Lake Aloha Trail

MODERATE 144 reviews
#2 of 32 trails in

Lake Aloha Trail is a 14.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Echo Lake, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. 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.

DISTANCE
14.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1765 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

A long hike from Echo Lake past several lakes to a great swimming spot in Lake Tahoe's beautiful Desolation Wilderness The hike to Lake Aloha is the ultimate day hike in Desolation Wilderness. The trail is fairly flat for most of the hike, with only two sections of significant elevation gain, and you will pass by 5 lakes in under 12 miles round trip. After a hot day of hiking there is no better way to relax than with a swim in beautiful Lake Aloha where you can spend hours swimming from island to island. This trip can easily be extended to an overnight backpacking trip with a stay near Lake Aloha. Make sure to call ahead to the El Dorado Ranger Station to reserve a wilderness permit ($5 plus $5/person per night). You may find the area so remarkable that you will want to stay longer--it's hard to see all its beauty in such a short amount of time. For day hikes, fill out a day permit so that people know where you are in case anything goes wrong.

1 month ago

Beautiful!

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike along the PCT. Unfortunately the trail right before Tamarack Lake was covered in about 2 feet of snow. Not knowing this, we only had hiking boots. Ended up camping the night at Tamarack Lake which was just as gorgeous and isolated.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful! Well worth it. Definitely going again.

2 months ago

Love this trail. Get a camping permit and stay the night to really enjoy this lake.

backpacking
2 months ago

Definitely a must do trail. Although late October there wasn't much of the lake left. It had snowed two days before which made the hike beautiful. The Sunny Trail along echo Lakes in the partially Snow covered mount Ralston across the other side was incredible. The hike is a little rocky in areas stiff sold shoes are nice. Because of the snow and warm weather it made for some soggy trail, I'd advise waterproof boots for the hike. Nice warm days but in the 20s at night. Brrrrr

2 months ago

Trail was very nice but I lost my ray-Bans on the way down :(

backpacking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike, i did a backpacking trip in desolation and stopped here one of the nights. Flowers were blooming and very lush this time of year. Also stopped at zatela and four q.

3 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous!

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely amazing! Beautiful scenery, dog friendly, multiple lakes to hike to! The parking at echo lake is packed so show up early! We encountered at lot of other hikers along the trail, but once we reached Lake Aloha we basically had the lake to ourselves! Would definitely do this hike again :)

backpacking
3 months ago

The hikes in & out each took us ~3.5 hours with our heavy packs - similar to others' reports, my phone reported 5.7 miles in but 7.7 miles out. Unclear precisely how far it is. While many folks seem to report too many campers around Aloha, we couldn't see any other camps from our spot and only occasionally saw people walking around the lake. Was a great (chilly at night time!) retreat for the weekend. Great spot to jump off to other parts of the PCT or Desolation Wilderness as well - we took a day hike up to Gilmore Lake. Trails are all very clearly marked, though tiring on the ankles & hips as much of it is loose rock.

hiking
4 months ago

Lake Aloha is SO beautiful, making this rocky hike very much worth the effort. The water taxi stops running after Labor Day, so there's no way to shorten the distance, but it's still very doable. The trail is clearly marked and straightforward. There are also maps you can pick up near the trailhead. I'd recommend hiking shoes/boots for this hike rather than sneakers because much of it is very rocky and I was glad to have the support from my boots. The water temperature seemed perfect for swimming, but it was a cloudy day so we didn't end up going in. I'd love to return next summer to backpack because the lake is so gorgeous and it was sad to leave!

backpacking
4 months ago

Absolutely stunning hike - Day hike or overnight. I hiked beyond Aloha, up and over Dick's Pass to Fontanillis Lake - stopping at Susie lake on the first night. Stunning views the entire trail. Wild flowers, lake views all along the trail. I stopped at Aloha 1 night and Lake of the Woods on m fourth night. Took a day hike to Ropi Lake on an unmaintained trail but was able to follow trail with AllTrails app on my phone.

4 months ago

Stunning lake!!!
Worth the effort

hiking
5 months ago

Honestly I didn't hike the whole thing but what I did hike was pretty easy and it seemed really popular for people with dogs.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful hike!! A little steep and rocky by Lake Tamarack but not bad. Breathtaking views! Lake Aloha is absolutely AMAZING! I will be returning. Water taxi is convenient and $14 per person one way. Don't forget mosquito repellent.

hiking
5 months ago

One of the most beautiful hike I've done but the busiest too. The trail is very rocky and it did gave us a workout. Definitely not for beginners. Hiking poles were a big help especially going downhills back to echo lake. Lake Aloha is gorgeous. I must go back there again but with at least one night of stay.

backpacking
5 months ago

Gorgeous area but HEAVILY USED TRAILS. This is neither 'desolate' or really 'wilderness' - you will see more people than birds/animals - so go prepared to visit a nice recreation area open to hikers and backpackers but don't expect a John Muir type experience.

Backpacked the first week in August and spent most time off-trail to get away from the crowds. Probably saw 150 people (most of them day hikers) between Echo Lake and Aloha Lake. Crowds get thinner the further you move away from Aloha (heavier again when you travel towards Lake Tahoe).

If you visit while there is still run-off from the snow, calculate having extra ponds (as well as snowy slopes) to navigate around off-trail. For example the area south of Aloha down to Pyramid Lake had many ponds that did not show up on the topo maps.

hiking
5 months ago

First backpacking trip with our dog and she loved it! Beautiful view once you get to the lake. If you're camping, be sure to bring bug repellant for the mosquitos.

hiking
5 months ago

This hike was amazing. We started at Echo Lakes and made our way to Lake Aloha. It was not too challenging, but definitely a great workout! The weather was perfect. We got there around 7:15 and made it to the lake by 9:30. Spent time swimming and eating...then hiked back! We did take the water taxi...I got overruled...but it was a VERY nice ride! Got to learn a bit more about the lakes also...it is $14 one way though, so beware! I would recommend this hike to everyone! It's amazingly beautiful.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike! Make sure you have map downloaded to help find the trail once you hit snow. There is still a lot of mud and snow. You can follow the tracks in the snow but with as fast as it's melting I would not rely on it. Trail is rocky so if you're thinking of bringing your furry friends I'd advise dog shoes; saw a couple whimpering dogs that just wanted to lay down :(. It was cool listening to large chunks of ice break off from the larger masses floating on Lake Aloha. Be prepared to share the trail as it's a busy one but worth it.

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