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Bayview Trail to Velma Lakes

MODERATE 77 reviews

Bayview Trail to Velma Lakes is a 9.9 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.

Distance: 9.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,378 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

snow

no dogs

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

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!

backpacking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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

backpacking
bugs
rocky
2 months ago

backpacking
bugs
muddy
3 months ago

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.

hiking
bugs
snow
3 months ago

hiking
scramble
snow
3 months ago

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.

hiking
muddy
snow
4 months ago

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.

snowshoeing
6 months ago

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

hiking
Sunday, September 23, 2018

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.

backpacking
Monday, September 03, 2018

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!

backpacking
Saturday, August 11, 2018

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.

Tuesday, July 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.

Saturday, July 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!

hiking
Wednesday, July 04, 2018

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!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Beautiful hike. Early morning is least populated.

backpacking
Monday, July 24, 2017

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
Sunday, July 16, 2017

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.

backpacking
Friday, June 09, 2017

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!

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.

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