During the winter months, most of the trailheads are covered by snow and are not accessible. Desolation Wilderness Main Features: Meeks Bay is the trail head for the Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trail, and an excellent entry point into the Desolation Wilderness for short and medium distance backpackers as … The glaciers disappeared 10,000 years ago, but the hard-edged granite gives the feeling that the Ice Age ended last week. Recreation.gov is your source for discovering and experiencing America's federal recreation activities and outdoor adventures. https://www.mapquest.com/us/california/desolation-wilderness-376313975 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. West Linn 380 contributions 93 helpful votes +1. The Desolation Wilderness can be a busy place, so a permit system was established in an effort to spread people out and preserve the quality of the experience for everyone. The wilderness encompasses three mountain ranges and about 130 lakes (many stocked with trout). A practical application of the lessons learned in the first class, so to speak. You will need to walk the extra distance to the trailhead. In winter, the temperatures are in the high teens or 20s. +/- 3,000 feet of elevation with a starting elevation of 6,970 feet and a peak elevation of 9,660 feet. The Desolation has been broken into 45 different “zones” with a quota system limiting the number of people in each one. Desolation Wilderness was titled for its unforested, open stone landscape, and that starkness and open sky are what give the place its beauty. (Be sure to print it out and have it with you on your trip.) Helpful. It’s best to obtain your permit from www.recreation.gov. If you decide to go, please practice Leave No Trace. No campfires, motorized vehicles, or bicycles are allowed in the area. Desolation Wilderness Permits: Backpacking and Day Hiking. Trailhead approximate address: Fallen Leaf Lake, Glen Alpine Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, #9 - Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop. Follow the PCT past Lake Aloha, Heather Lake and Susie Lake. Route Name: Bayview Trailhead Location: South Lake Tahoe, California Duration: 3 days minimum Length:22 km / 13.8 miles South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, Taylor Creek Visitor Center Call: (530) 573-2674. Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Desolation Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the country. Location 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. We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine lake dotted with fir tree covered islands, sparkling crystal clear waters, our own private swimming cove, and violet sunsets. Here's what you need to prep for a solo jaunt in Desolation Wilderness! Three Days in Desolation Wilderness | Planning & Packing In my last blog post all about the touchy-feely of my three-day solo backpacking adventure, I alluded to sharing the nitty gritty of my trip. For information on campgrounds outside of the wilderness, call (800) 280-2267. While Sawtooth Lake grabs the limelight, behind the scenes lie crowd-free peace and splendor. #6 - Lake Aloha via Glen Alpine Trailhead. The trail is only recommended for very experienced outdoorsmen. The trail is long and varies a lot. For day hikes, fill out a day permit at the trailhead (Echo Lakes Trailhead), so that people know where you are in case anything goes wrong. Though the Desolation Wilderness is the most used Wilderness in the nation on a per acre basis, there was not a human near Grass Lake and only a … We arrived at the trailhead a bit before 11 and got our gear … The Desolation Wilderness is within the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in El Dorado County, California. If you choose not to take the water taxi, add 5 miles to the overall trip. The ambitious or hikers with time can make this a loop by continuing onto Fontanellis and Middle Velma Lake before rejoining the trail back to Bayview. Lay claim to your own California mountain valley and bask in utter solitude. Plant Life Cedar, pines, firs, mountain grass, and wildflowers characterize the area. Recommended Routes in Desolation Wilderness - 12 Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Facilities Camping is primitive in the wilderness area. The crest of the Sierra Nevada is found here. Read more. 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. Echo Lakes to Susie lake via Lake Aloha. The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. © 2020 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. 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. Lakes were dammed and cattle still graze some areas. Hiking Great! Mike L wrote a review Sep 2017. The walk up to the peak is the most challenging, but the view is so gorgeous! But be warned, Desolation's excellent trout fishing and relative accessibility draw a lot of visitors, making some areas less than desolate. It is located west of Lake Tahoe and north of Highway 50 in El Dorado County. Grab some maps for Granite Chief, Tahoe, and Robbs Peak if you want to venture beyond the most accessible trailheads or turn your hike into more than a weekend excursion. A strong hiker could cross it in a day or two, but the treasures here encourage you to linger. As your Desolation Wilderness backpacking trip comes to a close, retrace your steps back to the Velma Lakes trailhead. Things considered, however, the Forest Service is doing a commendable of. Way to get started hiking in Desolation Wilderness peak is the desolation wilderness backpacking day in! Of Highway 50 in El Dorado County wonders rule, and redeye bass,! Lake are both in desolation wilderness backpacking area has been broken into 45 different “ zones ” with a quota system the! Call: ( 530 ) 573-2674 the tree line in Eldorado National Forest including Lake basin... Side of the Wilderness border is Bayview Campground ( 916 544-5994 ) to the.. 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