Explore To Do - 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
8 days ago

Love the history of the mansion. Be sure to read the info plates. Amazing views.

hiking
9 days ago

Easy trail. The water is crystal clear, and the scenery is beautiful.

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
24 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

THANK YOU to those who piled cairns/ducks, especially along 50. A great view awaits those that have the fortitude to climb the boulders at the top. We had no wind and the summit to ourselves.

Excellent hike and knock out views.

hiking
1 month ago

It was a pretty easy trail to take and the views at the bottom on the lake are amazing. I went on a Friday and I only came across 5 people the whole time

hiking
1 month ago

Tough trail. It’s all up hill to the peak then you have to climb boulders to the top. Nice views though.

DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE THIS TRAIL!!!
If you are not in fairly decent shape, and used to hiking at higher altitudes, I would not recommend you try this. The cardio vascular demand isn’t crazy, but you will find that if you don’t have decent leg strength/endurance, you may not make it to the top. First mile and last mile are definitely the hardest, with the second mile leveling out to a tolerable incline.

There is intermittent rock scrambling throughout the entire trail. Footing can be questionable through out it as well.

As for the trail head, it is not visible from the road. I built several rock cairns at the point where you have to scramble/climb up the embankment. It opens up immediately onto the trail head. There are cairns through out the trail as well. Pay attention to them.

Sustained winds at the top. Bring layers.

The hike down, make sure you follow your all trails app. It’s easy to get off the path when you get goin at a decent speed.

For two girls in decent shape and experienced hikers, it was roughly 4 hours up, 2 hours down, with about an hour at the top.

Probably the best views in the area.

Beautiful!! Offering different scenery’s

Lost camelbak backpack with Sony camera and REI trekking poles in small parking area near trailhead on September 29, 2018. If you found them, please call or text Phillip at 916-205-1028. Thanks!

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

We hiked up to Pyramid Peak on Saturday, 9/15/18.

We started at the Lyons Creek Trailhead. That was 5 miles to Lake Sylvia. Then we climbed up to the notch. We began our climb at 12:20PM and reached the Peak at 3:22PM.

This was an incredible hike. When we arrived at Lake Sylvia and saw the “notch” it was overwhelming. We definitely had to reassure ourselves that we could make it up. After seeing some folks go up, we decided to move forward. We didn’t come this far just to get this far. We were going to summit Pyramid Peak. We decided to climb the big boulders instead of taking the zig zag trail straight up to the notch. The smaller rocks and dirt was extremely dry and loose. We climbed up the boulders up to a big tree and then cut across the top to the notch. It was definitely the better choice. Once we reached the top, it was wide and flat up on the ridge. There wasn’t really a trail so we followed cairns and used our GPS to guide us towards the peak. It took us 3 hours from the bottom of the lake up to Pyramid Peak, recording 2 miles worth of hiking and climbing. It was extremely sunny AND windy. We wore buffs and had our hoodies up. We were completely covered. The top views were amazing and thrilling. There are forts above to help with not getting blown away by the wind. We stayed for an hour and then headed back down. Unfortunately we didn’t monitor our way down and followed our friend, in which we ended up going the wrong way for a good mile or so, headed south instead of west. We had to back track a little and then cut across West to get us back to the notch. This extended our descent time by a lot. It took us 3 hours to reach the top and 4 hours to get back, for a total of 7 hours and 5 miles. Whew!

TIPS:
Climb the boulders up to the notch instead of the trail of loose rocks and dirt.
Once on top of the ridge, follow the cairns (stacked rocks), but also check your GPS or have a compass to help direct your way up to the peak.
When returning, make sure you check your navigation and go back the way you came (unless you are going a different route).

It was a great hike and I would do it all over again (except for the getting lost part lol).

Great hike.

Amazing! Do it.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice easy trail, good for a quick trip down to the lake.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

We were looking for both a challenging and beautiful hike, and we couldn’t have been more fulfilled. Expect 3.5 miles of straight uphill with little to no change in leveling out. The first and last miles up are the steepest, with parts of the granite bouldering being performed on all fours just to ensure an injury-free ascend to the summit. The views are spectacular from the top and you definitely feel a sense of accomplishment for scaling the highest peak in Desolation Wilderness. It took us just over 3 hours to get up and 2 hours to get back down. The steep downhill for the entire second half of the hike was more physically demanding than the ascend. Better not skip out on leg day at the gym if you wanna power up and down this peak. The trail head off of Hwy 50 was a challenge to find at the start, but use the AllTrails app and you run right into it. Amazing hike and worth all the effort put in!

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.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Sunday afternoon 8/26. Amazing. Above valley smoke. Blue skies. 3 hrs up. 2 hrs down (plus 1/2 mile each way on highway 50). Physically demanding hike worth the work. Met some cool hikers at the peak. Layer up for 20kt sustained winds at the peak.

2 months ago

I found this hike to be a great destination hike. Down hill all the way there and pretty much up hill all the way back. So those with any issues with knees, hips, heart may need to think about this. Moderate is a true rating. Pretty smooth trail as it was an old road. Beautiful destination when you reach the lake.

Crazy Hike! Get lots of water, you'll feel the hike in your legs for a week if you're not a pro! View from top is outstanding!

Honestly one of my favorite hikes in the area. Steep trail and hard to find trail head, but just use the app and you can’t miss it. The views are literally insane at the top. I’ve done every other summit in the area, but this for some reason remains in my top 3.

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.

If you skip leg day, then you should skip this trail. It’s short, but it’s steep. There is little let up of the incline. The views from the top are totally worth the effort.

Great hike but really challenging! Need enough hydration to complete during summer.

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