Explore the most popular wild flowers 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.

Great hike. We were headed to campers flat for an over night. We did encounter a mountain lion in the rock field before the creek prior to Middle Velma. We did see a ranger the next day on the way out and he confirmed that there was one in the area. It was a great weekend and recommend this to anyone. Bring water and/or water filter. If your in good condition this is a fun hike if not you may have a time of it. Remember - enjoy the journey.

hiking
2 days ago

This was my second time hiking Pyramid Peak. Last year around September I did it for the first time and always wanted to come back. It is such amazing. We underestimated the hike last year and wasn’t preapared enough and the trail was covered with snow on the top to some extent. This time we started the hike around 08:00 in the morning and we were back by 04:30. The first one and half mile will be a straight vertical climb, so is the last one and half mile which involves scrambling rocks to get to the summit. The rest of the hike has a gradual elevation gain. But, trust me the views from the top are worth every effort. They are amazing. Lake Tahoe, Lake Aloha, Echo Lake and Fallen leaf lake are visible from the top. Better to carry around 100-120 Oz of water and a good snack to have once you reach the summit. Knees might take a hit while coming down. Overall, this is one of the best and tough hikes in the tahoe area. Definitely, a must one.

Day hiked July 14th to Lois Lake, did not make it to Scmidell due to time constraints. Nice trail with nice mix of forested, open granite areas, wild flowers, lakes and mountains. Trail is easy to lose in granite area, just need to head towards pass and take note of surroundings for hike back. Lots of open area which made it hot, bring lots of water or bring a filter. Plenty of lakes along the way so take advantage of them to cool off. Switch backs up pass is nicely graded.

Did this as a day hike with a stutdy 9 year old and a daypack from Eagle Falls starting at 8am in mid July. Steady climb for about 2 miles with great landscapes. As you descend towards the Velma lakes the trail crosses a stream, which I could imagine being easy to miss or inaccessible with higher flows. The trail gets within 200-300 yds of Middle Velma, you have to scramble through boulders to get to the shore which isnt too tough. Tried to fly fish the lake in a few spots but saw nothing. Heard the park service is clearing fish from these lakes to restore Yellow Legged Frogs, fwiw. Bring insect repellant. Passed many backpackers who had overnighted at Dicks, Fontanellis and elsewhere.

This is an Absolutely gorgeous hike. Fun scrambling up and down. It was very quiet and peaceful at Ropi lake.

Last weekend (7/7-7/8) backpacked from the Bayview Trailhead to Middle Velma for the night. Great hike! Definitely a steep incline going up, but beautiful views and flowers along the way. Be sure to stop at the lookout halfway up the initial incline for a stunning view of Emerald Bay. We took a detour to Dick’s Lake (not on this map), then continued on to Middle Velma to camp. Once we got to Middle Velma, we had a beautiful view, great swimming, and a warm evening. Bugs didn’t come out until sunset. Beautiful hike back down— recommend poles. Definitely a great weekend trip!

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful Hike. My 10year old daughter Ella loved it. She walked around in the lake.

backpacking
6 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/

Great trip to pyramid peak this weekend. Trail from lake sylvia to the ridge was in and out. Once we got to ridge heading to pyramid peak we also lost trail in and out due to rock scrambling. This trail was no joke, but led to beautiful views. Following instructions to look for notch at SSE side of sylvia and staying on ridge to pyramid peak were our guiding forces to make it even without consistent trail. Wild flowers are out, but sun is intense once you hike past sylvia; lots of sunscreen and water. Water filter is great from sylvia to lyons trailhead since the creek follows trail, not much to access up toward pyramid.

backpacking
7 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.

Have done this hike about a dozen times. Found it easiest to stay closer to the falls when scrambling up to Avalanche Lake. Look for the heavy brush area once you're at the top of the main fall and remember that trail that goes through it on your way back! I see a lot of people miss it and stick too close the water, hit a dead end and have to hike back up. Personal opinion is don't bring a dog if you're going this route up to the lakes.

backpacking
8 days ago

This hike is beautiful! If you are an avid hiker you will not find it hard, as it’s quite flat. You do need some fancy footwork as the path is mostly pebbled granite rock. My boyfriend and I did this hike with our 7 month old GSD. If you have a pet with sensitive paws, you might want to consider dog booties. We spent the night at lake aloha
and it was glorious! The rangers walk along the path and check permits so make sure to take the time to get one beforehand.

hiking
10 days ago

Eagle lake at the top is worth the hike. Water is crystal clear. You can swim in the lake.

on Island and Twin Lakes

10 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.

hiking
10 days ago

As you will read in most reviews, this is hard hike and not be taken lightly. If you desire to reach the peak, you better be ready to bear crawl up boulders and navigate rocky terrain. Back to the beginning; yes the start of the trail is hard to find but I will try to put it in my own words. Just as you enter the passing lane the 50 E. Bound, you will see the overhead chain control signs with a small dirt lot between Strawberry and Twin Bridges and that's where you will need to park. Cross the street at this point and walk about 500 yards traveling East on the 50. Keep looking for the trail marker, I have a picture of it loaded. You will notice one trail marker at the start and another slightly higher where begin you ascend. The Trail: Hard and steep, from the very beginning you are put to an approximate 1,500ft gain over the first mile. After that; there are parts where you get relief but you will still be gradually gaining elevation. The home stretch gets difficult again as you are taking a single track straight up to the pyramid. The pyramid: is no joke as it will require you to negotiate boulders as you climb, hope, and bear claw your way up a very, very windy summit. If you put in all the work to this point...enjoy the view. The reward is worth every step. We started our hike around 7am and I am glad we did because I would not want to fight the climb and the sun. I recommend carrying no less than 6L of water, but if you have a water purifying system, then you can refill at about the halfway point and only have to carry 3L at a time. Hiking sticks would be a good idea as long as you can strap them to your pack when climbing the pyramid. The only reason I rated this 4 stars is that they call out 6.3 miles; however I recorded 9.9miles on my Garmin watch (watch stopped recording the first hour which was an additional 2hrs) and my buddy recorded 11miles on his Fit-bit. I think this distance needs to re-evaluated. Still a great hike and worth the challenge.

hiking
10 days ago

Truly beautiful. Started at Echo Lake to Aloha Lake. The view at Aloha Lake is amazing and jumping into the water was refreshing.

Note: if you have a k-9 please be mindful of their paws. The granite rock will do a number of their paws (saw a couple of dogs having to be carried back).

Started from echo lakes, past lake aloha, up mosquito pass and over to lake Clyde. Stayed the night here and it was gorgeous, no one around. FYI a few trees have fallen, blocking the trail down to the lake, but you can walk over them. Bring bug spray!! It was really bad down at the lake.

hiking
14 days ago

Loved the hike! My 4 year old and 8 year old girls geeked the entire path without a complaint and LOVED getting in the Lake when we got there!

hiking
14 days ago

I am section hiking the California PCT. This has to be one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done in my life. I day hiked this section plus Susie Lake and exited at Glen Alpine. I would of camped for at least two days at lake Aloha! Everyone on the trail is super awesome. I didn't want to leave. Already wanting to go back with my backpacking gear! Absolutely breath taking! Truly one of the most amazing alpine views in California.

I came from the PCT heading north to Bayview Trail just past Upper Velma Lake... I assumed It was going to be an easy way to get back to a Parking area where I could take the Trolley back into town. I was completely Wrong!! The scenery is absolutely beautiful, so i hope this review helps.. I thought the trail would be well marked and a bit easier than it was... Once I began to take the trail I couldn't believe how hard it was to follow. After a long day of hiking this was away more challenging exit point than I wanted. I lost the trail a few times and then luckily picked it up again. My phone GPS didn't work here. Thank goodness I had my poles to cross the river. I assumed all of this trail would be clearly marked aka a more Tahoe family friendly route. I left the bayview trail to Eagle Lake trail where there is a posted sign, but if I had wanted to follow the bayview trail all the way down...I am not sure were I would of even gone at that point. Make sure you have a good understanding of the trail before you leave your start point. Happy Hiking!

15 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.

Best workout ever. This hike is along the river and ends with a lake.

Left Bayview trailhead at 12pm on Friday in late June and got to Dicks lake at 3:30pm. I found a quiet spot around the lake and set up camp for the night. It was perfect weather, water was chilly but swimmable and the mosquitos were in full force! The hike was fairly easy, the first climb is taxing but not bad at all! I highly recommend this hike!!

hiking
16 days ago

First time on this hike - easily one of my favorites so far! We hiked to Lake Aloha and back on a Saturday. Started around 9:30am and arrived back at 5pm, including a 2 hr lunch break / nap break at the Lake. We ran into a few different day hiking, backpacking and PCT thruhiking groups, but the trail never felt crowded.

Parking, on the other hand, was tricky - definitely get there early if you want to find a spot in the lot or even off the side of the road. We saw some... interesting parking solutions from adventurous folks.

Once we arrived at the lake, there was plenty of space for people to “claim” different spots around the lake, and still get a bit of privacy. Weather was warm, so we also took the opportunity to dip into the lake! There were a few folks swimming from island to island - very relaxing. Though of course the water was crisp, the rock slabs were warm and a great place to dry off and nap afterwards :)

At this time (end of June) there were a lot of mosquitoes - unfortunately we didn’t bring bug spray, and left with quite a few bites. Also, there’s some shade on the trail but not much - don’t forget to bring a hat!

The trail has a lot of rocky sections, so trail runners or hiking boots are a good idea. We caved and splurged for the water taxi on the way back (picks up at the northern end of upper echo lake, there’s a sign on the trail for it). While steep at $14 per person, it was a perfect way to cap off the hike!

This trail is GORGEOUS, but hikers be warned, this is a tough trail to do all at once. It took us about 5.5 hours (stopping at Aloha for lunch) and we were exhausted by the time we got back to our car. 15+ mile hikes are nothing new to us either. The entire way to Aloha is a gradual incline. You will ask yourself many times over several miles “how am I still going uphill?” It’s a rocky trail, too. I definitely would not recommend to anyone to do it without good boots.

Overall, this is the toughest “moderate” trail we’ve done. It was lovely and so hard at the same time. It’s a one and done for us.

backpacking
17 days ago

We paddled canoe across Echo Lakes (Saving $56 and having a blast in the process) The winds blowing up the lake made for a tough paddle in, but 2 day later they were still blowing and we enjoyed the tailwind back. The weather was very breezy the whole 3 days. We camped at Lake of the Woods, which is protected but there are only designated sites around the lake which aren't easy to find. We set up an awesome campsite on Lake Aloha, only to have to move late in the afternoon when the wind got to gusty. We didn't swim because of the gusty winds, but there were a few brave souls that did swim. There was still snow on the Desolation Range and a few spots here and there. Oh and the mosquitos were thick, Be prepared. Beautiful place.

hiking
19 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
19 days ago

This was a great hike. The spectacular lake view at the end is worth every step. The hike had views around every corner and after the falls the number of people dropped off dramatically. The large trees along the path keeps you in shade for most of the trip.

hiking
19 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.

hiking
20 days ago

Once past the Desolation sign you are in truly beautiful surroundings. Once at Aloha its pretty much aw inspiring scenery. Hike is a long slow gain in elevation but worth every step. Plenty of wild lakes to explore once past Echo Lakes .

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