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Tahoe Map

10-15-18 Parking lot is closed, but it is only 1/4 mile to the trailhead. Cascade Falls is to the left and this trail (to the right) appeared to be labeled Desolation Wilderness. The notice posted at the trailhead stated that from 8-29-18 until 12-31-20 the Desolation Wilderness is closed unless you have a permit (see photo). THERE ARE NO PERMITS IN THE BOX. Cascade Falls was awesome!

3 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 have mixed feelings about this hike.
The trailhead is somewhat easy to access (located at the very back of bay view campground). Limited parking especially on busy weekends.
You get incredible views of Emerald Bay from several view points on your way up.
There are lots of switchbacks on your way up. LOTS of elevation gain!
Granite Lake is lovely and a very nice place to take a breather.
There are two peaks:
The northern peak has better views of emerald bay. I did not see a clear trail to this peak.
The southern peak is about 200ft higher in elevation, has better views of desolation wilderness. The trail to this peak is very clear.
Dog friendly!

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.

A little steep at some points, but views at the end make it worth it

Quite windy today, but beautiful skies and miles and miles of visibility. Trail is in good condition, although a bit loose going up the last 3/4 mile (all walkable if careful)

Great view from the top!

This is an amazing hike! Anyone with some hiking experience can do it w/o a problem! It drizzled all the time but we still enjoy it very much! On a clear day the views must be breathtaking as they were on a rainy day! I totally recommend it!

This hike has great views. It's pretty moderate until the last mile, then it's steep. Bring poles, it can be pretty slippery. Lots of loose gravel and sand.

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

21 days ago

I've done this as a snowshoe day hike in the winter, an overnight backpacking with snowshoes in the winter, and a spring/summer hike. All times have been great with different experiences! One of my favorite go-to's when I need a quick hike that I'm familiar with and won't get lost.

Be advised - this trail is for LEASHED dogs only! And please be considerate of others who might have dog fears or leashed dogs with some aggression issues. I was appalled when I walked the trail yesterday!

Fun little hike before the snows return. If actually trying to bag the true summit keep in mind it’s the easternmost crag. Def a bit of exposed class 3 climbing to get up top but we still managed to get up in a little under two hours.

24 days 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...

Spectacular views on this well groomed trail!

loved this hike, steep but so worth it!

We did a two night trip here. We hiked to Grouse lake, which according our gps is 4.1 miles. It is a climb but all and all not to bad. We made our camp here. Gorgeous lake with brook trout jumping. The next morning we hiked up to Hemlock and Smith. My gps said 1.3 miles from grouse, Total elevation gain from Wright’s lake was 1704. Both were full of trout. All these lakes are worth the effort. The last section to smith is very steep, hard to find and follow the trail and has loose rock. The view to the west is amazing! I would consider the trail a mod/hard depending on your fitness. I’m 52 in ok shape and carried a 28 lb pack. It took me 2.5 to Grouse. From grouse to smith took about 45 minutes but some of that was looking for the trail at smith. One way the hike is approx 5.4 so total 10.8. Hard on the knees going down. Hiking poles are your best friend here

great vista views up and down

Tough hike, but the views along the way are breathtaking.

Such a beautiful and amazing hike. Great incline.

Great hike with amazing views! Going down was a little tough/slippery... bring gloves!

1 month ago

I have done castle Peak at least 5 times. I have completely circled it and spent a night at Warren lake. I have also done Andesite and Basin Peaks.This is an amazing area. It is loose and steep up the final ridge. Bring poles. Also you can park closer if you have a high clearance vehicle. We mad a video of our last ascent it can be found on YouTube at Chris and Bobs adventure channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpJF3zCamY0

Awesome trail! Well worth the effort! My wife and I hiked it with our 3 daughters, 4, 8, and 10. Took just a hair over 2 hours to get to the peak. Absolutely breathtaking views. And the girls loved it. Best hike ever.

Great day hike. Poles would've been a smart idea since it is rocky and slippery in spots. Beautiful views ❤️

Beautiful hike! Elevation gain from the start all the way up! View from the top is spectacular!

absolutely beautiful

Amazing hike. My Garmin clocked it at 4.5mi and about 1,400ft elevation gain...took us 3 hours round trip. Be prepared to climb - no rock scrambling but a lot of vertical starting at the trail head and going all the way up. Totally worth the work

From Smith Lake, we continued upward and climbed Crystal Range summits Agassiz Peak and Mt Price. My track is not the easiest way to do this, but it got the job done in a very eventful 10 hour hike. Our boulder hopping route to the notch on the ridge above Smith Lake was OK, but we would have been better served by then dropping down some into the Lyon’s Lake drainage instead of trying to traverse around the head of the canyon higher up. The large boulders up there made the walk extremely difficult, so we ended up dropping down anyway, but still not far enough to make for an easy passage through the head of the drainage. Climbing up the east side we did OK by staying low in grassy chutes and quickly made the ridge with a clear view and path to Agassiz and Price. We headed over the meadow to the low point on the ridge between the peaks, and once there decided to first bag Agassiz to the south. This was another mistake as the boulders high on the ridge were massive and the going up there very slow. A better approach would be to stay low on easier terrain until directly below, or maybe even a bit beyond, the peak then go straight up to it. We did make it our way, though, or at least to a few feet below the high point where we took a pass on the class 3 summit block. From there we dropped off Agassiz the way we should have come up, then by comparison, the half mile north to Mt Price was an easy class 2 walk in the park. From the summit of Price the views of Lake Aloha and so many other Desolation Wilderness lakes and peaks were spectacular and the sky was as smoke free as it had been in weeks. Our route for the return trip was OK though we initially aimed a little too high for the notch above Smith Lake when we might have done better staying lower on the Lyon drainage longer where the walking was easier. Another way to reach these peaks is to simply hike the drainage north from Lyon’s Lake then climb up the east side, as we did, to the large meadow west of the Price-Agassiz ridge. This hike would start at the Lyon’s Lake trailhead on Wright’s Lake Road and would be a few miles longer, but likely an easier hike. As it was, our route was 11.5 miles and 3638’ of gain. There’s no easy way to reach these peaks, but as the spectacular backbone of Desolation Wilderness, they are well worth the effort.

Lower section is open to high clearance vehicles in summer. Suggest taking Pacific Crest Trail to the junction near Castle Ridge. Also note short extension on PCT to Peter Grubb Hut at Round Meadow.

1 month 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.

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