nature trips

wild flowers




trail running



dog friendly

dogs on leash


Waterfalls, alpine lakes, crashed aircraft, boat-in camping & bald eagles are just a few things found in these mountains Desolation Wilderness is an area in the Sierra Mountain range where natural beauty abounds.  The elevation ranges from roughly 4,000 ft. to roughly 9,700 ft (Pyramid Peak). The weather can be extreme and flash storms happen unexpectedly. Camping, hiking, snowshoeing and rock crawling are just a few examples of the outdoor activities that we enjoy here in "Desolation".  If you're used to the big city you'll find Desolation to be a freeing experience. This wild open area has few rules by comparison to most of California. It's pet friendly and you can plunk down camp in many waterside locations without paying a dime or dealing with neighbors. The elevation is above where poison oak grows and this means bush whacking is a little less worrisome. Ample lakes and trails can make for a whole lot of entertainment. Trail hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and motorcycle touring are some of the most popular. The Rubicon is a trail that runs west from the Lake Tahoe shore and 4X4 drivers seem to have a blast there. Day hikes can be coupled with kayaking in places like Wrights's Lake, Loon Lake and Echo Lakes. In the spring, roughly March through May, snow melts in the high country and creates majestic waterfalls throughout this region. Horsetail falls and Bassi Falls are two of the best. In Tell's Creek, just off Icehouse Rd., there are remnants of a crashed B-17 that's a bit spooky to see.  Paved bike trails span a portion of Union Reservoir and this provides a very fast way to see a large piece of the wilderness with a few hours of riding. A weekend in Desolation Wilderness can be a very affordable way to get away for a while. Be sure to visit the ranger station in Fresh Pond on your way up. You can get a free campfire permit here along with the latest printed information pamphlets for the area. The folks who work there can even help you plan your trip into this wonderful backcountry area. Tips Breaking an ankle or wondering into an area that you're unfamiliar with can mean an unexpected overnighter in the woods. Freak weather changes and even wild animals can create survival challenges for people and their pets. Having communication systems like radios and cell phones that are fully charged can make all the difference in getting to safety after an emergency situation in Desolation. Hazards: Mountain lions, bears, and coyotes rarely attack people but carrying a bit of pepper spray may help you feel more confident if you're confronted. Avalanches, whiteout snow storms and heavy rain storms can leave you cold and wet. Slippery granite near waterfalls have caused injury and death. Unlike in the Mokelumne Wilderness, cell phones actually work in Desolation Wilderness. There are cell phone towers on top of Big Hill and locations from Ice House rd over to Wright's Lake get excellent reception (at least with AT&T).  At Loon Lake cell phones become useless though.  When all else fails, an amateur radio license and a decent portable HAM radio can be a life saver. If you're a licensed HAM then you can use the 2 meter, 146.805 repeater in the event of emergency. An alternative to ham radios are the Garmin Rino series GPS/radio combinations. They will allow you to communicate with your group and even send your GPS coordinates to each other.

Easy to hike to upper falls for kids

This hike is hard. Most people find their own way up to the west ridge which can be very hard. That's what my group did and was fine until we got hailed on! We continued after the clouds went away and scrambled up the rocks to the summit! Very rewarding! On our way back down the thunderstorms started up again! And had to take shelter from the rain and hail. Eventually it stopped and on our way back down we found a trail that goes up the west ridge! The start is right across lake Sylvia as you reach it. There's usually a small snow bank on the other side of the lake and once you scramble up a bit you can find a trail that'll take you up to the west ridge! I wish we had known that earlier! You'll follow the ridge to the base of he summit where you scramble up the boulders.

This small and hidden trail can make a huge difference!

Bringing a jacket and extra(or wool) socks is highly recommended even if it's sunny outside, better to be prepared than to be soaking wet.

15 hours ago

on Eagle Lake Trail

20 hours ago

1 day ago

Beautiful hike!! A little steep and rocky by Lake Tamarack but not bad. Breathtaking views! Lake Aloha is absolutely AMAZING! I will be returning. Water taxi is convenient and $14 per person one way. Don't forget mosquito repellent.

2 days ago

One of the most beautiful hike I've done but the busiest too. The trail is very rocky and it did gave us a workout. Definitely not for beginners. Hiking poles were a big help especially going downhills back to echo lake. Lake Aloha is gorgeous. I must go back there again but with at least one night of stay.

2 days ago

Did a quick out and back hike to look for backpacking trails. Found my next trip

This is now my favorite local trail. There was a cool ice cave right before lake heather and lake aloha was just beautiful!

Make sure you bring mosquito repellent. It was impossible to stop at the first few creeks and ponds without being swarmed by them

I was there last week. Beautiful canyon and lake. Lots of steps. A steady ascent. Well maintained trail. Mixed shade along trail. A popular place on a Thursday so the weekends must be packed. We parked up the street a ways, south of trailhead. Well worth the trek.

3 days ago

Did this trail two days back. Steady climb. Lots of waterfalls and wildflowers on the way. The view is great too and it never gets boring. If you have a filter, you need not carry a lot of water. Went on to climb Mt. Tallac. If you are not in the best of shape but want to climb Tallac, this is probably the best route.

on Lake Aloha Trail

3 days ago

Wonderful views. The snow is mostly melted and is easy to cross.

It's a very hard hike but the view at the summit is breathtaking.It's worth every effort.