Explore the most popular dog friendly trails in Desolation Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
4 days ago

Backpacked to Island Lake July 6-8 and loved it. The area is super beautiful and is only a 3-4 mile hike from the trailhead. One day we did a day hike up to Mount Price and get a look at Lake Aloha. Overall a great place for a low mileage backpacking trip! Here is my full report with pics: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/desolation-wilderness-twin-lakes/

backpacking
5 days ago

Backpacked in on the 3rd and out on the 5th. Wrights Lake Road is now open again for access, so you don't need to go through Ice House Road. it's a much shorter drive to and from US50 from Wrights Lake Road to the trailhead. The trail is pretty clearly marked, and parts where it wasn't, we went ahead and rebuilt some of the cairns that had appeared to have fallen apart. When you get closer to the lake, there are 2 paths that will take you on either side of the lake. Do not attempt to go around the lake, since there are unstable boulders and no clearly defined path. Instead, go back to the area near the shallow water fall just below the lake, and go in either direction, you should be able to find the trails easily from this point. I brought my ultralight fishing gear and caught a lot of brook trout. Luckily the fishing was good because we had left a few packs of food at home so we were a bit short. There wasn't much in the way of wildlife up there, but we saw some marmots and chipmunks. The wind up there was pretty bad over the few days, but otherwise it was a beautiful, relaxing time at this less populated lake in Desolation Wilderness.

on Island and Twin Lakes

7 days ago

Beware the trail as pictured past Twin Lakes dissolves into a rocky hard scramble and unsafe water crossing trying to get back to Twin Lakes. I wouldn't recommend it for others to follow.

13 days ago

Great Lake to stay at before heading up to Mt Tallac. Beautiful lake, we went on a busy weekend and still didn’t see too many people. You can get a good campsite off the trail.

hiking
16 days ago

This trail was absolutely beautiful last Sunday! The granite slabs were well-marked with rock piles to follow until the trail started again on the other side, and if you stray off on accident you can just look for the closest cairn or line of rocks. Bring lots of water and sunscreen as much of the trail is exposed — better yet, bring a water filter and drink from the fresh waterfalls!
As of last Sunday, Wrights Lake Road was open from Highway 50 to the overflow parking lot by the camping area, so there’s an additional 3/4 mile hike from there to the trailhead. The parks crew at the trailhead said the road set to be fully open by this weekend.

hiking
17 days ago

Nice hike with some great views and plenty of places to pull off and enjoy. Lots of people if you get there anytime after 8-9am. Couldn't make it all the way, as there was still snow on the trail. Parking at the trailhead or along the road.

Wrights Lake is where this is located. Twin Lakes are very small but nice. Wrights Lake Rd is closed from hwy 50 and has been for a few years now and CalTrans has done nothing to fix it. In order to get there you need to take Ice House Lake Rd off of Hwy 50. Follow it until you see the turn off to the right for Ice House Lake which is 1 mile in from main rd. There is a fork in the road. Go left and follow the signs for Wrights Lake. Approx 10 miles. Make a left onto Wrights Lake rd and go about 2 to 4 miles to Wrights Lake. You can walk around either side of the lake to find Twin Lakes. If you want an awesome hike..go up Rock Bound Pass to PCT..Thats a great hike and can be done in 1 day if in great shape. If not so much take basic overnight gear and camp up there for 1 to 3 days. Sign in at the rangers station there so they know that you are out there in the event of an emergency in the area.

The Wright's lake recreation area was still closed so we parked in parking area just outside of gate. made our hike about 1 mile longer but it was a flat easy mile. once you hit the trail head its up hill pretty much the whole way. mostly sunny hiking with some shady spots. 2 small creek crossings. Some areas the trail is easy to follow. other areas you have to stop and look for cairns or follow. Not to difficult to keep on trail if you are observent. Strenuous hike but well worth it especially when you get to twin lakes. Amazing views at the lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail! Amazing views everywhere! I was pretty the only hiker on the trail on the way up until I ran into some backpackers. Perfect trail to enjoy some solitude. There are not many signs, but I just followed the stacked rocks and found the trail fine. Also, the trail is pretty much snow-free, but the road to the main parking lot is still closed so I ended up hiked a mile from overflow parking lot to the trail head.

Absolutely beautiful hike. Lots of waterfalls on the way up to the lakes and not too many hikers in the late spring. Parts of the trail are not well marked, which can get confusing at times. Fortunately, the trail follows a river most of the way, so it’s hard to get too lost. The views of the peaks and lakes at the end of the trail are well worth the trip!

Fantastic views. Very busy with a lot of dogs. Wonderful hike.

Went a week ago and reached Island Lake wearing hiking boots. Snow coverage made navigation difficult especially as it became darker, so bring a GPS to re-trace your steps. I recommend wearing microspikes and gaiters as the trail was covered with compacted snow in many areas. Use the natural landscape such as creeks, melting snow and treeline for navigation. Dirt road to Twin Lakes had a couple hills with deep snow patches so bring chains just in case. The view of the mountains from Island Lake was incredible!

Decent trail a lot of ice in December
Would be great in spring

backpacking
8 months ago

Went September 2017. Easy hike to the lakes. Even if you get off trail there’s tons of cairns to always help out. Got hailed on but it quickly dried up!Too windy to fly fish. Lots of off trail explorations with easy exposed granite as access.Mosquitoes not a problem due to constant low mph wind.

on Island and Twin Lakes

hiking
8 months ago

This hike is the one I have enjoyed the most, the hike encompasses all kinds of terrain. It was too windy when I reached the lake and could barely stay for 15 mins by the water. The trail is not well marked and uses cairn as trail marker, As the 2nd half of the trail is through rocky terrain and has scattered stones, it is very easy to miss the cairn especially while on the return and possible to get lost. It is advisable to have the compass and Map and rely on that for this hike.
All said and done, The hike is more pleasurable for a moderate hiker than the scenery around the lake. One must hike this trail at least once.

Awesome hike. Can't wait to do it again. Day trip today but would like to overnight next time.

backpacking
9 months ago

Twin Lakes is absolutely stunning. I backpacked there from Grouse and stayed one night - it gets VERY windy at night and I was not expecting that. Other than that, beautiful lakes with amazing rock formations and mountains surrounding. Fun boulders to climb over and take pictures on. The trail at times is difficult to follow so you have to pay close attention. Previous hikers have formed a path out of rocks, so look out for the rocks and follow them to the lakes.

I went 10/1/2017. We started the hike at 10 am on a Sunday and hardly anyone was on the trail, mostly a few backpackers. it's gorgeous. Not overwhelming at all, great for a semi challenging mellow hike. I can't wait to introduce it to more friends.

Went up via Glen Alpine, great little hike. Was surprised to see so much water still, the falls were running strong! Here's to another great winter!

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked here from Aloha Lake - ~10 mi round trip. Steep climb up to the lake, but lovely little lunch spot. Had hoped to summit to Mt Tallac but had to turn back due to the time. Plenty of spots to camp around if you get up here!

on Island and Twin Lakes

10 months ago

vast expanses of granite, beautiful river, dramatic peaks, clear lakes, lush vegetation, nothing not to love. definitely go all the way to island lake. the trail is hard to find but you don't really need it. just back track a bit from twin lakes and cross the river to get on the left side of it and head to the back of the basin. also I should mention that I got stuck in a thunder storm which was not at all fun. take the forecast seriously!

hiking
10 months ago

This trail was absolutely wonderful! It started out a little steep but leveled out after the first mile or so. Ran into a few people on the way up to twin lakes. Ate lunch at the lake and took a swim in the FREEZING water! On the way back down we stopped at a waterfall on the side of the trail where we swam in the warmer water. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!!!!

backpacking
10 months ago

Parked at Rockbound parking area headed up to twin lakes. The walk to the lake is mostly up hill and as you get into the Desolation Wilderness the path became a little harder to follow. Just getting back into backpacking and I am not in the best shape so you can take this with a grain of salt. I found the hike to be rather difficult. Worth it, but difficult.

Very pretty with some awesome few's looking back toward Wrights Lake. Several spots with water, rivers, and waterfalls. The sound of water is all around and several birds and lizards. The trail was fairly busy with many folks bringing dogs. Snow was still to be seen around the lakes.

backpacking
10 months ago

backpacking
10 months ago

Tough climb with a heavy pack but well worth the effort. Me and my wife chose this hike for our first backpack trip. The views were unbelievable, only two other campsites were in this zone of desolation wilderness, and the lakes were warm enough to swim in. Many wild flowers and streams flowing in between the lakes. Boomerang lake is deep enough for 10 ft cliff jumping, twin lakes has a beautiful waterfall flowing into it, and island lakes is a paradise. There is no good way to reach the rest of desolation from this zone. Plan to hike back out of this area in order to reach more terrain in desolation wilderness.

One of the most inspiring hikes . Breath taking beauty . flowers, str-eams. lakes vistas Incline is what Iwould Call moderate plus! But worth it . Patches of snow at twin lakes places the trail up was confusing and unclear we lost it 3 times, but after side bunny paths we would reconnect again . she way back was more Clear because you could see down fartheR and see the path . Going up there are many possible . forks & not clear indicators in a few places. Ighess we missed . everyone: But we made it! on the way back CloudsCame in & thunder rolled which added to the whole experience . Will definitely do again.

backpacking
10 months ago

Spent one night there with my 12yr old daughter and some fiends. Great spot to fish, swim, explore, and enjoy the scenery.

hiking
11 months 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.

backpacking
11 months ago

Trail is well maintained, with a steady climb though you must like steps! Went the first week of August, found a wonderful camp site and were treated to a full bloom of wildflowers. Climbed Mt Tallac to a magnificent view of Lake Tahoe. Word of warning bring your bear can or be prepared to do a bear hang; our last night there one of the fellow campers had a bear visit their camp.

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