Explore the most popular no dogs 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.

7 months ago

beautiful, well worth it.

Pyramid Peak has been a goal of mine for several years, and since we moved to Tahoe last year we decided to finally tackle it last week. We did this as an overnighter, camping at Lyons Lake. The trail up to the lake is an easy 5 miles or so, with plenty of magnificent wildflowers along the way. The half mile or so from the Sylvia cutoff is a bit steep but nothing crazy. Lyons lake is a great alternative to Sylvia; less buggy, less people, and a truly stunning view of the southern ridge of Mt Agassiz.

The next day we were on the trail by 7am and in a short time had ditched our packs and began up the scree field toward the southwestern ridge of Pyramid. The scree field is a bit taxing going up, and gets steeper toward the top, it was the toughest bit of the entire hike. Once at the top, head up the ridge along a vaguely defined path toward the summit. I'd often wondered what the summit view would look like and it blew me away, absolutely breathtaking...I didn't want to come down!

The trek back was long, as the descent requires care and the scree field especially was time consuming. I'll be back on one of the other routes next year, an amazing mountain!

Beautiful hike. Early morning is least populated.

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.

hiking
8 months 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

nice trail! I have done it half a dozen times! best time to do is winter with snowshoes!

hiking
8 months ago

Day hike starting from Glenn Alpine and ending at Clyde Lake.

Pros: beautiful changing scenery, plenty of lakes, wild flowers, fly fishing, day hike or overnight, moderate terrain with not too steep of an incline and then levels off.

Cons: Mosquitoes.

backpacking
8 months ago

Just got back from an amazing night at Middle Velma Lake with our pup. Got to ranger station at 720am on a saturday. Second in line to get our overnight permit. We parked at the Bayview trail head in the dirt, get there early it gets busy packed. The first two miles are dirt switch backs.. exhausting! After that it is another 4 miles of moderate downhill.

We found a spot down near the lake... the bugs came out around 7pm. Bring bug spray.

Overall wonderful trip. Pretty exhausted from the heat! drink lots of water. enjoy!

backpacking
9 months ago

One of my favorite lakes. Still mostly frozen and the trail is covered. But it keeps away the crowd.

9 months ago

Favorite hike in tahoe so far!

backpacking
9 months ago

Started from the campsite near Inspiration Point. Parking was a mess. Trail is pretty steep for the first 2 miles or so from the campsite parking until you reach the turn off to Maggie's Peak. 4.5 miles to Velma from this trailhead.

Trail was almost entirely clear of snow all the way to Middle Velma. We ended up staying the night at the "small" lake marked on the map right before Middle Velma. We were not able to continue on the main trail to the main lake due to high water levels. LOTS of water this time of year. And mosquitos. Still, beautiful trail in a stunning area of California.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice hike. Just know before you go that it is not a easy hike. The lake at the end of the trail is picture perfect. I am not sure if the distance is 1.8mile loop or more. Definitely feels longer.

Hey FYI according to the rangers there is no trail on the north east side of Rockbound Lake.

backpacking
10 months ago

Went in mid june 2016. Even though the weather was nice, it was chilly up on the trail! We went after a big snowfall, but do to sunshine, most of the snow was already gone with only a few rough patches of snow on the trail. The first 2 miles can be rough! Especially since it was our first backpacking trip, but definitely worth all the views. the trail is peaceful and very beautiful. Can't wait to go again this year!

backpacking
Monday, October 10, 2016

We hiked from Meeks to Echo over 4 days. Camped at Rubicon, Fontanilis and Aloha Lake. An Amazing time of year to go, still warm but with no bugs. The scenery can not be described and the the pictures fall short of showing the beauty. We got off trail by accident a couple of times but just added to the beauty, we seen a couple of lakes by accident. This was our first multi-day backpacking trip and learned a lot along the way. Already planning the next trip.

hiking
Saturday, October 01, 2016

Quite hard first couple miles, be prepared! If you go early morning, make sure you have proper wind protection, it might be windy and really really cool on the top (as of end of September).

Overall, amazing views, nature and mountains! Worth every minute spent.

hiking
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Self permit at the trailhead kiosk. Parking is crazy on the weekends so get there early. I would rate this trail somewhere between Moderate and Difficult, though it was not as difficult as Mt. Tallac the climb to the first lake is immediately steep and there are several up and down climbs throughout. Though unlike the Mt. Tallac trail there aren't places where you're in danger of losing your footing. It's a beautiful trail with views of lakes, granite peaks, and wildflowers. It can be crowded on the weekends between the trailhead and the turnoff to Eagle Lake.

backpacking
Sunday, September 18, 2016

This was an amazing hike it's graded moderate but was quite challenging. Several breath taking views made this hike more then worth the steep elevation climbs.

backpacking
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Me and two friends did it on labor day weekend. Make sure you buy a pass. We got stopped by a ranger and they verified we had one. 5 bucks at ranger station.

We started at the bayview trailhead and hiked to Middle Velma lake where we set up camp. Took about 3 hours with some snack and beautiful view stops and breaks along the way.

Hike back out took 2 hours. Mostly down hill on the way out. Way in is a steep climb the first half.

Lots of yellow jackets when we started near the cars but go away as you get on the trail and away from civilization. They don't bite but they might land on you.

We didn't encounter any mosquitos but still brung bug repellant.

It got cold at night. Bundle up for the night time. Lake was a bit cold to swim in this time of year too.

Best part was amazing views. No campfires allowed.

hiking
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Let me preface this by saying this is NOT a hike for the timid. After 5.25-mi hike to Sylvia, there's just 1-mi separating you from the summit, but about another 2,000' of elevation to gain.
The trail peters out after Sylvia, and from that point on you're on your own to find a way up to the summit. SummitPost has the scramble up the West Ridge rated as Class 2. I will say that this is one of the longer, and steeper scrambles that I've ever done in the Tahoe area.
After topping out on the West Ridge, there is a faint trail leading up to the final scramble to the summit. The view from the summit is highly rewarding and definitely worth the effort, but be mindful that the descent is equally as challenging as the ascent.
In total the hike took about 7 hours.

camping
Monday, August 15, 2016

First couple of miles are strenuous if you aren't accustomed to uphill hikes, but after Maggie's Peak it flattens out and the vistas are breathtaking. Great little hike.

backpacking
Thursday, August 04, 2016

My favorite lake in the Wilderness thus far (I've been to about 20 of em). It's a bit farther from
Aloha than our map showed, and the climb up to the trail split is deceiving, so allow a little extra time to get there (1.8 miles from Aloha/PCT split took us almost 2 hours). Once we arrived, we didn't want to leave. This is a hidden gem !!

hiking
Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Great views, did it in one day, took 7 hours. once you get past lake Sylvia there isn't much of a trail and much scrambling up the mountain. Hard is right.

not moderate

backpacking
Thursday, July 21, 2016

Backpacked to Lake Sylvia and spent the night. Next morning summited Pyramid Peak. Very difficult rocky climb, scrambling up boulders all the way. 50+ mph winds at the top. Outrageous view of Lake Tahoe and Aloha Lakes. Descent equally as tough.

Great weather! 4th of July weekend so it was busy.
I got started on the trail by 5:45am and reached the summit of Pyramid by 11:00 with plenty of breaks on the way.
Creek crossings were a little full from snow runoff but overall a beautiful trail.

backpacking
Monday, June 06, 2016

Beautiful area, great trail, quiet. There was still snow on the trail, which made it difficult in some areas. Incredible views, and incredibly peaceful.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

This is very difficult from the beginning but hang in there for some solitude when you go off trail to Lower Velma. One of my favs.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Awesome! First mile is straight up! Don't get discouraged... Every time you turn around... Another gorgeous lake! After going up for a lil' while, the rest of the hike is moderate at best.
Lakes were low but still beautiful! Trail is well marked! Des. wilderness is a sight to behold!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

A little hard to follow, but the views are stunning!

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