Explore Summer/ Fall - 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
2 days ago

Beautiful hike, recommend it. Not that tough, but longer than 6.4. I recorded just over 10 total from PCT trailhead to Overlook and back. ( More to enjoy the way I see it!)

Nicely maintained but very rocky. Not difficult. Beautiful surroundings and vistas.

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.

Well maintained trail.

hiking
25 days 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

backpacking
27 days ago

Such a great trail! We did a two day backpacking trip, low key and so refreshing.

We went around clockwise, camping by the Government Meadow overnight. We stayed on top of a rock formation (which was a mistake, way too windy) but I would recommend it as a place to catch a killer sunset! There are plenty of nice flat open spaces near the creek, they are easy to spot as logs are usually arranged around the remains of a fire pit.

There is a lovely open area to set up camp about 2 miles in, if you go counter clockwise, on the other side of a bridge. It looks like you could lounge around this mellow part of the creek, and it would be great for swimming on a sunny day.

We picked up our permit at the Ranger Station in Pioneer. It added an extra 30-40 minutes to our drive coming from SF, so if you can get your permit at a station off of 50, you'd save yourself some time.

hiking
28 days ago

This hike was 80% inclined. My 12 year old did not complain once on the hike, he enjoyed the view. I am not in the best shape or avid hiker but managed to reach the cliff. This hike was not worth it for me. Not alot of people on the trail. Please make sure to wear hiking boots. A friend decided to wear tennis shoes and slip 3 different time.

I was in the Tahoe City area for a couple days and decided to go for a hike. This trail was a great challenge and with beautiful views. The information from prior reviews was helpful in making my way through the granite section. The marks on the rocks were helpful in making my way.

Beautiful!! Offering different scenery’s

fantastic views ..great rock seating on overlook for a lunch or as I did a peacefull place to do yoga and back stretching..nice hat fit testing winds before you split off Warren lake trail coming thru and up a meadow..clear sky views ...would rate it moderate to hard..just if ur doing some selfies at the overlook don't push it..looks like some pretty extensive damage can come ur way ..hit it last saturday..couple people heading to warren lake..nice 1/2 day hike

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views! A lot of climbing but worth it. Stopped at Summit Lake as well, another lovely lake! Off the try the Castle Peak connection...

hiking
1 month 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

hiking
1 month ago

Had a view of the lake along a great deal of the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

It was a beautiful day to hit this trail for the first time. It has a few good strenuous sections but all in all it is not too challenging. Good mixture of sun and shade and the meadows are stunning. Very quiet with few other hikers!

hiking
2 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
2 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
2 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.

backpacking
2 months ago

Stopped at this overlook on my way to Warren’s lake! Great little spot to take in some beautiful views of Frog Lake and the surrounding areas. Sat on the rocks and ate some lunch. Went about 730am on Saturday. Only person on the trail. Mostly shaded by trees all the way up. Great work out.

hiking
2 months ago

Pretty but mostly in trees. Pretty flat. Would be more fun on a bike than the hike.

hiking
2 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.

8-AUG-2018

Great day Hike! yes the first 2 miles or so are tough, but take periodic breaks every 15 minutes or so and you'll make it. The trail levels out around 2.5 miles and the rest is really easy going. It took me 2 hours and 1 minute to reach the Resovior, and an hour and 30 minutes to get back without any stops. Overall a very fun hike, I couldn't see many views due to all the smoke but what I saw was nice.

hiking
2 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
2 months ago

Beautiful shoreline and extremely well-maintained trail. Even ran into a CCC crew working the trail and thanked them for their service. We ended up diverging down to the Pleasant Boat-in Campground and spent the night there. We fished the shoreline around the campground and managed to catch a few small rainbow trout.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a perfect hike. It wasn't a ton of elevation climb, the temperature was warm but not too hot. We stopped about 3/4 of the way and ate lunch overlooking the lake and nearby mountains.

The only thing that was confusing was getting there. Google maps was inaccurate about the trailhead based off the coordinates of Alltrails. You have to actually go INSIDE Loon lake campground, pay the $8 for a day pass then follow signs for "Wilderness parking".

Really liked this hike. Easy slope to start and a tougher climb towards the end, but the views at the end are worth it. The trail links up with PCT and Summit lake trails too if you're looking for something a little longer. Only downside was having highway 80 right below you, it can be heard during most of the hike.

backpacking
2 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.

Great area, pretty funny essentially walking around a ski resort I’ve been to a dozen times in the winter. We continued along the pct and climbed granite chief which is a pretty casual peak to bag. Like others have said, download the all trails trail map or use your gps early on to save yourself some backpedaling. After a mile or so everything is pretty well defined and the trail is tough to lose but at the beginning it seems to go in a half dozen different unmarked directions!

backpacking
2 months ago

I got engaged here! It was super pretty and the falls are impressive in the amount of water coming down, also if you are trying to sleep there are not many flat surfaces to sleep. If you are trying to fish you can catch plenty of brook and rainbow since they are hungry.

hiking
2 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.

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