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Bayview Trail to Velma Lakes is a 10.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tahoma, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until August. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 10.2 mi Elevation gain 2,352 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Snow
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Reviews (89)
Photos (1183)
Recordings (63)
Completed (449)
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Elannah User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 28, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful, highlights were Phipps pass and found a small little unnamed lake that was amazing and full of life. Avoid meddle Velma way to many people, felt almost like car camping

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Alayna Mills
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 27, 2020
Hiking

This was a great loop. Lots of elevation gain if you start Bayview at the very start up to Maggie’s but the rest of the trail is pleasant and varied. Going down towards Eagle Falls was a bit tough. Loose gravel on rock and rocky steep steps but not too terrible if prepared. Overall great loop. Camped at Dicks and Middle Velma both spots were great and had great swimming. Saw mountain lion tracks outside our tent at Middle Velma so make sure all food is secured away from tents and what not (ours were and no issue!) .

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Jules Fortlage
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

We did this as a single overnight backpacking trip so we could take our time. There’s so many more switchbacks than the trail suggests when you zoom in so it logged a little over 10.5 mi for us roundtrip. Trekking poles aren’t necessary but really nice to have on the way down - there are many boulders and rocks to maneuver around. If you go during the early morning or later in the evening, mosquitos this time of year are gnarly so bring bug spray.

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Donal G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

Really enjoyed this hike to Upper Velma Lake! Initial challenge of incline levels off in about 2 miles. We even added the short (steep!) climb to Maggies which boasts an amazing view! The trail was not too crowded & all hikers as usual were very respectful of social distancing when passing. Velma provided serene lakeside view-complete with lots of jumping trout!!

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Joseph Burroughs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

I'm new to backpacking. My previous experiences in the high country were on horse and packed mules. I enjoyed this hike and the views. The views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay were great during the climb. This trail is a bit steep for the first 2 mi. but once you crest the top, the views are awesome! Climbed on top of Maggie's Peak for lunch with view. Continued to Velma Lakes for one night. Return hike diverted to Eagle Lake trail down, which was beautiful, but a little more traffic. Due to the rocks, I'm glad I had my hiking poles!

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Billy Wiginton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 23, 2019
Mountain bikingRockyScrambleSnow

Such a great area!!! Trail is pretty easy to follow, and seems well maintained. Definitely a "moderate" difficulty trail. Some pretty long, steep climbs up to the ridge, but well worth it. I started at first light (6am), and had to use my flashlight to find the trail a couple times early on. About 2-3" of snow cover for most of the hike, but it was easy enough even without traction. The first 2 miles are pretty steep, but it calms a bit as you go beyond that. Go do this one if you're in the area and weather permits.

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Chibi Techu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2019
Hiking

Fantastic hard hike. First snow today was incredible. So many nice views. Watch out for yellow-jackets at campground entrance.

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Roni Lebauer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2019
Hiking

I love the Bayview Trail. It’s nonstop uphill but the switchbacks are gentle and there are constant rewards. The middle Velma was less impressive than I’d hoped. Next time I’ll head for Dick’s or Fontanelli Lakes. Sane distance. Still a great day!

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Eileen McPeake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2019
Backpacking

My son (12) and I are new to backpacking. This was a great trail on which to build a 3 day, 2 night trip starting 8/19. First 2.5 miles or so is quite strenuous, rising about 1,300 ft in elevation over steep switchbacks. One stream to cross close to the Velmas, but a steeping stone bridge allowed us to stay in our hiking boots and not get feet wet. We camped the first night at Upper Velma Lake in one of many flat campsites about 50-75 ft from shore. There was still some snow on the surrounding slopes that created a stunning cascade that spilled into the western side of the lake. We hiked past Fontanillas Lake on the second day, crossing another stream on rocks and downed logs, and camped second night at one of the half dozen or fewer campsites along the shore of Dick's Lake. Mosquitos were present around the lakes and in the forested areas of the trail, especially at 8,000+ elevation, but they're pretty slow and easy to kill. The temps were in the 80's during the day and only dipped to about 50 at night. VERY glad to have brought trekking poles. They made the hills and stream crossings so much easier to cover safely.

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Debra Hochman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2019
Hiking

Uphill for the first 3 miles but a clear trail with switchbacks and gorgeous views. Nice to hike two miles in to lake.

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Kendrice Newman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful hike! Would recommend water shoes or flip flops for the water crossing before the lakes. We (4 adults, 1 dog) did this in about 8 hours which includes a 1+ hour lunch and swim break plus shorter stops at vistas and other alpine lakes

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Michelle Hammond
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2019
Hiking

Very steep at the beginning, but a beautiful hike overall! We loved lunch on the Velma lakes!

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Laurel Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 20, 2019
BackpackingBugsRocky
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Jennifer Martinez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2019
BackpackingBugsMuddy

This is a beautiful trail. Snow only covers parts of the trail after the saddle back for Maggie’s Peak. Lots of great views. Mud and mosquitos but rather warm nights and serenity.

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Bonnie Hoang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2019
HikingBugsSnow
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john rodgers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 20, 2019
HikingScrambleSnow

Great views on the climb up and at the summit. One small stream crossing that is an easy hop across. Granite lake is full and very pretty. However, snow starts to cover the trail shy of the summit at about 8100 feet. You can get past a few sections and manage to pick up the trail but eventually the trail is completely buried. At this point it becomes a scramble up loose dirt and rock and snow. Parts of the summit are clear but the trail is still buried. We had lunch and turned back. I doubt there will be enough snow melt in the next few weeks to clear the trail to the summit and beyond that will be a month or more. If you insist on trying for Velma Lake bring real crampons and poles and make sure you have a gps or AllTrails (and bring an extra battery pack for your phone - this app is a battery hog trying to find a signal). Note: the trailhead parking lot fills up fast so plan to arrive by 8:00.

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Whitney Swimelar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2019
HikingMuddySnow

this trail was good and would have been better in a couple weeks! The snow made us turn around at one point, but it was a beautiful hike! Steep uphill at the beginning.

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Shalom Rottman-Yang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 7, 2019
Snowshoeing

Stopped at Maggie's Peak South for a great view! There was plenty of powdery snow to sink into.

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Albert Hayes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 23, 2018
Hiking

I did this hike on 8/28/18. The climb up from the trailhead is a pretty good pull but not too tough. The views at the summit are really nice. The trail to Velma Lakes is kind of barren and desolate, I'm thinking now I know why it's called Desolation Wilderness. At the first lake it was so beautiful I was really glad I had my camera. Went over to see Middle Velma then turned back and headed to Fontanillis Lake. Once again I was glad to have brought my camera! From there I stopped at Dicks Lake, then took the Eagle Falls trail back to The trailhead. What a wonderful hike and not too hard. I love the Desolation Wilderness.

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Kendra+Jeff Cobourn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 3, 2018
Backpacking

We spent the 2nd night of a backpacking trip at Upper Velma - we had the lake entirely to ourselves. We hiked out from Upper Velma to Bayview Trailhead (and added the hike up to Maggie's peak - which is well worth the extra little bit of up - gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe). Strava clocked the hike out from Velma to Bayview at 5.8 miles (so round trip I'm guessing would be a little over the 10 miles estimated here). It took us 1h 45 mins to get down. The hike up would probably take close to double the time as it is entirely uphill! The Velmas are gorgeous and the views in this area are outstanding!

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Olivia Ellis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 11, 2018
Backpacking

Beautiful hike! First gain is a challenge but the view at the top is well worth it. Stopped there for lunch then ventured on toward the Dick’s Lake and Fontanillis Lake round about and up to middle Velma. Set up camp and ate dinner at dusk. Photographs because my credit card background. Mosquitoes were a nightmare (4th of July weekend) and the trails were a bit more congested on the descent with lots of day hikers.

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Jeff Prater
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2018

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.

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K. Weller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2018

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!

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