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Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, and Eagle Lake Loop

MODERATE 115 reviews

Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, and Eagle Lake Loop is a 18.8 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 18.8 km Elevation Gain: 830 m Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

A trek through Lake Tahoe's Desolation Wilderness past several lakes including Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, Fontanillis Lake, and Eagle Lake. This hike provides a great tour of some of the best features of desolation wilderness. It is great for a 2-day, 1-night backpacking trip on a weekend or for a long day hike. All lakes along this hike are spectacular and are great for swimming. There are a number steep sections, particularly near the beginning and end of the hike, but the views make up for it.

My gosh, this is my new favorite trail ever. It’s absolutely worth it if you have the time and energy to do the second loop to hit the lakes. Absolutely stunning. I hiked on Nov 12 and there were times it was so warm I only needed a T-shirt.

Great hike. The first bit is hard and very steep and the last 2 miles were also tough with very steep steps and lots is loose rock, but a beautiful hike and highly recommend.

Amazing hike! just beware... there are flying spiders!

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely amazing. If backpacking, be sure to get a permit online first

hiking
off trail
4 months ago

Bayview trailhead ➡️ cascade lake ➡️ view of Eagle lake ➡️ middle Velma for viewing ➡️ upper Velma for

hiking
4 months ago

start early. not much parking. if i can do it anyone can. the views are awesome. from the top you can see 4 lakes at once.

hiking
5 months ago

The trail was difficult the first 3 miles because you go up the hill. The water of the lakes are pristine worth the hike up. The trail is well marked. I would recommend to start early if you want to spend time on the lakes.

hiking
5 months ago

Loved the views. Did all in 1 day but got lost. I probably should have brought 5L of water and or downloaded the ap map to stay on course. A bit better around the lakes and intersection w PCT. ended up veering over near middle Velma. Overall- super amazing. The stint on the road felt longer than .8 mi after a long day of hiking.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Some parts are not well defined. This trail is hard and hiking poles will be a great help. Very nice views.

hiking
5 months ago

I did this trail again cause its in my top 10 all-time trails! After doing Mt. Tallac and Lake Aloha I couldn't leave without doing this trail again. This is for sure one of my favorite trails and probably my favorite at Lake Tahoe. This is no easy trail it should be listed as hard whether you start at the Bayview trailhead or the Eagle falls trail the initial ascent is brutal. I did this trail back when I wasn't too experienced at hiking and thought it was hard and this time I still noticed it's a hard trail! You have four significant ascents on this trail the first ascent is the most brutal you then have to ascent up to Dicks Lake then the hot ascent back up from Middle Velma and then the final ascent up the Bayview. It also doesn't make sence that the trail from Eagle falls down the Bayview is listed as hard and this trail as moderate which includes both those trails plus the Dicks lake/Velma lake loop.

hiking
5 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
6 months ago

This is the ultimate loop hike to do if you want to see as much beauty Desolation Wilderness has to offer as you can in one day. Next to Lake Aloha this is my favorite hike in the Tahoe area.

hiking
6 months ago

i eat ballz

hiking
6 months ago

Incredible views in Middle, Upper Velma Lakes, water fall near Upper Velma Lake and view of Lake Tahoe with Upper Velma Lake along the fall. Had to cross water in two places. But shallow, doable. Need to download the map before your hike and really follow the trail because you would arrive at the place where you can easily cross the water. Once you cross once, you would not mind to take off your shoes again because you would feel refresh afterwards. Trekking poles would help in balance to cross water. We started and ended at Bayview Trailhead. Did Maggie’s south Peak on return. The light was perfect in the late afternoon for the stunning view of six lakes. We did this trail on 7/27. Weather was still nice at elevation 8,000’ level even though the temperature was reported at 84 degree the highest. Felt at 70’s degree. Start early 6/7 am if possible, bring > 2.5 L of water/ person. Mosquito will make your trip much more enjoyable.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

This was a fairly challenging hike but the views were incredible. The trail head was ridiculously busy with people parked on the side of the road and loads of people walking up and down the freeway so we had to park about 1.5 miles from the trail head and we ended up going a different route. We started at Eagle Lake then almost made it up to Velma Lake. The trail we took had no snow on the trail. Some small patches here and there on the sides but nothing major and there weren't any washed out areas. We didn't actually make it to Velma lake since there was a small river to cross and we were running late. The river was very doable and it seemed like you could get to Velma lake no problem. We stopped there and had lunch with an insane amount of bugs then made our way back down to Eagle Lake and went home. The hike out to Eagle lake isn't too bad. It's pretty much all up hill but the lake is really nice right now although it is a bit busy. The hard part was getting up to the Velma trail. From the start of the Eagle lake trail to the top of the Velma trail is like 4 miles of steep steps and uphill hiking. Not many people were doing this for good reason. It's tough but once you get up there the views of the massive snow capped granite mountains are amazing and you're pretty much in a valley of them so pictures don't do it justice. This is a long tough hike so definitely start early. We're in decent shape but the 2k elevation to Velma is time consuming. I would also get there early since parking is a nightmare and you might have to walk along the freeway.

hiking
6 months ago

Really nice hike. Beautiful views an great places to jump into the water to get refreshed :)

backpacking
6 months ago

Great 2 days trip and way better to do it counter-clockwise. We secured a campsite in upper Velma lake without anybody around. Two rivers to cross, but, not very deep, we managed them, taking off our shoes. Some snow around Dicks lake, but easy to pass.

hiking
rocky
snow
7 months ago

Ok this is one of the most picturesque trail I have been on in years. The visuals are simply mind blowing. It is a pretty tough hike and tiring but definitely worth it and was quieter than expected except the last mile. Also it is definitely longer than stated and about 14 miles - this was verified by two people with GPS trackers. In July 2019 at the top as you get about the Velma’s the ground was mostly snow covered and trekking across snow fields was a fun adventure and extra challenge. Dick’s Lake was still frozen over and Fontanillis Lake was half ice covered and were stunning visual treats. With the conditions and true length the whole hike including a 30 minutes lunch break and only stops for pictures took 4 fit adults 8 hours.

hiking
muddy
off trail
snow
7 months ago

We did this loop July 4, 2019 weekend except we started and ended at Bayview - essentially an out and back after completing the loop around Dicks-Fontanillis-Velma Lakes. The trail is fairly steep right off the bat for the first two miles, but the conditions were great until the trail meets the start of the lake loop. We hiked this clockwise, and the entire pass up to Dick's Lake was covered in snow. Required a lot of route-finding and general frustration trying to find our way to the trail. We didn't have ice axes / crampons and managed okay, but it wasn't fun and it was such a relief to get to Dick's to set up camp for the night. The next morning, we hiked to Middle Velma (fair amount of snow and route-finding required) and set up camp there, then did a quick day hike to Lower Velma - basically just continue on the trail a bit past Middle Velma, then follow the creek down to Lower Velma. Lakes were too frozen over to fish when we went, but in a few weeks there should be no snow and good fishing, with plenty of great campsite around the lakes, making this a perfect weekend backpacking trip!

hiking
off trail
rocky
snow
7 months ago

10/10 hike from 6/27. The complete trail that’s mapped took my boyfriend and I about 9 hours over the 12 miles. Elevation gain wasn’t brutal since it was evenly distributed with plenty of places that leveled out and gave you a break. Alpine lakes were stunning. The entire back loop when you start going toward Velma Lake was mostly snow packed and made it difficult to follow the trail without GPS location. We did have to cross a very icy stream before getting to Velma Lake as well, which was quite exhilarating. We came across very few people after Eagle Lake and it gets less and less as you go out to desolation. Amazing views the entire way! Completely worth it

hiking
off trail
snow
8 months ago

hiking
rocky
snow
8 months ago

I just did this hike and I only got just past granite lake. It was an extremely difficult climb to the top because there so much snow you can’t see the trail and it’s slippery to walk being at such a steep slope. Granite lake is beautiful though.

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