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

HARD 42 reviews
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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.

6 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

backpacking
11 days ago

great alpine views and swimming

camping
14 days ago

16 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

backpacking
17 days ago

17 days ago

Did this last week as a solo overnighter, I included a summit of Dicks Peak on the second day. Trail starts out steep all the way to Granite Lake, then levels off for a minute before climbing again steeply toward Maggie's Peak. It's a beautiful area but in the summer this section of the trail can be an absolute zoo! Once above the switchbacks the people traffic dropped off sharply and it seemed a pretty quick trek down and over to the Velma Lakes. I didn't see a trail heading to lower Velma but if you have a map and even an average sense of direction it's an easy find.

After checking out lower Velma I continued on to Middle Velma and then up to Fontanillis Lake for the night to camp. There didn't seem to be much in the way of open space around the lake but I probed around a bit on the west side and found a beautiful spot to set up. A breathtaking view and good fishing to boot! Even in August there wasn't a single other person around that I saw.

After waking early I continued onto the intersection with the PCT. This is where my hike detoured a bit as I wanted to bag Dicks Peak while I was out there. After stashing my pack I headed up and over Dicks Pass. Even if you aren't heading up the mountain, a trip over the pass itself is amazing: endless views in all directions! Dicks Peak via Dicks Pass is certainly not for the casual hiker; requiring some steep hard class III scrambling over very loose rock. I would absolutely not recommend trying to take a dog up here.

After a difficult false summit I made the top and the views were the best I've seen from any Peak in Desolation. You're smack dab in the middle of everything so everything from Round Top to Pyramid Peak to Freel and beyond is on show here. Spectacular and worth the extra effort!

The way back was a bit of a blur as I hadn't gotten too much sleep the night before, but I was back at my truck by 6pm.

The Eagle Lake and Bayview trailheads are probably my least favorite to access the Desolation Wilderness, but that's solely because of the very high amount of traffic they get. However, as with all things Desolation, once you get a few miles in you're very much on your own.

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

backpacking
2 months 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
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months 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
3 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.