Explore Summer 2017 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Summer 2017 Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
8 hours ago

More of a walk than a hike but this trail is in town and has nice views along the river. There are tons of offshoots down to the water and also lots of river rock but not right on the trail.

just finished this hike, beautiful

hiking
20 days ago

Fantastic easy trail! Gorgeous views of the American River. Like some said, part is paved and busy, but about 3/4 of it was fairly secluded and unpaved. Peaceful walk. I see no reason that your can't walk this trail year round, even though the description says it's best through October.

backpacking
25 days ago

Pretty hike! Get to the parking area early to get a spot and make sure you park in an appropriate spot, as the rangers do ticket. We went in mid-November....Lake Aloha was great when we went plenty of water, but very cold when the sun went down. I imagine it would be absolutely perfect in the spring and fall!

hiking
1 month ago

Very pretty trail running but our dogs had dozens and dozens of ticks crawling on them halfway through the hike. We had to cut our day short to get the pups taken care of.

hiking
1 month ago

Went here on 12/15/18. A wildfire, specifically County Fire burned this area earlier in July this year. I visited here in February and differences were astonishing. Charred shrubs and trees were everywhere. It was sad site to see. The damages were more obvious once you pass the fence. The steps to go over the fence was gone. When the ground is wet, the trail gets extremely slippery - I slid backward near the fence for about 3-4 ft, couldn't stop until I put down my knees and hands on the ground. My pants and shoes were caked with mud. There were 4 downed trees blocking the trail on the hillside between the fence and the canyon. The first two were the most difficult to go around. There were some areas avoided the fire damage after the canyon. Around the summit, you see more fire damage. The surrounding sites from the fire road were black. The view of the lake was still very beautiful and worth getting up there but I would not go back again any time soon. I was very wary going through the hillside trail - the narrow trail looked even sketchier without any vegetation to hold the ground. I am wondering if the trail survive the winter.

1 month ago

great hike

Great place to getting some trail running in. Sort of narrow in some parts and people like to ride their horses in the area so be careful.

hiking
2 months ago

Thanks to an unusual delay in winter storms, we got to enjoy this hike in mid-November. Although it is late in the hiking season, we still saw a number of other hikers on the trail. We knew Lake Aloha would be drained, but other lakes on the way still provided beautiful scenic views, Lake of the Woods in particular. To see this one, you’ll have to add a small loop with a steep climb, but it’s worth it!

As far as the hike itself, it was not terribly difficult. I didn’t enjoy hiking on the scree, but it is par for the course in Desolation Wilderness. The trail is well marked; just keep an eye out for the wooden posts marking various converging and crossing trails. Some people had their dogs, but I was glad I left mine at home since it is primarily an exposed, rocky path.

All in all, a great hike that I look forward to doing again in the summer!

hiking
2 months ago

Enjoyed a beautiful day on this trail, unusually warm and sunny for mid November. A fair number of people were out today, but most that we encountered were within a mile or two of the trailhead. Lake Aloha is drained at the end of the season, so we missed out on experiencing it in its full glory, but the other lakes did not disappoint. Lake of the Woods is worth the uphill climb you’ll encounter after you visit, so I recommend adding a loop on to see it.

It was great missed a turn and ended up walking 4.5 miles.

hiking
2 months ago

Part of this trail is paved and once you get to where you see the American River it turns into a dirt/rock and rough trail at times. It also isn't market too well at all in spots. So make sure to check your phone/gps if you want to stay on the trail.

2 months ago

Probably the most beautiful lake in the Desolation Wilderness area. The stark, granite landscape and the crisp, blue waters of the lake make for a breathtaking sight.

hiking
3 months ago

Favorite hike of the year so far! I wouldn’t say it’s a difficult hike, more like moderate. The uneven rocks in the middle section will wear you out quick though. Views are amazing and once you get to Lake Aloha you’re totally secluded. We did take a wrong turn at the little loop near the end and it wound up being a short cut. Pay attention to the markers and your map because it’s not super well marked

Good cardio trails with my dog

hiking
3 months ago

Great walk. There are many places to start/end. We really like starting in downtown Folsom or at the trailhead parking lot of Parkshore Drive. You can choose to walk on the paved path or there is a rather nice dirt path used for "hiking", mountain bikes, and horses that is between the paved path and the river. It is nicely shaded and meanders nicely through the foliage.

Beautiful!! Offering different scenery’s

hiking
3 months ago

generally: gorgeous loop of many lakes (echo, lake aloha, lake of the woods) in desolation wilderness, with decent distance, manageable elevation, great scenery the whole way, decent trail conditions, would love to return and backpack (permits required in peak season, no fires)
parking: at upper or lower lot, free, no passes, road: mostly paved, doable in any vehicle
trail conditions: packed ground/rocky in some parts, easy to follow, not overgrown
scenery: gorgeous lake views the whole way
saw dozen + people on a nice weekend day, ferries run along echo lakes in summer, not running while we were there

Nice hike. We took a small trail above Robie Point and saw some old home foundations and an old fireplace aching an old brick pathway around the house. Pretty cool.

hiking
4 months ago

Ok. Let's start the list

1. 6.5 hours for 12.41 miles on a artificial knee celebrating my 62 birthday
2. It is a moderate trail, only hard for those not accustomed to long treks or wearing the wrong shoes
3. Get there early if you want any decent parking spot. We arrived before 7am and still had to park up the hill.
4. Parking at the marina is only for 4 hours
5. It is dog friendly - we passed a few dozen dogs today. Be sure your fur friend is use to rocks
6. Aloha Lake is very low but the lower end is still holding water. The low water exposes a lot of rock formations which adds to the value
7. We had animal encounters - one small black bear - one mini bear (aka chipmunk) who felt he was obliged to check out our pack, our pants, our shirts, anywhere to find food
8. Take water - We took 4 quarts and used it all for 2 people
9. The trailhead starts at Echo Lake dam where the check-in point is
10. It is difficult to find the place to begin with so check you maps well

Now this really is the tale of 3 trails
1. The lower section travels along Echo Lake and Upper Echo Lake. It is mostly in trees. Mostly sand and small rock. Changes elevation very little as it follows along the shores. You will also walk behind a number of cabins which are interesting in the fact they are built there to begin with. The lakes are beautiful and offer different views depending on the sun and time of day
2. The climb - This middle section of the trail is rock, rock, and more rock. The rock is jagged in many areas which will bruise your feet if you not wearing good shoes. The climb is standard 2-3% forestry grade and not hard. Just a lot of rock. It is open but has a lot of interesting cedar tree formations growing in crevices. Just as you start the ascent up to the pass, you get the best views of Echo Lakes by far.
3. The top - fairly easy walk thru trees as you top out of the pass and start a slight descent into the Aloha basin. The rock is glacial and definitely different from the ascent. Trees are massive. We are puny in comparison. Once you arrive at Aloha, trails go every which direction, just stay to the right. The lake is low now so you need to go another few hundred yards down the shoreline to find open water. Majestic and grand views in all directions.

Enjoy.

backpacking
4 months ago

My first backpacking trip in 30 years and this was a great one - not too hard or too easy - and camping at Lake Aloha was wonderful.
The lake was quite low this time of year so would like to go back in June next year. The echo lake shuttle boat was not operational so we didn’t have the option to cut a few miles off to get back. Not that my daughter would have let me!
My favorite part of the hike was the forest after the switchbacks and also a little outing up the ridge to the west side of the lake.
I’m an older hiker and had planned to use a trekking pole but sadly it broke before I could use it and it wasn’t necessary for me even though there were some quite rocky parts.
Love this hike and will definitely do it again.

Beautiful hike with different degrees of difficulty along the way. I’d rate it somewhere between moderate to strenuous due to its distance round trip. Some parts of the trail along the Echo Lakes were gently sloping with packed dirt and rock. Past that the trail got steeper with only rocks underfoot. As you approach Lake Aloha the trail flattens and gets easier on the legs. The stark beauty of Desolation Wilderness opens up before you as the final destination approaches. There were a few dry shallow lakes along the way but Lake Aloha still had significant water as of Labor Day weekend. Our dog definitely felt beat after the 12 mile hike. Highly recommend booties for your canine buddies to protect against the sharp rocks.

hiking
4 months ago

09-02-18: Overall this is a very nice hiking trail. The trail through Echo lakes is easy to traverse with a nice view, if you don’t mind see cabins all along the shoreline. Past Echo Lakes, the trail becomes more harsh and quite rocky for some distance until getting closer to Lake aloha where the trail smoothes out through the forest. Unfortunately at this time of year, the waters around Aloha were very low or completely dried up. Better to go earlier in the season. I recommend that dogs wear booties and some of the trail may prove difficult for smaller breeds.

hiking
4 months ago

The trail is definitely not a “Hard” trail. It’s rocky but no elevation really. We hiked almost 6 miles back and couldn’t find Lake Aloha but we found plenty of other lakes and island. Definitely pretty view but if your the type of people who like your heart rate up for a strenuous hike this isn’t it. Mostly flat rocky trails. There is a lot of loose rock too so make sure your balanced and stable.

hiking
4 months ago

relaxing easy trail to lake aloha. water level is a little low but was still pretty easy to find a secluded spot to hangout. trail was very busy. I took the dogs with me and it wore them out pretty quickly. I wouldn't recommend taking dogs with you on a clear day. not much shade for a majority of the trail and their paws got pretty beat up on the Rocky parts.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great place to backpack for the first time. Definitely worth the effort to make it up to a beautiful lake. Our trail was about 8 miles there and 8 miles back. The lake was clear enough for you to see the bottom and was pure enough for you to even drink (we filtered our water.) Must come with family and friends and bring a chair for star gazing. We decided to take the water taxi back to enjoy the lake and view. It was 14 dollars and person and you can either pay with cash or card when you get back to the main dock.

My lifesaver was a local who showed me around the non-paved path. The signing is really bad, but if you follow the river it will help. It is really beautiful though, lots of oak and wildlife, and the sound of the rushing river too. The paved path was a lot busier.

Rocky and only partially shaded, but leads to river access. Lightly trafficked when I visited. Trail starts at a park with bathrooms and you can either stay on the main trail or branch off. I think that is how people get lost. Fun with the right weather!

hiking
5 months 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.

Load More