Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, Eagle Lake Loop

HARD 14 reviews
#5 of 18 trails in

Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, Eagle Lake Loop is a 11.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near South Lake Tahoe, CA that features a lake. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

11.7 miles 2944 feet Loop

dog friendly









wild flowers




A trek through Lake Tahoe's Desolation Wilderness past several lakes including Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, Fontanillis Lake, and Eagle Lake. This hike provides a great tour of some of the best features of desolation wilderness. It is great for a 2-day, 1-night backpacking trip on a weekend or for a long day hike. All lakes along this hike are spectacular and are great for swimming. There are a number steep sections, particularly near the beginning and end of the hike, but the views make up for it.

1 month ago

2 months ago

3 months ago

Excellent hike with great views. Spent the night at Middle Velma which was pristine and a nice swimming spot after a long hike.

The trail out of Bayview is pretty steep and draining for a little over the first mile and a half, especially with a pack, but levels out nicely after reaching the "summit."

Would not recommend the taking Eagles Pass, and just go back down the Bayview trail. Eagles was overly crowded, and the walk back on 89 was a disappointing way to end a great hike. If you are planning this hike Fall 2016 be aware of road construction on 89.

3 months ago

A great day hike: countless pristine lakes, bogs, and views, all enjoyed at a moderate grade. Plus, even on a holiday weekend, this trail was not overly-trafficked. You start up a sandy slope but that doesn't last too long until you level off for the rest of the hike and hit your first lake.

I see many weren't thrilled with the walk back up the highway, but we didn't mind...especially since started the hike a bit later in the day so it was sunset over Lake Tahoe when we made the short trek back to our car, parked along road near Inspiration Point.

3 months ago

Great loop, we turned this into a nice overnighter and stayed at Lower Velma. Beautiful lake. If I did this again, I would not hike down to eagle lake and eagle falls. It was so crowded and we found the trail out of Granite lake to be a better hike. Also finishing on the highway and hiking back up to Bayview is not so much fun.

4 months ago

Took our time and split this into 3 days for a very enjoyable trip. Slept at middle Velma and Dicks while stopping to swim at the 6 lakes along the way. Desolate, but beautiful

4 months ago

Enjoyed a quiet lunch at the outflow from Upper Velma, nice shade on a hot day.

6 months ago

Did this hike to only to Lower Velma Lake and back (8.5 miles). We hit snow about 2 miles in. There would be a patch of snow, then rocks, then snow. It was like this all the way to the lakes. The snow was walkable, but I'd recommend having something on your boots to help grip. The hike out in the afternoon was really wet. The snow was melting fast and running over the trail. Beautiful hike. Beautiful lakes (they were still half frozen). Well worth the effort and time.

1 year ago

Had a great time, despite a sleepless first night at Dick's Lake. Be forewarned, the spots there are beautiful, but the wind can be extreme. All of lakes are incredible. Some of the best swimming out there. Even in the drought.

Ran into a couple of groups that didn't quite have their bearings, but everyone on the trail was very polite.

Walk back up to Bayview at the end went quickly, but the cars drive rather quickly along the road.

3 years ago

Really, really great hike! So happy I stumbled across this recommended itinerary :D
- Definitely a healthy climb the first 2 miles but very doable.
- The trail becomes a bit free-form at times and we would subsequently get off trail. Always able to recover though (granted, we went just after a snowfall which made the trail easier to follow at times since we could see foot prints but would also hide markers)
- The lakes are absolutely gorgeous! Great for filtering water and eating a serene lunch
- The walk back after visiting Eagle Lake along highway 50 sorta sucks especially after experiencing all the wonderful trails... It is a 1.02 miles walk. There is a shoulder but minimal at times + for some reason all the cars passing are going pretty quickly... All in all we would still stick to the proposed trail as it was great to finish with Eagle Lake.

Will definitely do this trail again!

4 years ago

Awesome guide Chris! Our group had a wonderful time (7 ppl, 2 dogs). Got a Saturday overnight permit reservation on for Fontanillis Lake, car camped at Luther Pass on Friday night, headed out early to the Taylor Creek Visitor Center to pick up the permit on Saturday, and drove over to the Bayview Trailhead. Dropped people off and shuttled the second car to the Eagle Falls Trailhead so we had a way of getting back. We got slightly off trail when we reached Upper Velma but found our way back to Fontanillis where we camped on the side of the hill. Beautiful views and great swimming spots. Only pests were the mosquitoes that were in full force at that time so make sure you bring bug repellent! Awesome trip and I can see why one would do this hike again :D

4 years ago

Great guide.
Just a small note: can you add some information on the permitting process? How to get them, how easy/difficult?

5 years ago

Your Fonanillas Lake & Eagle Falls pictures are beautiful. It looks like a great backpacking trip.

5 years ago

I can't take credit for all of the pictures in this guide, some are by other EveryTrail members. This area is one of my favorites, that's probably why I have done this exact trip 2 times even though there are so many other great places in this area.