Explore Summer Hikes - 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

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.

This is my second time hiking this trail. This place is quickly becoming overcrowded and abused. Lots of toilet paper and human waste at Penner lake. Disappointing to see so many careless hikers and campers there.

I will not be coming back here. Trash, left over garbage in the shore of the lake, it’s sad.

Amazing views!

Easy and gorgeous trail

Brilliant and spectacular!!!!

It's also important the company you keep on the trail to share the scenery with. Moderate hike, exciting views, with many multiple opportunities to expand your exploration.

on Echo Lakes Trail

hiking
4 days ago

This is an amazing hike. I went out and back from echo lake trailhead to tamarack lake in 4 hours. It’s a hell of a hike without much shade. There aren’t any steep climbs but don’t expect a nice dirt trail as it’s mostly rocks. Nice views along echo lake.

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
5 days ago

It isn't too smokey to hike here (Aug 2018) but views are not what they are when it is clear. We just spent a couple nights by Rock Lake and Jamison which are both nice. The hike into the lakes from the mine is uphill, hot at mid-day. and rocky, but with nice forested areas, a waterfall, small streams, interesting geology and good views. Nice stars at night despite all the fires to the north and south. It took us about 2 hours to hike in, and 1 hour to get out. We really enjoyed hiking up to Mt Washington from Jamison - it is an exposed, difficult rock scramble at the summit, but beautiful!

hiking
5 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!

hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful hike. Lower and upper lake taxi tour is a fun extra. Hiked the PCT to Tamarak lack last year. There was still a lot of snow so we trekked back earlier than expected. Will do this one again for sure!

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.

Nice trail. Beautiful views.

backpacking
11 days ago

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

Nice mix of rocky path and forested trail, sun and shade.

Great trail! Smokey from the fires but still pretty! We will be back to backpack in and stay a night. Easy trail too!

went last year. got whooped and had the time of my life. anazing area. can't wait to go back.

hiking
14 days ago

This trail was rough on my knees because of all the rocks and large steps, but the view at the top was worth it! We made it to the lake and went swimming, and hiked back down shortly after. Also visiting the waterfall on the way down was my favorite part, also it was quite steep climbing down to it. I don't recommend it for anyone who doesn't have great balance or strength to climb back up.

hiking
15 days ago

Go early and wear sunscreen, and you will love this trail. I don’t usually like out and back trails but this is a highlight of our week. I’m not sure you can find an empty trail in late July so we were thrilled that it was such light traffic. Also, the adventurous can go beyond the lake for a longer trip. Those who are tired can do the water taxi return for $14. Highly recommend.

I’ve hiked this trail many times over the years. Very beautiful and fairly easy for beginning hikers.

Echoing other reviews, the road in is a bit rough but the trail is great and moderately challenging in difficulty. We had great views that were hindered by the smoke from all the fires. I definitely concur with the earlier reviewer’s recommendation to return via the windswept Sand Ridge trail. It gives you great views all around.

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
17 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.

hiking
18 days ago

Nice mix of terrain but not much shade and can get hot, lakes and creek are nice place to cool off. On my trip to Island Lake we didn't see a lot of places to easily relax by the lake but we didn't explore all around the lake either. As others have stated, picking up the trail on the granite sections may be more difficult for newer hikers.

Fantastic hike. I recommend for experienced hikers only.

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..

backpacking
20 days ago

This trail was great. Signage was lacking in some spots, so have a reliable GPS on hand (Gaia GPS). Beautiful views and sawmill lake was a great spot to camp. This was my first backpacking trip (day one of three was on this trail) and moderate is accurate in my opinion as someone who cycles/runs/hikes 5/6 days per week. We were on this trail on a Weds and didn’t see a soul. It was amazing!

This trail has become one of our favorite trails in the El Dorado/ Tahoe area. The views from the Hemlock and Smith Lake are amazing (there was even some snow on the northeast side of the lake, where the granite wall prevents the sun from reaching).
The full trail (back and forth) is 9.8 miles instead of 5.5 miles as originally reported (we had a tracking device that recorded the distance and altitude gain; and if you check the full map here and add the distances, you'll see that it's close to 5 miles one-way).
As mentioned before, the trail is well-visible until a certain point (up to where it splits with the Twin Lakes 16E12); from that point on, it's essential to have some guidance (the AllTrails map works great), keep an eyes on the stacked rocks too.
On our way back, we saw some commotion due to someone getting lost (there are too many splits) and the Rangers and El Dorado Police had to be called (when we got back to the parking lot, we heard that they had found the guy).

If you are going on a weekend, chances are that the parking lot by the trailhead will be full. Don't park by the cabins or by the road or you will get a ticket. Park at one of the two Wrights Lake parking lots.

on Lake Aloha Trail

22 days ago

, v. .

23 days ago

This was a really beautiful hike but I thought the trail could have been market better. We somehow veered left somewhere on the tail and ended up very lost and had to climb up a lot of rocks to get back to the trail. If you don’t get lost, this trail is great and the lake at the top is very refreshing on a warm day!

Well marked trail that intersects with a few others. If you are interested in taking a swim, I'd suggest going counter clockwise at the start/Y. This will put you at the best swimming lake (Round) just over halfway in the loop. Round has a nice beach at the southernmost part of the trail. I estimate water temp at 70-72 degrees. Lots of folks and kids were swimming.

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