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great hike

hiking
29 days 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
29 days 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.

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
1 month ago

This is a really good trail, with outstanding scenery.

Like Albert below, I did this trail in reverse and started with the steep ascent up to the saddle. I didn’t actually find it hard to spot the trail at all, although I did it today (October 22) and it was fairly well worn in after a season. I think going uphill makes the trail easier to spot too. In spring or summer the leaves on the bushes might make it a little trickier. Either way, don’t be put off by the reviews below.

After reaching the saddle the rest of the route was mainly downhill, with the additional advantage that most of the views are in front of you as you walk.

It took me 7 and a quarter hours with plenty of breaks, and my watch says that my moving time was 5 and a half hours. My watch recorded the route as 22.3km or 13.8 miles, which is a bit longer than AllTrails describes it.

Thoroughly good trail, and I’d love to do it again.

hiking
1 month 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

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing, beautiful, majestic! Mellow climb the entire way, nothing to make the rating more than moderate. BUT!!! Beware the last two miles unless you have the gift of clairvoyance and are a mountain goat. The trail becomes hard to find along a steep cliff side. I lost the trail multiple times whilst crawling along the mountain slopes. It was difficult but the views.... the views were amazing. I would recommend the last stretch only for serious hikers/climbers.

hiking
2 months ago

This was an amazing trail. It's a great deep dive into Desolation with visits to multiple lakes and sweeping views, despite not including scaling a peak. Each leg of the trail is more spectacular than the last, and it's gorgeous from the start. The view of Lake Aloha from the top of Mosquito pass is stunning. There's still plenty of water in parts of Aloha despite it being so late in the season. I'm looking forward to doing this one again early next summer.

Beautiful!! Offering different scenery’s

I did this hike on 8/28/18. The climb up from the trailhead is a pretty good pull but not too tough. The views at the summit are really nice. The trail to Velma Lakes is kind of barren and desolate, I'm thinking now I know why it's called Desolation Wilderness. At the first lake it was so beautiful I was really glad I had my camera. Went over to see Middle Velma then turned back and headed to Fontanillis Lake. Once again I was glad to have brought my camera! From there I stopped at Dicks Lake, then took the Eagle Falls trail back to The trailhead. What a wonderful hike and not too hard. I love the Desolation Wilderness.

hiking
2 months ago

I did this hike two weeks ago and it was great! I starting in the direction of the Tamarac Trail instead of Glen Alpine and I was glad because the trail is kind of tough and hard to follow till you get to the top. I would rather get the hardest part of the hike over early when I have more energy, wouldn't have wanted to come down this way after a long hike. The view of the Echo Lakes and Tamarac and Ralston Lakes are great. I also stopped by Lake of the Woods, it hardly adds much time to the trip and is well worth it. This was my first time seeing Lake Aloha and I think it is spectacular. The water level was pretty low but i think it made the visual impact even more dramatic. l'm looking forward to going back in the late spring to see it with more water. Heather and Suzie Lakes are great as is the rest of the trail to Glen Alpine Trailhead.I thought only the Tamarac trail was hard and the rest of the trip is moderate hiking. This is one of the best hikes I've had and I love the Desolation Wilderness.

hiking
2 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

Lush, beautiful views, not strenuous. Very worthwhile.

hiking
3 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.

trail running
3 months ago

Amazing views. It is so lush and green it is almost surreal. However, it is only about 3 miles out and back because the trail became so overgrown that, after crawling through some pretty treacherous forested areas the path eventually closed and we had to turn back.

Like Adam Ruff says below, it was the perfect overnight trip :). We started with the Tamarack Trail and camped at Susie Lake and did Mt. Tallac before heading home. It was surprisingly warm at night. This is a gorgeous place to visit and a great trail to explore it with. Note: The trailhead was tricky to find. It starts out winding uphill into thick vegetation. Be in good shape if you plan to complete this trail in two days.

backpacking
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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.

Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop Day Hike. This phrase on the description of this hike is what inspired me to do this hike: "This is a multi day backpacking trip that requires navigational and back country skills." I agree with the fact it requires more than beginner skills, but it can be done as a day hike. Trail is completely open and now one of my favorites in the southern Desolation Wilderness area. Stunning views of Crystal Range around every corner and a new lake it seems every mile or so, however, Aloha, Twin Lakes and Smith Lake now have company with Heather Lake top my list of backcountry lakes . Aloha is getting low now for the season, all other lakes still full-ish. I choose Tamarak Trail up towards Aloha and then finished with Tallac Summit. Not for a beginner as some terrain is very unstable, but if you've done Desolation hikes before, and felt you needed more, this is your one. Would have been a perfect overnight hike/camp.

3 months ago

What a gem of a lake. well worth the hike.

backpacking
3 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 conditions today.. nice running route with amazing Kauai views

hiking
4 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.

hiking
4 months 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.

Great views, cool wildlife/birds, and amazing flowers along the trail and lots of vegetation. Plenty of lookouts and panoramic views. I recommend definitely go past the bridge at the end of K. Trail. Go onto the M. Trail and do both trails combined!

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
4 months 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!

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