Explore like to explore - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
1 day ago

Wonderful hike that hugs Echo Lake and then ascends to Lake Aloha, which is big and offers many islands to swim to. At the end of summer, I was still able to see snow on the surrounding mountains, and the reflection of the trees and clouds on the crystal clear water was beautiful. Much of the hike is on rocks, so wear sturdy shoes.

hiking
2 days ago

Took the water taxi, so 12 km of hiking on rocky paths from the Upper Echo Lake to the Lake Aloha.
Beautiful Lake Aloha but water level very slow, so didn’t get into the water.
Lake the Woods is awesome and better for swimming for today.

Difficult when hiking up from Lake the Woods back to the Pacific Crest Trail towards Echo Lake, high altitude causing low oxygen, this part will take a longer and certain persons may feel bad (as I did).

Be aware: 50 cents for the public phone for the return boat call.

Short, easy hike with beautiful views at the end!

Truly gorgeous with lots of people but enough cool spots to get some alone time if like me you were looking for that. I spent a night at Tamarack Lake midway between the trailhead at Echo Lake and Aloha because I couldn’t get a permit to camp at Aloha on my first night. It was kind of nice that it forced me to go slower and appreciate another lake in the area. But you could easily spend a few days near Aloha. Next time I’ll do Aloha on night 1 and go on to one of the other lakes further up the PCT from there for night 2. I’m no thru hiker and that’s good because I don’t feel compelled to blow through 30 miles of beauty in one day.

hiking
7 days ago

This trail is beautiful and thankfully, outside of being hazy for photos, the smoke was barely noticeable. Definitely plan for a long day hike... what slows you down is the constant rocky terrain. Most of the trail consists of walking on rocks. Bring proper shoes. A lot of exposed area so bring the sunblock. The wildflowers are everywhere and the lakes are stunning! Lake Aloha was a great lunch spot, but pretty windy and made it too chilly for a swim. Got in at Lake of the Woods it was perfect!

Great trail with beautiful lake at the end. Due to time constraints we had to take water taxi both ways. The “drop phone” was not operational and we didn’t have the coins to call the taxi back after arriving back at the dock. Luckily we had one phone with enough bars to call from end of dock. Take 50cents if u want the ride back. Gets hot in exposed parts; bring plenty sunscreen! Great views of Sierra crest at lake aloha.

backpacking
12 days ago

Great trail not too difficult. Awesome place for a chill backpacking weekend

on Skunk Harbor

hiking
15 days ago

Really nice and picturesque trail leading to a sheltered cove and several small sand beach areas. It's popular with boaters as well, and we saw the Thunderbird there for an excursion. The beaches, like many around the lake, are much smaller again this year due to the high water levels, but don't let that discourage you. This is an easy down hill hike that will reward you with nice views and beaches, followed by a minor workout on the way back up (depending on how much you carry down). Dog friendly. A little bit crowded as it approached noon and later.

Fairly easy hike lots of uphill at first! There isn’t any mileage markers so just go with the flow. Great wildflowers!! The lake was super warm!

Such a wonderful hike;) I did this hike middle part of the day so I recommend wearing sunscreen since most part of the hike has no shade and wear a good hiking shoes for the rocky terrain:) I will definitely recommend this hike! Enjoy the scenery!

hiking
18 days ago

Awesome hike but if a novice hiker or out of shape and also plan on doing it as a day hike, plan a very long day.

It is such a beautiful hike, and the meadows were filled with an array of flowers. The lake is just gorgeous and very welcoming for a swim. While heading over to the dam was blessed to see a beaver on the trail too. The trail had a variety of terrain from sandy, rocky, and granite.

First time hiker.. this was very challenging but we made it all the way to lake aloha for lunch.. best environment for lunch anywhere... My PB&J was delish... Anyway this was very exhausting and well worth it.. the scenery is breath taking, truly God's country or whatever u believe in.... We started out real early and ran into traffic late in the day.. no places for water along the way.. we actually took 10 bottles f9r the 2 of us and ran out just shy of the finish line.. I would also mention if u take a dog with u, get them boots and be considerate, I saw a lot of dogs just exhausted..2 owner's had to carry them back. They were labs, shocking.. anyway if you want a decent challenge for a rookie then this trail is a must try..

on Lake Aloha Trail

24 days ago

, v. .

hiking
25 days ago

Amazingly beautiful!❤️

backpacking
29 days ago

Did this hike with 8 month old puppy if your dog is not out side a lot I would suggest shoes for them. The hike is beautiful the lake is so relaxing . But lots of bugs and A TON of traffic. (We went up on a Sunday and down on a Monday). I was disappointed in some of the rudeness o n the trail by some day hikers. If I go back it would be in off season or when snow is on the ground

backpacking
1 month ago

This hike is beautiful! If you are an avid hiker you will not find it hard, as it’s quite flat. You do need some fancy footwork as the path is mostly pebbled granite rock. My boyfriend and I did this hike with our 7 month old GSD. If you have a pet with sensitive paws, you might want to consider dog booties. We spent the night at lake aloha
and it was glorious! The rangers walk along the path and check permits so make sure to take the time to get one beforehand.

Easy hike until you get to the beginning of the falls and then it gets pretty technical in the rocks for younger kids. With little kids (7 yo) we found Sawmill Creek Trail to be a lot easier. At the very end you can cross over and go straight up to the falls and swimming hole.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked down the main path to the beach. The water is crystal clear and beautiful. There are rocks that we swim out to and jump off of... The water was cool but the sun was warm so we sunned ourselves like lizards

hiking
1 month ago

Truly beautiful. Started at Echo Lake to Aloha Lake. The view at Aloha Lake is amazing and jumping into the water was refreshing.

Note: if you have a k-9 please be mindful of their paws. The granite rock will do a number of their paws (saw a couple of dogs having to be carried back).

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful scenery especially the open meadow surrounded my rocky peaks. Wear good sole shoes, trail is rocky but manageable.

hiking
1 month ago

I am section hiking the California PCT. This has to be one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done in my life. I day hiked this section plus Susie Lake and exited at Glen Alpine. I would of camped for at least two days at lake Aloha! Everyone on the trail is super awesome. I didn't want to leave. Already wanting to go back with my backpacking gear! Absolutely breath taking! Truly one of the most amazing alpine views in California.

hiking
1 month ago

First time on this hike - easily one of my favorites so far! We hiked to Lake Aloha and back on a Saturday. Started around 9:30am and arrived back at 5pm, including a 2 hr lunch break / nap break at the Lake. We ran into a few different day hiking, backpacking and PCT thruhiking groups, but the trail never felt crowded.

Parking, on the other hand, was tricky - definitely get there early if you want to find a spot in the lot or even off the side of the road. We saw some... interesting parking solutions from adventurous folks.

Once we arrived at the lake, there was plenty of space for people to “claim” different spots around the lake, and still get a bit of privacy. Weather was warm, so we also took the opportunity to dip into the lake! There were a few folks swimming from island to island - very relaxing. Though of course the water was crisp, the rock slabs were warm and a great place to dry off and nap afterwards :)

At this time (end of June) there were a lot of mosquitoes - unfortunately we didn’t bring bug spray, and left with quite a few bites. Also, there’s some shade on the trail but not much - don’t forget to bring a hat!

The trail has a lot of rocky sections, so trail runners or hiking boots are a good idea. We caved and splurged for the water taxi on the way back (picks up at the northern end of upper echo lake, there’s a sign on the trail for it). While steep at $14 per person, it was a perfect way to cap off the hike!

This trail is GORGEOUS, but hikers be warned, this is a tough trail to do all at once. It took us about 5.5 hours (stopping at Aloha for lunch) and we were exhausted by the time we got back to our car. 15+ mile hikes are nothing new to us either. The entire way to Aloha is a gradual incline. You will ask yourself many times over several miles “how am I still going uphill?” It’s a rocky trail, too. I definitely would not recommend to anyone to do it without good boots.

Overall, this is the toughest “moderate” trail we’ve done. It was lovely and so hard at the same time. It’s a one and done for us.

backpacking
1 month ago

We paddled canoe across Echo Lakes (Saving $56 and having a blast in the process) The winds blowing up the lake made for a tough paddle in, but 2 day later they were still blowing and we enjoyed the tailwind back. The weather was very breezy the whole 3 days. We camped at Lake of the Woods, which is protected but there are only designated sites around the lake which aren't easy to find. We set up an awesome campsite on Lake Aloha, only to have to move late in the afternoon when the wind got to gusty. We didn't swim because of the gusty winds, but there were a few brave souls that did swim. There was still snow on the Desolation Range and a few spots here and there. Oh and the mosquitos were thick, Be prepared. Beautiful place.

hiking
1 month ago

Once past the Desolation sign you are in truly beautiful surroundings. Once at Aloha its pretty much aw inspiring scenery. Hike is a long slow gain in elevation but worth every step. Plenty of wild lakes to explore once past Echo Lakes .

easy trail until you get about 600ft from the waterfall then you climb just about 150ft vertical to the waterfall relatively easy climb

One of my most favorite hikes in desolation. I have done this as a day trip and as of two days ago did it as a backpacking trip. The trail is rocky so hiking shoes and poles I think are a must. The snow on the trail is all melted. Stayed on a Sunday night which was nice since less crowded.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great trail, do to complications I only made it to the end of lake Echo and back. It would be an all day hike if I were to go to Lake Aloha around 6-8 hrs to walk there. Wish I could have made it but started too late.

The path from Lake Echo is very VERY, rocky so watch your step had a few people trip and sprang an ankle on this one, hiking poles are almost a must. If your not used to scaling the side of the mountain this trail is not a 2 person path it's narrow and almost no shade so wear some sun screen. I had 50 protection on and I still got burned lol. Start early so you can make it by lunch or so other wise when it gets dark out and you ....will....get...cold.

Beautiful views and great hike, this is a moderate hike/hard if you do not take the Ferry that will cut the hike to Lake Aloha down to 5 miles. $15 per person for the ferry.

hiking
1 month ago

Short but worth the picture perfect views!

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