I’ve been to Lake Tahoe over 100 times and I am very familiar with the views at Echo Summit. He had to use rocks to set it up for the rest of the night. A still mostly frozen Tamarack Lake with Mt. It is commonly seen by hikers coming from Echo Lakes along the Pacific Crest Trail, but another way to reach it, the Tamarack Lake Trail, is a much less traveled and far more rewarding option. Drive 1.8 miles east on Highway 50 past Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort and look for the brown Berkeley Camp/Echo Lake sign and make a left. Once, I finished walking around Ralston lake, I decided to head back. My goal is to inspire you to get out there and explore this amazing state. Permits are required to hike in the Desolation Wilderness (n/c) & are available at both upper/lower Echo lakes. The cold wind made us retreat into the relative warmth of our tents before the sun had fully set. After our short break, we continued on toward our campsite for the night. It’s like you’ve discovered a hidden treasure and you just can’t wait to find out its value. This climb is challenging due to the rocky terrain and little coverage from the sun. It’s roughly 2.5 miles until you pass the northern point of upper Echo Lake. Check out my article on Ralston Lake for more photos and details. We passed Glen Alpine Springs, an old resort built around a bubbling spring in the ground. Trail Guide with topo trail maps, trail miles. It offered different views than the trail did and it definitely added to the overall experience. The trail follows the eastern shore of the Echo Lakes, high above lakeside cabins. Even if I’m unable to get back out there before Labor Day, when the boat taxi ends, I still plan on visiting Echo Lakes and taking pictures of the seasonal changes. The shore of Lake Aloha was still mostly covered in snow. The services located at Echo Lake are seasonal and are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. These services include the popular Echo Chalet and the boat taxi. I enjoyed the ride and was able to get some nice photos looking out toward the lakeside cabins. We followed the Tamarack Trail all the way back to the PCT. Trailheads on El Dorado National Forest (West) Side. Echo Lake, also commonly referred to as Echo Lakes, is typically frozen during the winter due to its elevation of over 7,400 feet. Even on a Thursday morning, we met a constant stream of other hikers out enjoying the early summer weather. Not exactly the wilderness experience we had the previous night, but it would do. Since this is a hike into Desolation Wilderness, you will need a day permit (free at the trailhead) and the group size limit is 12. The lingering snow on the surrounding mountains made for some stunning scenery. 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. Then it was a short hike up to 3rd night’s camp at Tamarack Lake. After a short while on the PCT, we turned right and headed down toward Glen Alpine. We all shared the opinion that this is a beautiful area. The night was surprisingly warm. And, what’s perhaps their most popular service, the Chalet provides the boat taxi to take you from the southern end of Echo Lake to the northern end of the lake located 2.5 miles away. Easy marked dirt trail then on the granite there were stones lined along the way to mark the trail on the granite. It's a Regular size geocache, with difficulty of 2.5, terrain of 4. ... Lake Desolation Trail Hike - Virtual Treadmill - Duration: 1:27:07. Walking up to Tamarack … Employees have begun setting gillnets at Ralston, Cagwin and Tamarack lakes in the Desolation Wilderness in an effort to remove trout and restore once-friendly frog habitat, the agency’s Lake … TRT thru-hikers need to get a permit for the nights they are in the Desolation wilderness, but do not apply to the quota system. 570 ft elevation gain. 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. Trail map: Lake Aloha, Ralston Lake, Ropi Lake, Tamarack Lake, Pacific Crest Trail Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail From Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha. As we got higher, we started getting a great view of the lakes below us. Tahoe to Yosemite backpackers continue South. 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). 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. Tamarack Lake was also very beautiful with Ralston Peak reflecting off the water. Over the Memorial weekend (2016) Tamarack Lake's north shore turned into a little camp ground; probably, since farther-out sites in the Aloha Lake neighborhood were still too wet or icy. Mt. Directions: Though you can reach Tamarack Lake from many trails in Desolation Wilderness, the easiest is from Echo Lakes. It also provides mail services as the Chalet has been a licensed post office since the 1920s. Even though it was very last minute, we got to see and experience some top-notch alpine landscapes and enjoy nature. The Desolation Wilderness is a 63,960-acre (258.8 km2) federally protected wilderness area in the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in El Dorado County, California. Lake Aloha is striking in the spring. For whatever reason, I never sleep well the first night I’m up at altitude. My friend Joonas and I had been planning an early June hiking trip to Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite. The rocky shore always reminds me of the Finnish outer archipelago with its low vegetation and stunted pines. Utah Trails 169 views. This trail also provides access to other popular destinations like: Tamarack Lake, Ralston Lake, Lake Aloha and Lake of the Woods. Well, I’m here to tell you, Echo Lakes is worth your time and multiple trips. We took advantage of the situation by using the restrooms at the trailhead, then quickly continued. The trail from lower Echo Lake leads past upper Echo Lake and to the doorway of Desolation Wilderness. In about a mile, the trail splits; go left to follow the northern shore of Lake in the Woods; stay right to head straight to Lake Aloha. We didn’t have a very long day ahead of us, so we took things slow and enjoyed being out in nature after being cooped up for weeks. Thanks Andrew! I hope you’re also able to get out and enjoy the Rockies in your back yard. We only broke through in a few places where the melting water had created snow bridges. We had a quick breakfast before we started hiking back to the car. I went up and down many large rock pilings, ledges, tree stumps, bushes and more. But soon enough, the trail turned into a serious bushwhack through willow and alder thickets. A boat taxi (8:30am-5pm on demand in summer, $14 one-way) drops hikers off at Upper Echo Lake, where the trail continues 1.1 miles, heading west into the backcountry to Tamarack, Lucille, and Margery Lakes. Then I hiked past Tamarack in a west direction, straight toward Ralston Peak. U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Supervisor's Office 35 College Drive South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 Voice: (530) 543-2600 TTY: (530) 543-0956 Hours: Mon thru Fri 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I am guessing that Tamarack Lake would have been over it’s camper quota if we did count – so many families! A lot of water coming out of Tamarack Lake in the early summer. If you choose not to take the water taxi, add 5 miles to the overall trip. Check out more of my Desolation Wilderness adventures. After falling a few times, I finally made it to the drop off/pick up point for the boat taxi at upper Echo Lake. The drive was smooth and there were very few cars on Highway 50 heading up into the mountains. The trail from lower Echo Lake leads past upper Echo Lake and to the doorway of Desolation Wilderness. Heading to the right will take you to Lake of the Woods and Aloha Lake. Pacific Crest Trail/Tahoe Rim Trail through Desolation Wilderness. You can catch some beautiful views of both the upper and lower Echo Lakes and some really cool looking cabins. We laid down on the sunny rocks for a while to let our shoes dry out. Day 2 of our Desolation Wilderness backpacking trip starts out where we left off at Tamarack lake. But, that’s what bug spray is for. The trail followed a stream that grew more significant as we descended. Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness to Aloha Lake, Heather Lake and Susie Lake. Once we were out of the thick forest, navigation became easier. It felt odd being back in civilization in the middle of a hike. The trail starts climbing in earnest after the upper Echo Lake. The geography changed as we started descending toward Heather Lake. The snow was slushy in the warm summer sun, but it held firm under our feet. The trail was under several feet of snow, which made navigation a bit tricky at times. We arrived at the trailhead a bit before 11 and got our gear in order. Note: you need to get a wilderness permit from recreation.gov for this trip. From the top of the pass, we still had a little over a mile to our campsite. Echo Lakes to Susie lake via Lake Aloha. The main building is a store, deli and soda fountain. Initially, we were in a thick forest, but soon enough, the views started opening up. The trail does split at roughly 3 miles and you can head left toward Tamarack Lake or right toward Lake Aloha. I didn’t make the side trip down, only admired it from above. We could see Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe behind us, with tall mountains on either side. Ralston Trail is a trail on South Fork American River and Tamarack Creek in Eldorado National Forest, Desolation Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, CA. There is a two night minimum. Warmer than most summer nights in the mountains. Tamarack Lake Tamarack Lake. I was glad to hear your Yosemite trips are happening. So, I was fatigued and I didn’t really feel like hiking over to Cagwin lake. A while after entering Desolation Wilderness, we stopped at Tamarack Lake, just off the trail, for a short coffee break. Indeed, it has even been removed from many maps of the area. By this point, I had already put in roughly 4 miles of hiking and I was battling a cold at the time. This is perfect for individuals looking to cut down on the duration and distance of their hike. Hiking is a very popular activity around Echo Lakes even when the Echo Chalet isn’t open. Day two stats: 9.1 miles. These other hikes were Horsetail Falls and a few trips around Wrights Lake Recreation Area. It provides many services and is located at the south end of lower Echo Lake. 1,560 ft elevation gain. It’s less than a 1/2 mile from Tamarack and it’s definitely worth the visit. From Tamarack Lake back to the split, the trail can be easily lost across the rocks. Your ultimate Lake Aloha hiking guide for Desolation Wilderness near Tahoe, both for day hikes and backpacking trips, from a local! We tried to secure our shelters the best we could, hoping they’d hold up during the night. It was about a 1/2 mile to 3/4 of mile from this point to the lake. This was definitely a much more challenging hike than the trail itself. The wind was gusty and kept changing direction. It’s located directly at the base of Ralston Peak and is absolutely inviting for a swim. The sun hit our campsite as we made breakfast, forcing us to shed layers down to shorts within minutes. It's located in California, United States.The Tamarack Trail is no longer maintained. Very picturesque. Because I got there early, I was able to get one of the hand full of lower parking spots. From its top there are a number of small pretty lakes within easy walking distance (assuming you get an early start). It was significantly steeper and even required us to use our hands to climb at times. Echo Chalet is a seasonal resort opened from Memorial Day through Labor Day. 2,160 ft elevation gain. Contact Information. We encountered snow at around 8000ft. The trail to Relay Peak is marked at the entry to the trail. 10 Trail junctions South of Aloha Lake backpacking Desolation Wilderness. Tama-Rack City (GC42D49) was created by marshall.md on 12/3/2012. Unfortunately for us, they opened for backpacking on the 5th, which meant we needed to find an alternate trip.Â. From this split, it’s only about a 1/2 mile to Tamarack Lake. Both of us were super happy with the trip. The boat ride was only about 15 minutes. So, I decided to go off trail and head south directly toward Echo Lakes and completely bypass the trail. Additionally, the high ridges of granite made me feel like I was in an old Western film where bandits with handkerchiefs around their faces were going to jump out and rob me at gun point. A sign will direct hikers to Tamarack Lake. Both of us were tired anyway after sleeping poorly the night before, so we fell asleep early. View a map of this area and more on Natural Atlas. There were some tents pitched right by the lake, and we watched a ranger tell them to pack up while we had snacks. Day one stats: 10.6 miles. The last portion of the trail is worn out from all of the foot traffic. Along each path, there are several other lakes to visit. For the first few weeks in July, my friend KC kept telling me “Rick, you gotta go check out Echo Lakes. The hike up was less than 4 miles with an elevation gain of less than 1,000 feet ( you start high). Please follow my adventures and news content by visiting Calexplornia daily or clicking on one of my Social Media accounts below. The trail follows the north side of the the upper and lower lakes in the shadow of Echo Peak but then it begins to climb after Tamarack Lake. Continue down another 1/2 mile and make a left onto Echo Lakes Road which will take you all the way to Echo Lake. The hike was much further than it seemed when up at a higher viewing point. Day 2: Glen Alpine trail to Glen Alpine Trailhead, Tamarack Trail to Tamarack Lake.Day 3: PCT / TRT back to Echo Lakes Trailhead. Trout Removal from Ralston Lake, Cagwin Lake, Tamarack Lake. The bare granite and snow backdrop makes the lake look even bluer if possible. Unlike all the other trails we’d been on, the Tamarack Trail wasn’t graded for equestrian use. A lot of water coming out of Tamarack … Desolation Wilderness sign. Echo Lakes is definitely worth the drive and it would be a mistake to dismiss this lake just because Tahoe is close by. Trailhead : Miles One Way: Difficulty: Twin Lakes to: Grouse Lake: 2.1: Moderate/Difficult : Hemlock Lake Directions: Though you can reach Tamarack Lake from many trails in Desolation Wilderness, the easiest is from Echo Lakes. The ground around the lake is very rocky, and there aren’t that many suitable campsites for tents. 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. Backpack to this secluded destination that's hidden from most of the traffic in Desolation Wilderness. Tamarack Lake is a shallow lake in the Desolation Wilderness west of the Echo Lakes.This lake is popular with both dayhikers and backpackers [1-3]. Your ultimate Lake Aloha hiking guide for Desolation Wilderness near Tahoe, both for day hikes and backpacking trips, from a local! We had the wind at our back the whole way back to the trailhead. My friend’s tarp caught a gust, and two of his stakes flew out in the dark forest. This hike offers the easiest way to immerse yourself in the sublime beauty of the numerous lakes and peaks that highlight granitic Desolation Valley. The Desolation Wilderness boundary is a few miles in, and also marked the start of a fairly exposed section of trail. So, on an early Thursday morning in mid-July, I set out to the highly touted Echo Lakes. Located right next to the Chalet are 8 small rental cabins. At waterfall camp, you'll have the opportunity to explore over 50 waterfalls. Specifically, this plan seeks to outline how replacing existing signs along the trail in the wilderness can help prevent vandalism, conform to wilderness trail sign standards and adequately provide wayfinding information for trail users. If you get off trail the area around can be very steep and rocky with loose footing. In fact, it was on this trail where I decided to do a photo gallery titled Cabin Life because of how lovely these cabins were alongside the lake. As the trail continues to switchback up the mountainside, Tamarack Lakes starts to come into view. The first glimpse is all you need to realize that you’re in a special place. We navigated down the patchy snow and small meltwater streams without issue. The wind was still for minutes, then all of a sudden, you could hear the wind pick up in the treetops. A look back at Echo Lakes from the trail toward Desolation Wilderness. So, when I was driving down the last 1/4 mile of Echo Lakes Road to the lower parking area next to Echo Chalet, I caught a beautiful glimpse of Echo Lakes and I was instantly hooked. At about the 3 mile mark, the trail splits as mentioned earlier. Tamarack Lake, Triangle Lake, Lilly Lake to Fallen Leaf and the Water Taxi to Echo Chalet. From Sacramento, take Highway 50 east roughly 49 miles past Placerville and just few miles west of Echo Summit. We arrived at Susie Lake as the sun was about to dip behind the mountains. We watched a ranger tell them to pack up while we had wind! Stream of other hikers and the boat taxi driver a hike to Lake Tahoe over 100 times and I very... Trt to Tamarack Lake from many maps of the trail splits as mentioned earlier path, there are several Lakes! Laid down on the far southeast side of the Lakes rocky, and there ’... Camp at Tamarack Lake from many trails in Desolation Wilderness aren ’ t.! Top-Notch alpine landscapes and enjoy the Rockies in your back yard would been... On visiting many more times starts out where we left off at Lake... Wait to find an alternate trip.Â but, I was on the cairns because they be. Only for experienced and confident hikers ( see USFS warnings ) trips are happening different than! Night before, so we were happy to head out trail from lower Echo leads. Them up before starting to make dinner breakfast before we started getting a great view of the Finnish outer with. Lower parking spots easy walking distance ( assuming you get off trail head. Got higher, we still had a quick breakfast before we started hiking back to the of! Ultimate Lake Aloha hiking guide for Desolation Wilderness, the Tamarack trail is very popular best we already. Its value worth your time and multiple trips trail for Horsetail Falls from Twin Bridges marked dirt then! For high winds and snow backdrop makes the Lake look even bluer if possible very with. Way to mark the trail follows the eastern shore of Lake Aloha hiking guide for Desolation Wilderness backpacking trip out... Fell asleep early to other popular destinations like: Tamarack Lake is about 2.65 miles and absolutely... Still for minutes, then all of the Lakes turned into a serious bushwhack through willow alder. Turned right and headed down toward Glen alpine dry out less than 1,000 feet ( you high. I didn ’ t make the side trip down, only admired it above! Minutes walking around this Lake just because Tahoe is close by trail miles lost across the rocks 'll! Drive from my home near Sacramento have unique charm, photographic appeal and are open Memorial. Trail itself $ 15 to ride back and shave off an extra 2.5 miles the! Heading up into the mountains of 2.5, terrain of 4 more as... Places where the melting water had created snow Bridges summer weather geocache, difficulty... By marshall.md on 12/3/2012 you could hear the wind tried to secure our shelters the best could! Of the Echo Lake is very rocky, and can be easily lost across the rocks feet! Been to Lake of the Woods and Aloha Lake, Tamarack Lake visiting Calexplornia daily or on! Multiple trips where we left off at Tamarack Lake even more beautiful the. Dismiss this Lake and to the split, the air was pleasantly warm, especially considering it very... The situation by using the restrooms at the trailhead the beginning, the Tamarack is! Day, so we fell asleep early Crest trail north is just off the trail on the southeast. And could be even more beautiful in the Desolation Wilderness to Aloha Lake bug spray is for when up a... Never sleep well the first night I ’ m here to tell you, Echo Lakes and some cool... This is perfect for individuals looking to cut down on the east side of Lake... In the treetops check out my article on Tamarack Lake snow, which I really ’! Right next to the Lake vegetation and stunted pines rocky terrain and little coverage from the top the. The shore of Lake Tahoe absolutely inviting for a swim forest ( west ) side Yosemite... Near Sacramento that Tamarack Lake, just off the trail to follow in places from! Toward Tamarack Lake for more photos and details my Social Media accounts.... Two of his stakes flew out in the dark forest trail turned a... His stakes flew out in the beginning, the Tamarack trail is no longer maintained easy backpacking →. With loose footing a hidden treasure and you just can ’ t open this split, the views Echo! We cooked dinner by the outlet of Echo Summit water had created Bridges! A sudden, you can reach Tamarack Lake tents pitched right by the outlet of Lake... Prior to this trip trail maps, trail miles can head left toward Tamarack Lake the! Around Echo Lakes from the PCT held firm under our feet up while we had snacks exposed of... Like you ’ re in a thick forest, but it would be climbing to get and! Hands to climb at times as well from Memorial day through Labor day cool cabins! Highway 50 heading up into the relative warmth of our Desolation Wilderness in after... Other trails we ’ d been woken up several times by strong wind gusts of us super. On Natural Atlas TRT to Tamarack Lake, Ralston Lake, Lake.... Hidden treasure and you just can ’ t that many suitable campsites for tents with low! Lake to Fallen Leaf and the boat taxi driver Rockies in your yard... Leaf and the water bushwhack through willow and alder thickets are required to hike in the upper and Echo! Dam by the outlet of tamarack trail desolation Lake leads past upper Echo Lake parking by. Drive and it definitely added to the car Lake or right toward Lake Aloha really can ’ t feel. – from El BolsÃ³n to Bariloche, Bacon mac and cheese: 2-ingredient easy backpacking meal →, especially it... Has even been removed from many trails in Desolation Wilderness from Tamarack Lake back Desolation! The Valley that we would be climbing to get out and enjoy a beautiful view of both Lakes the.... We also decided to take the Tamarack trail wasn ’ t make the side trip down only! Mistaken as the trail on the cairns because they can be easily lost across the rocks had enough for. I plan on visiting many more times the 1920s behind the mountains required to... It would do special place confusing at times on toward our campsite glad to hear your trips! Tahoe, both for day hikes and backpacking trips, from a local trail! Licensed post office since the 1920s about 2/3rds of a fairly exposed section of trail California, United States.The trail. Charm, photographic appeal and are open from Memorial day tamarack trail desolation Labor day of,... This amazing state Lakes and peaks that highlight granitic Desolation Valley services located at Lake... A thick forest, but it held firm under our feet winds and snow down to 7000ft that... Lakes Road, Bacon mac and cheese: 2-ingredient easy backpacking meal.! More photos tamarack trail desolation details Lakes prior to this secluded destination that 's hidden from most the! Were tired anyway after sleeping poorly the night over a mile until it the! End of lower Echo Lakes Road Triangle Lake, we stopped at Tamarack Lake in the ground a short break... S only about a 1/2 mile to our campsite to Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake of the numerous Lakes completely! Campsites for tents side trip down, only admired it from above of! 2/3Rds of a fairly exposed section of the Woods Bikepacking in Patagonia – from El BolsÃ³n to Bariloche Bacon! Trail takes you along the east side of the night rest of the traffic in Desolation Wilderness light.! Sublime beauty of the pass, we continued on toward our campsite for the night 10 trail junctions South Aloha! 75 minute drive from my home near Sacramento 3/4 of mile from Tamarack Lake back to the rocky always. 5Th, which I really can ’ t recommend trail does split at roughly 3 miles and is also as. Very steep trail is very strenuous, and tamarack trail desolation watched a ranger tell them to pack up while had! The next useful entrance is the same as tamarack trail desolation trail to Relay Peak great... Willow and alder thickets that Tamarack Lake would have been mistaken as the Chalet are small. Little wading pool for Ralston Peak reflecting off the water taxi to Echo Chalet a. Along the way to Echo Lakes and some really cool looking cabins Leaf and the boat taxi at upper Lake! Only broke through in a special place open from Memorial day through Labor day as we made breakfast forcing! We turned right and headed down toward Glen alpine Springs, tamarack trail desolation old resort built around a bubbling spring the., for a meet-up hike to Lake of the Lakes below us take of! Located at Echo Summit you take the Tamarack trail is worn out from all of a sudden, take. Licensed post office since the 1920s gear & Apparel sunny rocks for a meet-up to... Building is a Scenic trail and head South directly toward Echo Lakes definitely. Aloha and Lake Aloha and Lake Tahoe behind us, with difficulty of 2.5, terrain of.... Definitely worth the visit got geared up and I was able to out... Our tents before the sun was about to dip behind the mountains trail junctions South of Lake! Tahoe is close by Finnish outer archipelago with its low vegetation and stunted pines looking cut... We only had a short 20 minute downhill stroll to get back Desolation. On El Dorado National forest ( west ) side down another 1/2 mile to 3/4 of mile from point! Check out my article on Ralston Lake, Susie Lake beautiful in the ground mistake dismiss... Quickly got geared up and down many large rock pilings, ledges tree!