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Lake of the Woods via Pacific Crest Trail

MODERATE 62 reviews
#7 of 55 trails in

Lake of the Woods via Pacific Crest Trail is a 11.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,788 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

snow

hiking
27 days ago

moderate to strenuous, but an absolutely amazing spot. we came up here in late September and camped in complete solitude. weather was gorgeous. Pack heavy with fog food (!!), we decided to turn off early to Tamarac Lake Tamarac is a hidden gem.

Nice hike in late summer with a series of scenic lakes along the way.

hiking
bugs
rocky
2 months ago

Insanely beautiful. Worth every step!!

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
bugs
muddy
rocky
snow
3 months ago

Hiked this trail on July 5, camped at Lake of the Woods, and came back the next day. Stunningly beautiful trail, vistas, and lakes. And I’d say it’s a moderately difficult hike at most. You start seeing snow around 5 miles in, and a bit before the trail splitting (towards Aloha or Lake of the Woods) the snow pretty much covers the trail. Though with a GPS (or by following other hikers’ footprints) you should be just fine. The climb to the ridge right before the downhill towards Lake of the Woods was the hardest (and entirely covered in a few feet of snow). But as you start going down to the lake you’re able to find the trail again. The lake itself doesn’t have almost any snow on it, but the shores are still more or less covered. All that said, we camped in one of the designated spots, took a dip in the lake the next day, and even met a couple of marmots!

hiking
3 months ago

Just hiked it today (7/6/19). Gorgeous hike! Took the water taxi across Echo Lake (from Echo Lake Chalet - $15 pp $8 for dogs) which was a beautiful way to see the lake and all the amazing rock formations along its shore and the lovely cabins. Plus the hike was a push for our mid-50’s bodies and our little dog, so taking the first and last leg by boat helped us make it all the way to Lake of The Woods. Lots of snow the last hour of the hike. Yes, snow in July! Even passed some hikers who had skied. Snow completely covered the trail for a while so the All Trails app was clutch for keeping us from getting lost. We would have had to turn back without it. After making it past the snow we descended and had beautiful views of Lake of The Woods. Spent an hour there on the Saturday of July 4th weekend and barely saw anyone else. Even skinny dipped in the Lake - for about 3 minutes. It was freezing but exhilarating! Note the trail is also very rocky so between that and the snow it’s slow moving and will take longer than your average hoking pace.

hiking
3 months ago

Went to Lake Tamarack. Heard there was snowpack on the trail past that so we decided to call it a day there. Quite a bit of running water in the trail but nothing worse than wet feet. Absolutely beautiful hike! Go early to beat the crowds.

hiking
6 months ago

It was my first hike in years. Out of shape 63 years old. It was a long hike to the Lake of the Woods, my legs were too tired to go down to the water. I could handle the 350’ hike up, so I just enjoyed the view from above. Hope to do it again and go all the way down to the water. Important to listen to your body.

backpacking
10 months ago

Recently I had the great fortune of hiking to Lake of the Woods with two of our sons. We took a chance, late in the hiking season, to travel a small portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. This wonderful little trail offered a variety of terrain, lakes and foliage. While challenging, in my current athletic ability, this well-traveled trail gives the day hiker and backpacker stunning views and beautiful scenery. We had the lake to ourselves for two days. Clear sky and beautiful weather with temps in the sixties daytime and low thirties at night, made for a fantastic trip! We will be back to this little gem again!

hiking
Friday, August 10, 2018

We were aiming for Aloha but decided to head down to Lake Of The Woods en route. So glad we did! Despite all the smoke from the CA fires, it was a beautiful lake that we pretty much had to ourselves :) I can’t wait to do it again on a clear day! Rocky trail would benefit from hiking poles....

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Great not only dogs allowed but Lama’s

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Went to Lake of the Woods then Lake Aloha. Fantastic day hike. Took the water taxi both ways so it was only 7.3 miles. I've seen most of the eastern part of Desolation Wilderness and this was as good a day hike as I've done. Beautiful lakes, views, wild flowers. Highly recommend it.

hiking
Sunday, July 08, 2018

This was a gorgeous hike! Meadows with lots of wildflowers and many lakes to look at along the way. It’s a rocky trail for the most part with narrow passings. Lots of overnight backpackers on the trail. Recommend really good hiking boots.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Had a one night camp in Lake of The Woods. The lake es beautiful offering many great views of Pyramid Peak and greenery.

backpacking
Monday, October 23, 2017

One of the most beautiful Lakes in Desolation. A favorite destination. Climb the peak at the north end of the lake with the lone pine tree on top for a spectacular view of Lake Aloha and Lake of the Woods.

backpacking
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Had a great weekend at Lake of the Woods. I think this is the best place in Desolation to camp. There's an awesome rock face nearby you can climb that has great views of lake Aloha and the surrounding area. Wasn't too cold this past weekend, didn't notice any mosquitos. The hike is pretty steep and rocky going up, have good shoes because the rocks get hard on the feet after a while. If you catch a warm day on your hike back, don't miss the small trail down to the water about 1/4 a mile from the trailhead. We had a great time swimming around hanging out here

hiking
Monday, July 31, 2017

We camped at Lake of the Woods last weekend. It was fantastic! We rode the water taxi across both Echo lakes. We then hiked for a few hours and then picked out a nice camp spot on the west side of the lake (Lake of the Woods). The next day we hiked to Lake Aloha and then to Heather Lake. Fishing was disappointing at Lake of the Woods but Heather Lake was better. The mosquitos were out in force at night so bring long sleeves and spray. I highly recommend this area. Lake Aloha is full and still snow in a few areas. Go enjoy!

backpacking
Friday, June 30, 2017

A beautiful and fun trail. My family and I backpacked in June after a winter of heavy snow and the lake was still frozen and covered in snow. The second half of the trail was completely covered in snow and waterproof hiking boots were a must. Also be ready to filter your own water from the lake or small rivers running into the lake.

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

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