Desolation Wilderness 5 Peaks Loop is a 32.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Twin Bridges, California that features a lake. The trail is rated as difficult offers a number of activity options.

DISTANCE
32.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
8,753 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

rock climbing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

rocky

scramble

off trail

no shade

hiking
Monday, October 30, 2017

Route Description:
Park your car in the Ralston Peak Trail parking lot. We shall return via this path.
Walk on US 50 (away from South Lake Tahoe which is the downhill direction. You will pass the Pyramid Creek Trail head (You can choose to fill up the wilderness permit here).
Keep walking till you hit the Pyramid Peak - Rocky Canyon Trail trail head. There is no trail head here! Its marked as a big rock with faded white paint blotched on it. If you cross a stream then you have missed it. Check on alltrails.com on details on how to spot the trail head.
Scramble up the rocks - about 15 feet and you should be on the trail.
This trail is relatively easy to follow and its a use trail. For the first mile the stream will be on your left. After a mile the trail will cross the stream and then the stream will be on your right. The trail parallels this stream till there is no trace of it. At this point it will follow the lowest point in the topo map (valley) as it progresses upward leaving you to some boulders to traverse. There are cairns here to guide you, if need be. You will then have to scramble up the boulders to get to Pyramid Peak.
There is no trail or signs from this point. You just walk the ridge to the next two peaks - Mount Agassiz and Price Peak. Note that one side might be less sloped than the other. If I remember correctly, the right side had sheer drops, whereas the left side was more gentle. Hence, pick an easier side to traverse it.
After Price Peak, descend down to Mosquito pass which runs between Clyde Lake on the left and Lake Aloha to the right.
Next climb up Jacks Peak and walk the ridge to Dicks Peak.
From Dicks Peak there is a use trail with cairns in boulder areas to guide you to the PCT.
Take the PCT all the way till you hit the Ralston Peak trail.
Take the Ralston Peak trail all the way to the trail head and back to the car.

Note: Roughly 10 miles is off trail and Class 2/Class 3 and hence progress is much slower. Time is well spent in route finding to get on top of the peaks which involve a bit of scrambling.
There is no fee to park at the Ralston Peak trail head. A free wilderness permit is required for the day hike. You can get one at the Pacific Ranger District Ranger station in Pollock Pines. Alternatively you can fill the wilderness permits up in any major trail head. The Ralston Peak trail head is not considered major, as I did not see any place to self issue a wilderness permit. On the other hand, the Pyramid Creek trail head might have them.
Carry gloves for the rock scrambling.

1 month ago