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

HARD 32 reviews
#5 of 29 trails in

Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, Eagle Lake Loop is a 11.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
11.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2936 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

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.

hiking
8 hours ago

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

backpacking
24 days ago

backpacking
1 month ago

This trip was just breathtaking. We headed out with 3 adults and 6 teens from Eagle Lake trailhead (Get there early, early as there are many day hikers and sight-seers filling up the lot and all along the road.) Our permits were for Dick's Lake and we were originally going in on Bayview Trail, however we could only find online info that said Maggie's Peak was impassable, so decided to go in by way of Eagle Lake. Now that we know Maggie's Peak is passable, we would have preferred that short steep elevation gain over the brutal mile or more of steps heading up from Eagle Lake (especially for my shorty legs). As always, the challenges made the trip. We lost the trail due to large snow patches and ended up at a small lake after finding the trail again. After a hot day, significant elevation gain, a waning sun, and not knowing how difficult the trek to Dick's would be, we ended up camping here and enjoyed a stunning apricot sunset, the reflection bouncing off the granite hillside and onto the lake. Fresh and well-rested, we easily trekked up and over to Dick's the following morning. The snow was plentiful, but found that if we followed the ridge on the high side and climbing the rocks and boulders we could skirt around the snow and any potential fall throughs. Dick's Lake was about 85% frozen but we found an easy trail to the northwest corner. Here we had easy access to the water draining down towards Fontanellis. The lake itself had melted enough at this corner for some iceberg hopping and bracing jumps into the water. The weather couldn't have been better with mid-80s during the day and high 30s at night. Part of the group needed to return the following day so we hiked back Bayview Trail to Granite Lake. The water there felt warm and comfortable after Dick's! The remainder of the group camped on the southeast of Granite where we found several fantastic tent sites. We all agreed the best one was just over the ridge facing southwest with breathtaking views of south Lake Tahoe, Cascade Lake, the Cascade Falls, and Fallen Leaf Lake. A huge orange full moon rose up from the east leaving us all in awe and gave a perfect closure to a short but adventurous trip into Desolation.

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Gorgeous hike up to Fontanillis lake, but still tons of snow and the lake is pretty much entirely frozen over.

Snow starts to show up after the first small creek crossing and then before the fork to Dicks. We decided to test out our orienteering skills and take the left to Dicks Pass and it was definitely more efficient, but all snow without tracks so definitely make sure you know how to navigate with a Topo map or GPS. The marmots were out in full force at Fontanillis Lake so be ready for them! High in the 70s, lows in the high 20s.

We decided to do the loop back. Coming down to Velmas it was equally as difficult to find the PCT. We crossed the river as high as we could as it was still snow covered with plenty of snow to make it across (move quickly). We then hugged the left side of the river to upper velma lake. We crossed at the bottom of the lower portion of upper velma just before it feeds into a creek that feeds lower velma. From there it's pretty straightforward.

Make sure you bring a bear hang for the marmots (and there were bear prints in the snow as well), gaiters, and even crampons if you want to try to do the pass early in the morning.

backpacking
2 months ago

Went early June 2017 and the amount of snow made the hike a bit of an adventure. The views were sumptuous and the weather gorgeous. We camped at Fontanillis lake, the wind was howling all night long but waking up to the sunrise over lake Tahoe was worth the loud night.
The hike is moderate and could be done within a day but I recommend camping up in altitude to be able to spend more time taking the scenery in.
We actually did the loop the other way round and I would highly recommend doing that way since you end up walking down with a glorious view over Tahoe city, Heavenly and Granite lake.

backpacking
2 months ago

Went at the end of May 2017 and unfortunately the trail was snowed over. We walked into desolation and made it to Granite Lake (which was mostly still frozen over) From there we were unsure of where to go so we climbed the snowed over mountain to the top of the ridge. From there we could see Eagle Lake. We walked along the ridge (by which I mean we scaled across the rock cropings) and then scaled down the mountain and ended up at Eagle Falls where we pitched our tent and camped for the night. It was absolutely beautiful and I would recommend doing it if you're looking for a short but demanding hike. The hike up in the snow was difficult as we were just in hiking shoes and slippery on the way down. This way also required a lot of bouldering. Sad we didn't get to do the loop but just a heads up, check conditions before heading up :)

4 months ago

9 months ago

backpacking
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

fly fishing
11 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

Excellent hike with great views. Spent the night at Middle Velma which was pristine and a nice swimming spot after a long hike.

The trail out of Bayview is pretty steep and draining for a little over the first mile and a half, especially with a pack, but levels out nicely after reaching the "summit."

Would not recommend the taking Eagles Pass, and just go back down the Bayview trail. Eagles was overly crowded, and the walk back on 89 was a disappointing way to end a great hike. If you are planning this hike Fall 2016 be aware of road construction on 89.

11 months ago

11 months ago

A great day hike: countless pristine lakes, bogs, and views, all enjoyed at a moderate grade. Plus, even on a holiday weekend, this trail was not overly-trafficked. You start up a sandy slope but that doesn't last too long until you level off for the rest of the hike and hit your first lake.

I see many weren't thrilled with the walk back up the highway, but we didn't mind...especially since started the hike a bit later in the day so it was sunset over Lake Tahoe when we made the short trek back to our car, parked along road near Inspiration Point.

backpacking
11 months ago

Great loop, we turned this into a nice overnighter and stayed at Lower Velma. Beautiful lake. If I did this again, I would not hike down to eagle lake and eagle falls. It was so crowded and we found the trail out of Granite lake to be a better hike. Also finishing on the highway and hiking back up to Bayview is not so much fun.