hiking

views

forest

lake

camping

backpacking

nature trips

wild flowers

wildlife

birding

walking

trail running

river

waterfall

dogs on leash

dog friendly

fishing

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.

Pyramid Peak has been a goal of mine for several years, and since we moved to Tahoe last year we decided to tackle it finally 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 with 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 main 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!

Today was our first day here at South Lake Tahoe. We got to Emerald Bay around 8:25 and only a few spots left. 5 min later parking lot full. So as long as you get there before at between 8am-8:15am you there is a good chance to park free. Watched the eclipse with our special glasses from start to finish at the falls overlooking breathtakingly beautiful Lake Tahoe and the small island. Then we hiked up to Eagle falls/Eagle lake for about 45 -55 making stops to look at the amazing sceneries. It's so worth it to hike this trail! You will be amazed when you see Lake Eagle and its surroundings! Stunning.

backpacking
2 days ago

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

hiking
2 days ago

Very steep since we have to go up 4000ft just in 3.3 miles. The first mile is steep as hell, then the trail start flatten out a bit. However, we forget all the tired since the view on the top is outstanding

hiking
3 days ago

Made it back 20 years later. It's tougher being 20 years older but had a great time.

hiking
3 days ago

Honestly I didn't hike the whole thing but what I did hike was pretty easy and it seemed really popular for people with dogs.

hiking
3 days ago

backpacking
4 days ago

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.

hiking
5 days ago

on Eagle Lake Trail

5 days ago

hiking
6 days 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.