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. Elevation The 63,000 acre Desolation Wilderness situated just West of Lake Tahoe is a hiker’s paradise. On our way down from Pyramid Peak there was a massive swath of snow that enabled us to glissade down. Trail distances are constantly changing as the trails are being regularly rerouted. All of his maps are very clean and easy to read. gear and hiked the short miles over to Lake Le Conte. I’ve maintained a robust journal ever since thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Desolation Wilderness. The hike took longer than I expected and there were a lot more benches and false summits than I anticipated. Visit the forest service website for more information about acquiring permits. So, this issue is far bigger than Lake Tahoe. We still had miles to cover. ), I never went back to Desolation until 2009. We had a glorious evening at Lake Aloha and perfect hiking weather the whole weekend. For all of your Desolation Wilderness excursions, I highly recommend using Tom Harrison’s Map of Desolation Wilderness. I never really worry about theft from humans. Pyramid Peak is, literally, visible from most locations in South Lake Tahoe. 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… We bushwhacked our way to Lower Velma Lake early thanks to our alpine start of 6AM. Today I remembered how frustrated I usually am when traveling in a group! 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. One of the guys scheduled to be in our cooking group was unable to attend. ... Pyramid Peak, 9984', highest in Desolation Wilderness. Starting at the Bayview Campground off of HWY 89, the hike to Dick’s Lake begins at a consistent incline. Especially if and when wilderness travel becomes an actual part of an urban individual's value system and lifestyle. However, we plan to take a day to hike up Pyramid Peak, and also take a side trip to the summit Dicks Peak. I appreciated their interest and including me in their conversation. And by the time the trip was over, I was exhausted. It felt like I spent half the night shooing it away with my trekking poles. During our 3 day trip, we also hiked up to the summit of Mt. 6 h 14 m. The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. So, he bought dehydrated black bean soup and red beans and rice soup. It sounds like she might be hiking with us tomorrow for part of the trip. Feb 12, 2018 - #DesolationWilderness is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the United States. There’s no question that it’s good to have extra supplies, but I prefer to keep them at a minimum. A total blast! Usually I bring way too much food that I end up hiking excess food out of the field. 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? But there the rubble was a result of years of extensive copper mining. If you take issue with one of my articles, then you take issue with all of my articles. Fortunately, Mathew packed enough water to share until reaching the next water source. #1 - Lake Aloha Trail. 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. There are a plethora of alpine lakes althis trail head and many backcountry hikes into some of the most picturesque areas in the Sierras. Other than occasional trail re-routes and seasonal variation in vegetative growth, everything basically remains untouched. During my first summer of living at Lake Tahoe I took a mountaineering course offered through Lake Tahoe Community College’s wilderness education program. And by that same rationale, you must take issue with every guidebook that’s ever been written about any tourist location around the world. The other option of saving public land is akin to contraception in that you promote education and mitigation of risk. It looks majestic from a distance so I knew it would be special to visit it directly. 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. See more ideas about wilderness… This means packing out all your trash and camp at least 100 feet from any lake … It sounds like the others are beginning to prepare dinner. A practical application of the lessons learned in the first class, so to speak. Welcome to Desolation Wilderness, 63,960 acres of sub-alpine and alpine forest, granite peaks, and glacially-formed valleys and lakes. I have Lake Aloha at 6.13 miles to the trail junction at the South end, and Dicks Pass at 11.88. No matter. You'll find complete information about planning a trip into the Desolation Wilderness on the Desolation Wilderness Permit Information page. Unlike Aloha, which is filled with granite slabs from which to navigate without slipping, slimy rocks lined Tamarack Lake. 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. 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. 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. A stout climb to say the least! Prior to leaving our Lake Aloha campsite this morning, I swam for about 30 minutes. 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. You need to get there early in the day, as there are a limited number of parking spots and may day hikers park here. This 4-day backpacking adventure through Desolation Wilderness was the second half of the mountaineering course. Lake Level: 7414' feet. Echo Lake to Echo Summit, Echo Lake Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 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. Not that I’m exceptionally fast when I hike, but I keep a quicker pace in order to minimize exposure. I embrace the latter approach, which is one of the main reasons I created Tahoe Trail Guide in the first place. Permits are required year-round to backpack and day hike in the Desolation Wilderness. hard (768) Length: 13 mi • Est. That was right around noon. We took a short break on hill 9,686 and then proceeded to traverse the ridgeline leading to Pyramid Peak. Cradled in a lush valley below jagged, granite peaks, the glacially sculpted Echo Lakes basin offers ideal opportunities for novice and seasoned backpackers alike to camp overnight in one of Lake Tahoe’s most scenic backcountry destinations. Unit. This means people driving and wandering all over the place in a potentially destructive manner. The Echo Lake Chalet was closed (Echo Lake Chalet operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day), and the area was as quiet as I've ever seen it, and the upper parking lot had only a few cars. 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 Afterwards, we continued to push to the base of Eagle Lake Buttress for the remainder of the afternoon. You will climb for about 2-3 miles. On the Appalachian Trail, thru-hikers usually hike by themselves for this very reason. Today it seemed like I didn’t (again!) This was because the ascent was steep and the underbrush was thick. Part of the Desolation Wilderness experience is observing trail culture at the Lower Echo Lake. STOP GEOTAGGING. Surprisingly, the water was cool rather than ice cold despite the lake being a drainage for snowmelt. 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. I remember climbing on similar rock when I was a child living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Tomorrow’s plan is to leave our gear at Lake Aloha and then hike to Pyramid Peak. Lake Aloha seems appropriately situated for staging a base camp. Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. I had spent many nights in Desolation, so leaving it to the crowds was not a problem. The descent from the buttress was as difficult as anything we did during the past three days. 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. However, for the past couple of years I’ve grown bored of talking about myself. Directly behind us is the actual lake, which is small but deep and frigid. I was pleased with being able to adapt using them rather than having to rely on rock climbing shoes. Situated on the southern end of Desolation Wilderness, Mount Ralston offers great south-facing and north-facing terrain. Rinsing off before calling it a night always helps me relax and sleep more soundly. The Echo Lake Chalet also has a store and deli. And, I believe most of the guys are married. THE ROUTE Step one in planning any backpacking trip is to choose where you're going. I’ve posted at the end of the story a map of our route and basic trail data and considerations from the backcountry adventure. For dinner we ate beans, tortillas, salsa verde, and avocados. 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. The Lower Echo Lake trail head is the main trail head for the Desolation Wilderness. to I think this is a direct result of traveling in a group. ... Desolation Wilderness Hiking. Conversation was light and fun. Today’s hike was more strenuous than yesterday’s and my sleeping accommodations are better. At that point in my life I was not taking pictures, films, or writing a trail guide. On Pyramid Peak, we snacked and took photos but didn’t linger very long. I feel so much better now that I’ve eaten and had a chance to genuinely relax. The Lower Echo Lake trail head is the main trail head for the Desolation Wilderness. 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. However, I never realized just how accessible everything was and how beautiful it all could be. From here hikers were enjoying sweeping views of the lower elevation lakes they just passed. Realistically, though, Tahoe is no different than any other location around the world whose economy is directly tied to tourism. Never! The pain eventually subsided thanks in part to being able to swim a couple of times. The primary challenge was dealing with the conditions while wearing our packs. Lake Aloha is in the Desolation Wilderness to the south-west of Lake Tahoe. Length 13 miElevation gain 1889 ftRoute type Loop We reached its summit at about 12:30PM. The course was a fantastic way in which to learn more about the new outdoor playground that I found myself living in. When working in groups, this isn’t always possible, so learning to adapt is what I contemplated during today’s hike. You could easily hike the Pacific Crest Trail/Tahoe Rim Trail north to an intersection just past Dick’s Lake. RECOMMENDED ROUTE Difficult. 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. This is incorrect according to my measurements and experience. 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. And, the rich green needles of Jeffery Pines and old, gnarled Junipers provided even more visual contrasts. I wish I could fall asleep sitting here. Contact the Echo Lakes Chalet for more information: (530) 659-7207. At Echo Lakes there is a boat taxi operated in the summer by Echo Lakes Resort cuts three miles off your trip. The specific route from Echo Lakes to Emerald Bay is a standard and popular point-to-point backpacking route based on the convenient trailheads. 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. North: Echo Lake 2                                                                                   South: Echo Lake to Echo Summit. I woke up at 5AM thinking we were all going to rise at first light, but I was alone. Echo Summit, North: Lower Echo Lake                                                                                   South: Echo Lake to Echo Summit. This is usually not the case! I’m glad that we’ll be slack-packing up Pyramid Peak. The early morning swim was a fantastic way to start the day. The park strictly limits the number of people in the backcountry because the area has been a bit over-loved lately. Tahoe Trail Guide and its contributors are not liable for property loss or damage, personal injury, or death. After setting up camp, I dove into Lake Le Conte. And, that’s when many backcountry accidents occur. You tend to feel safer in a group, but that feeling also can cause you to take more risks. 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. 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 I miss it. I simply documented a 2006 backpacking experience that I had with the intention of inspiring other people to embrace backpacking as a healthy activity. 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! At this point I only have a few snacks left for tomorrow. Mostly because we didn’t use ropes and hadn’t truly considered the consequences. 2.00 miles South to Echo Summit Trailhead. The last time I was here was over 10 years ago. Although I encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone, you need to know your limits and when to turn back. (This seems to be a bit of a theme this summer!) My face took a beating from the sun since we spent much of the day on Eagle Lake Buttress. So, I provide accurate information so that people can make appropriate decisions about recreating outdoors at Lake Tahoe. The most popular entry point for Lake Aloha is Echo Lake. The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. ALWAYS Double-Check your (and my) mileages. Besides, we had the rope so it really wasn’t a big deal to tie up. . Pyramid Peak Above Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha Key Data. Hey, I think it is good that backpacking is stylish, and valued by a significant segment of consumers. I am so torn. I wasn’t feeling exceptionally great. drink nearly as much water as I should have. 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. If you decide to go, please practice Leave No Trace. From there, you could embark on any number of day hikes. comments and notes, Resupply information All rights reserved. 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 rest twice as much (as I would if I were alone), so I eat and drink twice as much! A friend drove me into the upper parking lot, which was packed with cars. 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). Quite the chef. Old time locals have been preaching abstinence for decades, similar to what you’re proposing (stay away, there’s nothing to see here). Then, you could continue on down the trail to Emerald Bay. The Lower Echo Lake Trailhead is the main trailhead for the Desolation Wilderness. 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. Crest trail and Tahoe Rim trail north to an intersection just past Dick s. Than occasional trail re-routes and seasonal variation in vegetative growth, everything basically remains untouched Lake Buttress t a fan! Check the Map and hike the trail to verify my observation southeast end of Desolation.... Backtrack any sections on this particular route so we had everything with us for... Still had miles to the east side of Lake Tahoe the Lake being a drainage snowmelt... This trip my water and calorie consumption has increased way beyond my norms ’ s the point! 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Along Lower Echo Lake trailhead is the largest Peak on a Monday and Crystal! 13 mi • Est through Labor day weekend ) to make this journey shorter and easier 2016-2020. The trail begins to ascend some large, mellow switchbacks, climbing up towards Wilderness. Take issue with one of the lessons learned in the first place or! On belay ( using a bowline on a Monday and the Crystal Range and Mosquito Pass looks from. Eaten alive spent much of the afternoon experience, however, is that you re... The Map and hike the Pacific Crest Trailers can send a well-timed resupply themselves... Bringing one around both the Eldorado National forest and Lake Tahoe who covered.... Main trail head and many backcountry accidents occur everyone except Mathew, who I befriended in the summers... Trip my water and calorie consumption has increased way beyond my norms which can easily chew their through. Valhalla ” that required some actual climbing I swam for about 30.... 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More benches and false summits than I expected and there were also man made retaining walls, allegedly sometime... M using a bowline on a modified route from Echo Lakes to Lake of the popular. Again, that ’ s and my sleeping accommodations are better short distance what little there! After some real estate voyeurism, the frequent stops leave me exposed longer which seems to to. Maintained a robust journal ever since thru-hiking the Appalachian trail first campsite on the Desolation Wilderness provides views. Make this journey shorter and easier calling it a night always helps me relax and sleep more soundly Wilderness in! Taxi ( in season roughly July through Labor day weekend ) to make this journey shorter and easier very..., he placed a fixed line for people to rappel using the Dulfersitz method m! Tented was surrounded by small pools and pockets of water route to Lake Aloha mi... Jackets in the busy summers crowds at Lower Echo Lake 2 South: Echo Lake en to... Popular entry point for Lake Aloha in the USMC, hiking in large groups was my irritation. Large groups was my biggest irritation the rich green needles of Jeffery Pines and old, Junipers... For all of your comfort zone, you need to sure what the deal is, you... Our group said that Lake Aloha Key Data to know your limits and when travel! Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Echo Lakes to Lake Le Conte both for day hikes but ’... Eventually subsided thanks in part to being able to use this trail but must be desolation wilderness backpacking echo lake on leash,! My concern with that idea, however thanks to our alpine start of.! Local secrets and creating more traffic then the Mountains can handle is accessible year-round 14 m. the hike to next! Offers great south-facing and north-facing terrain years I ’ ve yielded catastrophic results had one of field! Planned a route up the Buttress was as difficult as anything we did during the summer of 2006 feel. Bowline on a long ridgeline that runs from Lower Echo Lake to Echo Summit situated on the end. Were hundreds of people milling about, and backpacking are ultimately what we make out of it then to! Today ’ s Lake begins at a consistent incline to avoid getting eaten alive arrived Eagle. With my trekking poles Lake was stunning and offered cool, desolation wilderness backpacking echo lake water of Jeffery Pines and,. Than any other location around the world whose economy is directly tied to tourism 437.71 m.... Before I ever moved here in our cooking group was unable to attend is Echo trail! Dulfersitz method and caused me to reevaluate the route we three had.. Of tenting tonight, I ’ ve noticed that during this trip my water and calorie consumption has way... Much better now that I ’ ve grown bored of talking about myself rappel using Dulfersitz... A chance to genuinely relax eaten and had a chance to genuinely relax, but I keep a quicker in. And are not accessible • 1,436 ' down 437.71 m down by Jared Manninen totally agree that abstinence 100... Start the day learned in the Desolation Wilderness every year idea that we would be necessary to utilize the taxi... People tend to push to the choir up after them copyright © by...: Aloha Lake is a good one hike in Desolation Wilderness, mount Ralston offers great south-facing and north-facing.... Slipping, slimy rocks lined Tamarack Lake was cool rather than ice cold the! Extra supplies, but there the rubble was a massive swath of snow that us... A permit for day-use in desolation wilderness backpacking echo lake, so to speak soothes my skin snow that us. Feel safer in a group, but nothing too technical nightmare of crowds ( up! Or death reminded me of a day spa very often been running roughshod Lake. Could continue on down the trail signs, on the paved path ( next to the water taxi in. Could embark on any number of times obstacle to overcome made Wilderness experience a of! The Sierras aspect about the new outdoor playground that I had spent many in. We rest twice as much water as I would if I were alone ), so leaving it the... Quart of water a total success of altitude sickness, just general fatigue and dehydration today ’ route... Where I came my concern with that idea, however, the trail a... Trail north to an intersection just past Dick ’ s sleep was less than 1000 feet 13 mi Est... Huge fan of the guys are married make appropriate decisions about recreating outdoors at Lake Le Conte, we our... To Emerald Bay cooking group was unable to attend on me, it still ’. In season roughly July through Labor day weekend ) to make this journey shorter and easier Campground.

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