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Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop

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Desolation Wilderness

Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop is a 15.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 15.5 mi Elevation gain 4,330 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Forest Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife Over grown Rocky Off trail
Description
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This is a great overnight backpacking trip that features some of the best of Desolation Wilderness. If you're looking for a real adventure, you can try turning this loop into a day hike.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (39)
Photos (3054)
Recordings (39)
Completed (103)
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Brian Voelker
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Hiking
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Hiroyuki Ogiso
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Hiking

It was long trail, but a lot of beautiful views. I really recommend for expert hikers!!

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Dirk Nennstiel
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HikingGreat!

Great Hike. Did the tour counter clockwise what I think is the right decision for a day hike. At least you can do Tallac in the cool morning hours. The trail is easy to find and well maintained. An exception is the Tamarack trail that is partially overgrown but still easy enough to follow. Going Tamarack down is actually a lot of fun. Overall one of the best day hikes in the reagion.

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Conor Botkin
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Hiking
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Conor Botkin
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Hiking
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Tran Ha
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BackpackingBugsNo shadeOver grownRocky
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Gloria Lee
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BackpackingBugsNo shadeOver grownRockyScramble

Great backpacking trip over the weekend. We started at Fallen Leaf and hiked up to Lake Aloha. The Tamarack Trail section is all uphill until it meets with the PCT, and there was overgrowth in steep scrambling sections in the dry riverbed which made getting through with a pack annoying. I also succumb to high elevation easily, so I took it slowly about halfway up Tamarack. Lots and lots of rocks. The PCT portion to Lake Aloha is relatively flat and much easier to walk on. We arrived at Lake Aloha but didn’t have difficulty finding a spot to camp since there are so many spots. The water temperature was perfect for a morning dip! The mosquito situation wasn’t as bad as I expected. Lake Aloha to Gilmore for night #2 was a breeze compared to night #1. The views were stunning as you’re walking along the very long Lake Aloha. When you begin passing over the mountain towards Heather Lake, you get a great view of the canyon. Luckily, we didn’t have issues with bears that night, though we brought our bear canisters. Mosquitos were worse than the first night. Going from Gilmore Lake to Tallac (all uphill) then all the way down to Fallen Leaf was difficult on the feet. Downhill is its own beast, and our feet were rubbing raw (even after switching socks) from the constant downhill. Going down the talus with my pack was not as bad as I expected, though I did have my trekking poles which helped. The last stretch that runs alongside Fallen Leaf Lake is narrow and lined with manzanita on both sides. That stretch seemed never-ending. This was especially tough on the first day, but we took it slowly and made it up there safely. We also saw only one other person on the Tamarack Trail section, which made for a much better experience. I’d recommend this entire trail (but not so much the downhill section on day #3) unless you don’t get blisters.

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Cecelia Wolfram
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BackpackingGreat!RockyScramble
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shawn vincent
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HikingBugsOver grownRockyScramble

Did the full loop as it is shown and it ended up being around 17 miles not 15. Started up Fallen Leaf, and headed up to lake Aloha via tamarack trail and the first two miles was a brutal incline through overgrown brush. After that it was not too bad, just a grueling hike to do in a day. Amazing views all along the way and especially once you get the the summit of Tallac. Then a leg burner down a pretty steep decline with lots of big, loose, rock and snow/ice blocking the trail in one spot on a steep section. And keep going all the way back down to Fallen Leaf. Stopped a couple times and the full hike took a little over 9 hours once back to the car.

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Sherina Y
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June 6th 2020 - We only did a portion of this hike from fallen leaf for Susie Lake and headed back. We have some time constraint and our group wasn’t made info the most experienced hikers. However, this hike was HARD - trailheads were not well marked and there was serious rock everywhere. It was also freezing or super hot depending on Where you were on the trail - Would only recommend for experienced hikers.

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Ben Hahn
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Hiking

Regarding earlier comments on the alternate 17E06.1 trail mentioned in another post: this is a well marked, well maintained difficult trail but not an insane trail. Steep descent over scree and one five foot class 3/class 4 climb over a semi-exposed area right around 7600 ft elevation. Good to steer clear of the trail if you're not comfortable on rocks or with heights, but if you're a confident scrambler, it's a fun alternative to the standard route via 17E05 with fantastic views of Angora Peak on the way.

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Chief A
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HikingRockyScrambleWashed out

Started out of Aspen Glen towards Dicks peak, once we finished we back tracked a bit towards Tallac. Great idea and managed to Summit. The views and trail along the way were amazing. However, coming back we followed trail mark 17E061 STAY AWAY FROM THIS TRAIL. Right around 7200 ft we got stuck going down down. Already committed and knowing we were just a mile away we decided to scale down. One of my budies hiking along said it best, saying " our decisions from this point went from bad to worse"! DO NOT USE THIS TRAIL UNLESS YOUR AN ADVENTURER OR ARE SIMPLY JUST NUCKING FUTZ!!!

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Angela Atchley
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Hiking

This loop trail is very difficult. As previous reviews stated, the Tamarack Trail is not well maintained. We found the trail but there is some bushwhacking and boulder scrambling for sure. In addition we climbed 1600 feet in the first 2 miles. Once you make it to the top the middle part of this hike is moderate and very beautiful. After hiking to the top of Mt. Tallac, the descent is also very difficult-steep and rocky. Definitely not a hike for a less experienced person. Definitely would not recommend bringing a dog-too dangerous. We chose to do this hike in a day and it took us about 10 hours. The distance was closer to 17 miles but can’t be for sure because my phone died at 15.8.

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Pavel Mamontov
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Hiking

Tamarack trail is not maintained (August 2019).

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Mark S
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Backpacking

Like Adam Ruff says below, it was the perfect overnight trip :). We started with the Tamarack Trail and camped at Susie Lake and did Mt. Tallac before heading home. It was surprisingly warm at night. This is a gorgeous place to visit and a great trail to explore it with. Note: The trailhead was tricky to find. It starts out winding uphill into thick vegetation. Be in good shape if you plan to complete this trail in two days.

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Adam Ruff
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Hiking

Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, Mount Tallac Loop Day Hike. This phrase on the description of this hike is what inspired me to do this hike: "This is a multi day backpacking trip that requires navigational and back country skills." I agree with the fact it requires more than beginner skills, but it can be done as a day hike. Trail is completely open and now one of my favorites in the southern Desolation Wilderness area. Stunning views of Crystal Range around every corner and a new lake it seems every mile or so, however, Aloha, Twin Lakes and Smith Lake now have company with Heather Lake top my list of backcountry lakes . Aloha is getting low now for the season, all other lakes still full-ish. I choose Tamarak Trail up towards Aloha and then finished with Tallac Summit. Not for a beginner as some terrain is very unstable, but if you've done Desolation hikes before, and felt you needed more, this is your one. Would have been a perfect overnight hike/camp.

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