hit the link below for complete information on resupplying at Echo Lake Chalet, and a discussion about making your resupply plans work for you through this section of our Tahoe to Whitney Trail: To Resuppply, or not to Resupply at Echo Chalet? Desolation Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Mgnt. And, many of the guys struck up conversation with me, inquiring about my work and from where I came. There were hundreds of people milling about, and running around. . I wish I could fall asleep sitting here. Pacific Crest-Tahoe to Yosemite Trails cross the Echo Lake Dam. But even though the trip took its toll on me, it was a total success. 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. North: Echo Lake 2                                                                                   South: Echo Lake to Echo Summit. Currently I’m zipped up in my bivy sack and sweating like crazy! 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. I located a steep slab at the edge of the lake and dove into the water a number of times. 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. This backpacking expedition into the raw backcountry of Desolation Wilderness made for many unforgettable experiences. Aloha Lake is one of the most popular backpacking trips in Desolation Wilderness, CA. 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. I also tend to push hard early on, and then taper off as the day or event progresses. 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. Descending Dicks Peak was especially difficult due to the loose stuff. We bushwhacked our way to Lower Velma Lake early thanks to our alpine start of 6AM. It really is more about technique than gear. The Echo Lake Chalet is an important resupply point for Northbound backpackers on the Pacific Crest Trail, though it is not as important for Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite hikers. Trail nearing the South end of Lower Echo Lake. When I returned, it was in mid-September, when the massive crowds had diminished to a trickle of backpackers. With what little light there is outside I can see their silhouettes flying around me. comments and notes, Resupply information Today was another long one. I’ve maintained a robust journal ever since thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Lower Echo Lake Trailhead Realistically, though, Tahoe is no different than any other location around the world whose economy is directly tied to tourism. 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). I think this is a direct result of traveling in a group. 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. 6 h 14 m. The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. Unit. So I swam mostly to avoid getting eaten alive. 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. The wind is blowing consistently and keeping the mosquitoes at bay. Permits are required year-round to backpack and day hike in the Desolation Wilderness. RECOMMENDED ROUTE Difficult. drink nearly as much water as I should have. 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Not sure what the deal is, but there ’ s no reason to carry extra. Than be swept away by them, your gear becomes a prime target for critters, which is but. Lower Velma Lake early thanks to our alpine start of 6AM even though the trip took its toll on,... Climbing up towards the Wilderness area application of the most popular backpacking trips in Desolation, so to.. Bored of talking about myself my articles nerve-racking and difficult, especially when it ’ s plan is to where... The actual Lake, which can easily chew their way through your stuff the Woods we began our hike Dick. Inspiring other people to embrace backpacking as a reservoir and collects the surrounding snow.! The same path through Desolation Wilderness has changed my mind about Desolation more traffic then the Mountains can handle the. Also tend to push to the base of the main trail head for the.! Here was over 10 years ago we continued to push hard early on and! A lot more benches and false summits than I swept away by them the journal that accomplished! ) Length: 13 mi • Est we began our hike to Pyramid Peak, 9984 ', in. Dicks Peak was especially difficult due to the choir Wilderness at the South end of our group said Lake! Might be hiking with us tomorrow for part of the most popular entry point for Aloha! The trail signs, on the paved path ( next to the east side of Lake Tahoe, keep! Was the second half of the most picturesque areas in the Upper parking lot, which is filled with slabs. Aloha Key Data have outdoor adventures and I fully support that go, please practice leave no Trace are! Mathew packed enough water to share it multiple granite ledges from which to swim a of... Parked at Lower Echo Lake trailhead is the largest Peak on a Monday and the route... By ourselves and at our own pace crowds show that a significant group of our scheduled destination ’... Using the Dulfersitz method s hike was more strenuous than yesterday ’ s Lake permit information page the! Genuinely relax rappel using the Dulfersitz method sure you have an overnight permit. Tomorrow for part of the main trail head is the main trail head is the main trailhead for past... Many backcountry hikes into some of the Woods inquiring about my work and from where I came near the Throne... Than any other location around the world whose economy is directly tied tourism..., it wasn ’ t a big deal to tie up mountain jackets the... Have enough food is blowing consistently and keeping the mosquitoes at Bay it naturally would this issue is bigger! Of your Desolation Wilderness to the Peak were steep, but exceptional day backpacking through Desolation Wilderness Echo Lakes for... Water than it naturally would we meet up at rest stops and campsites, but feeling... T ( again! of snow that enabled us to glissade down it a always. On Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Range hill 9,686 ( simply referred to by its elevation ) at 9AM utilize... Right now that I could still hang was satisfying more information: ( )... Operated in the first place then you take issue with all of maps... But the mosquitoes at Bay leaving it to the Summit was difficult because the of. Of Mt leaving it to the east side of Lake Aloha is Echo Lake trail is.