Lake Aloha Trail

HARD 302 reviews
#2 of 47 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

trail running

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

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
3 hours ago

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

hiking
5 hours ago

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

hiking
2 days 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
4 days 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
4 days ago

Amazing. Just amazing.

hiking
4 days 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
5 days ago

Aloha to Echo Lake Chalet

backpacking
6 days ago

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

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

backpacking
12 days ago

Beautiful. Permit required for overnight stay and ranger’s office located about 50 minutes away from the trailhead in Camino, CA. Parking lot at 9am was filled and cars were parked as far as a mile out. Speedboat available at $15 per person to cross over 2.4 miles of Lower and Upper Echo Lake (easiest section of the hike). Take the route to pass Lakes of Woods as it is shaded and stunning to hike between green meadows. Hiking poles helpful on terrain with lots of loose rocks. Beware of the mosquitos in the evening- deet bug spray 100% needed.

backpacking
13 days ago

We tried this trail 2 months ago and there was just way too much snow to finish it but, it's perfect right now. There's no snow on the trail but just enough on the mountain tops to add to the beauty. I backpacked out to the far end of Lake Aloha with my girlfriend and it was awesome. Such a great spot for our first backpacking trip. We did take the water taxi to skip past lake Echo which I highly recommend. It's not very scenic up until Lake Tamarak so you're not going to miss much on the trail and you'll get to skip 2.4 miles. It's surprisingly easy to take as well. They accept credit cards and they have a drop phone at the other end of the lake to call the taxi when you wanna come back. Lake Aloha itself is the prettiest lake I've ever seen. All of the rock islands, the water clarity, and the surrounding mountains just make it absolutely stunning. We camped near the far end and there was only a handful of people around. Plenty of privacy and great spots to camp at. The only major downside was the amount of mosquitos. There were thousands in each bush we walked by. It was insane and you will definitely need bug spray or some protection. Other than that it was a great backpacking location and I'd definitely go again.

hiking
13 days ago

Busy beautiful trail but rare parking on weekends in summer on parking lot. Prepare to park on road and walk to trailhead (added 2 miles to my hike;)) Nice hike, snowfree on August 3rd - gravel and rocky for a fair bit along echo lake and after. I took the boat (15$) at beginning and hiked via Lake of the woods to lake Aloha. My favorite spot by lake of the woods. Aloha lake is really pretty and more busy than any of the other lakes but not crowded, easy to find spots by the lake for swimming - didn’t find hike very difficult but was glad i used my hiking poles downhill on gravel and rocks. - it’s a Long day hike but stunning views and very very very pretty. Bring bug spray.

hiking
19 days ago

It’s a very rocky trail but lake aloha is so worth it. Absolutely beautiful.

hiking
23 days ago

Backpacked from Echo Lake to Lake Aloha and then day tripped it to Heather Lake. Stunningly gorgeous area. Just a few snow patches, nothing not manageable. Lake Aloha was warm enough to take a quick dip in. Breeze the first two days kept the bugs down, last day was super calm and the mosquitos were impressive - be prepared! Overall great hike!

hiking
muddy
snow
23 days ago

Day hiked to Aloha from Gilmore thru Susie and Heather. There are some snow areas to go around, river crossing, water run off on the trails and a bit of mud but nothing impassable. Gorgeous with beautiful wildflowers along the way. We took a dip, napped on a rock and was visited by a water snake

backpacking
26 days ago

My first and favorite trail so far. Did this trail about a year ago with my boys and we had a very hard time. I don't suggest this for newbies but I am happy that I did. Beautiful views, gorgeous scenery, and probably the clearest waters (Lake of the Woods and Lake Aloha) I have ever seen. You can "cheat" and get a water taxi from the trail head parking to the end of Upper Echo Lake or vice versa. But also note that if it's windy or have less than 3 people, they will not offer the taxi so be prepared.

hiking
bugs
rocky
snow
27 days ago

Beautiful and challenging, with amazing views. We camped at Tamarack Lake and used daypacks to spend the afternoon on Lake Aloha. It's pristine, beautiful and clear - and is still chilly, but warm enough to swim in during midday. Only negative on the trip was the bugs: there's a bumper crop of mosquitos this year, and they're relentless in the late afternoon and evening. Bring long-sleeve clothing and strong DEET to hold them at bay. There's a little snow on the way to Aloha, but it was easy to navigate.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
snow
28 days ago

backpacking
rocky
snow
30 days ago

Lake Aloha is a dream! Loved this trail from beginning to end. I did cheat and take the water taxi in and out, but honestly, I highly suggest you do it ($15 per person & $8 per dog). The trail is hard, especially if you’re backpacking, but the views make it worth it. I was definitely surprised that there was still a lot of snow on the trail. Got lost twice because of it but because of my All Trails app I was quickly back on track. And then there’s the lake, probably the prettiest thing I have ever laid my eyes on. We only stayed for 1 night but next time I’ll be there for much longer. Also, when we picked up our permits at the ranger station we were told there were a lot of bear sightings within the past few weeks. Luckily we didn’t run into any but we talked to people who had. Make sure you’re prepared with a bear can etc.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

camping
1 month ago

Camped at Lake Aloha for 1 night. We started from Echo Lake. There was a decent amount of snow in the last two miles of the trip. Sometimes we would lose the trail, but eventually made our way back. People have trodden down the snow enough to make a noticeable path. Would highly recommend trekking poles. Crampons not necessary but would be helpful. It was 70 and sunny but it was hard to escape the wrath of the sun! Due to the reflections off of both the snow and the lake, we got burned pretty badly even though we reapplied sun screen often. The snow surrounding the lake is almost melted with splotches here and there. The water is cold but is a nice dip and would highly recommend. The mosquitos were minimal near the lake and at night the wind died down. All in all, great trip!

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