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Lake Aloha Trail

HARD 391 reviews
#2 of 49 trails in

Lake Aloha Trail is a 12.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Echo Lake, California that features beautiful wild flowers 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.

Distance: 12.5 miles Elevation Gain: 1,873 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

fee

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 Placerville Ranger Station in Camino, CA to reserve a wilderness permit ($6 reservation fee plus $5/person for the 1st night, $10 more than 1 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 at the trailhead (Echo Lakes Trailhead), so that people know where you are in case anything goes wrong. NOTE: the lake is drained each fall, so plan accordingly.

hiking
1 day ago

Echo Lake to Aloha Lake was a decent hike- threw in a side trip to Lake of the Woods which was beautiful. Round trip of 14 miles. Different types of hiking terrain from crushed gravel to skree to some wooded type trails. Overall ascents and descent were not overly hard although the skree and smaller rocks can trip you up if you are not watching your foot placement. I would have given this hike a 4.5 but the payoff at the end was disappointing. Seems the electric company has a dam at one end and so graciously in their greediness decided to basically drain the lake leaving only a bunch of smaller lakes. So the iconic pictures you see on blogs and websites was not there to be seen. All in all was an ok hike but if I would have known in advance that the idyllic translucent blue waters weren’t there I wouldn’t have wasted 8 hours and would have rather done the Rubicon or something postcard worthy.

recorded Lake Aloha Trail

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

It’s more of an easy overnight backpacking destination than anything. This trail would be easy except for the rocks that need to be traversed on the trail. The lake is beautiful, but just more crowded than expected. Parking is a pain.

hiking
rocky
9 days ago

I have not been all over the world. However, I would have to believe that this is some world class hiking. Trail is well maintained. Two nice climbs. One from up out of Upper Echo Lake going towards Lake Aloha and then one coming up out of The Lake of The Woods going back towards the PCT. Encountered a fair amount of day hikers and Backpackers on trail. However, it was by no means crowded. We were on trail for about 6-7 hours round trip. Lots of opportunities for amazing pictures. The wind coming off the lake was chilly but nice. The terrain varies from flat and smooth to more technical and graded. You will walk across barren majestic rock scapes. As well as through beautiful pine woodlands. Lake Aloha is a gem and well worth the walk out.

hiking
13 days ago

loved this trail had it on my trail list for awhile and finally did it the lakes were amazing especially lake in the woods and of course lake aloha. the trail was flat in alot of spots with a slight incline but I felt it more on the way back being I was getting a little sore but nothing you cant handle definitely wanna backcountry camp here next time

hiking
17 days ago

Beautiful hike and awesome lake to camp/backpack to. I wouldn’t rate the hike as hard, it’s long but fairly easy. Went up the PCT and stayed one night at Aloha, hiked down to Lake of the Woods for a our second night. Did a day hike from LTW to Ralston peak, and finished off the trek swimming at lake Tamarack. No problem parking midweek, came at 1pm and had lots of options. Mosquito’s were plentiful, but not unbearable. No bear problems, but did see very fresh scat near lake Tamarack. Hung our food at ever campsite. Next trip we are planning to spend all our time at lake Aloha, it was that stunning. Also, packing a flotation devices and a hammock.

hiking
19 days ago

Amazing

hiking
19 days ago

This is a great hike and the lake is beautiful and refreshing

hiking
20 days ago

Very popular, parking is limited

hiking
20 days ago

I finally did this trail! Waited all winter and when I went in June it was snowed in past Echo Lakes. This time I took the Glen Alpine way which I think was nicer going through the forest and passing meadows, streams, ponds and lakes is more enjoyable for me than taking the hot and rocky side of the mountain the other trail. I also really liked Suzie lake which is on the way to Aloha. I walked all the trail by Lake Aloha and was amazed how long it took to pass it then I found a good spot to swim and had fun swimming to a few rock islands.

hiking
24 days ago

super fun challenging day hike with a worthy destination

hiking
rocky
scramble
26 days ago

backpacking
rocky
27 days ago

Went up last weekend for a 4 day stay. Perfect hike for me although I was packed pretty heavy. The lake was incredible at night. Got a nice Milkyway shot you can view in photos. Be ready for some serious mosquito invasions if you are camping. I'll definitely do this trip again.

hiking
rocky
28 days ago

The weather is wonderful and the Lake so Beautiful. I expected some Trout, but they took them off a couple years ago. Anyway, it was a great experience.

backpacking
29 days ago

Spent the night of 8/17 at the North West end of Aloha. Found a great camp site, quiet and secluded. no mosquitos or wildlife around.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Great hike. Got there at 10 am on Friday and parking lots were full. The trail has a ton of loose rocks and make sure you bring enough water for the initial climb. Spent two nights at lake aloha and was definitely one to remember. Lots of trails and exploring to do. Brought my dog and highly recommend dog shoes for the trail.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

Enjoyed hiking along this trail this past Sunday. We were lucky to find a parking spot near the Echo Lakes Chalet. Was not too crowded (more backpackers than hikers). The trail is rocky with scree along some stretches. Shoes with good soles & hiking poles are a must. Do not forget insect repellent!

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Lots of loose rocks to walk over, but beautiful lake at the end. We took the water taxi on the way back, very worth it. $15 pp $8 for dogs, cutting off the last 2 or 2.5 miles of the trail. Got there around 9 and had to park about a mile away so get there early or be prepared to walk a bit to the trailhead. Not too hot but there are some mosquitoes. No more snow unless you go higher.

hiking
1 month ago

gorgeous run, steady climb, pass by numerous lakes en route to Lake Aloha

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked to lake aloha and put up hammocks and swam in the lake. Amazing!!

hiking
1 month ago

This is a beautiful hike, and a great route to see both Aloha and Lake of the Woods. Trails are completely snow-free. Got to the main parking lot at 6:30 AM on a Wednesday and snagged one of the two spaces left.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Great hike! Parking fills by midday. The walk down to the trail is easy to find. The trail, for the most part, is easy to follow. There is a section with a random sign (not many on the trail ) with an arrow to the right. Make sure you stay to the right for several turns, not just the one by the marker. We went on quite a walkabout near the water that was not the trail when we misread this. This is a heavily traveled trail in the beginning. There are quite a few dogs and not all are on leash. We were hyper vigilant in the beginning but several miles in and on our way back we let our guard down and 2 unsupervised off-leash dogs came up on us. They got between my husband and myself and I had to drop one of my leashes so our dog could protect himself. All three dogs took off running. It was beyond stressful. It had been a beautiful day and an amazing hike. This caused so much stress and anxiety. Honestly, I was most worried when the dogs were chasing each other that they would hit a hiker and hurt them. The trail is narrow and the sheer is steep at times. It wouldn’t be difficult to knock someone over and they fall off the trail and down to the water. Met many wonderful people along the way including one who sent our pup back. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and bug spray. In the shady places and when sunsets the mosquitoes are relentless. Stopping for lunch along any of the 5 lakes is a treat. I highly recommend this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing. Just amazing.

hiking
1 month ago

If you only do one hike in the Tahoe area, then this is the one to do. Lake Aloha is nothing short of breathtaking.

hiking
1 month ago

Aloha to Echo Lake Chalet

backpacking
1 month ago

Echo Lake to Lake Aloha. Permit for 27. Camp closer to 39, south Shore

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