Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the country. It can be difficult to find solitude, especially if you’re hiking to Lake Aloha or up Pyramid Peak on a summer weekend. The hike over Rockbound Pass is far less crowded than many of the trails on the eastern side of the wilderness. This 24-mile loop offers some of Desolation’s best scenery with numerous alpine lakes and stunning views of the Crystal Range. Continue reading “Rockbound Pass: Desolation’s Desolate Side”
Pyramid Peak gets all the attention, but its two sisters in the Crystal Range are definitely worth a visit. Mount Price (9975′) and Mount Agassiz (9967′) can easily be hiked in one day. The Lyons Creek trailhead offers a direct approach to both peaks from the west side. The roundtrip hike is approximately 13 miles with over 3000-ft of elevation gain. Continue reading “Mount Agassiz & Mount Price – Desolation Wilderness”
We’ve attempted and failed to hike Pyramid Peak more times than I’d like to admit. Poor planning, late starts and crappy weather have all thwarted past attempts. Our friend Nolan has had a similar experience. After climbing far more challenging peaks, we (jokingly) began to wonder if we’d ever make it to the top of “the elusive Pyramid Peak.”
Finally, this past weekend we made it happen. The weather was looking to be perfect. We chose the most direct route – Rocky Canyon from Highway 50. We were determined to finally knock this one off our list. Continue reading “Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon”
Shortly after our last failed attempt at backpacking in Desolation Wilderness, I was ready to try again. We waited a few weeks for more snow to melt, then made our reservation for Lake Aloha (Zone 33). We snagged 6 of the allotted 25 spots for this zone.
Basics: This overnight hike was about 13 miles round-trip. This distance sounds easier than it is – the Ralston trail begins by climbing 2400-ft in a few short miles. Anyone looking for an easier approach can access Lake Aloha from the Echo Lakes area. From the route described in this post, it’s possible to take short detours to climb Ralston Peak or visit several other Desolation Wilderness lakes. Continue reading “Lake Aloha via the Ralston Peak Trail”
Things don’t always go according to plan. I’m normally pretty good at planning stuff and I have decent luck most of the time, but every once in a while hiking does not go how I expect.
Continue reading “Lyons Creek Trail – Desolation Wilderness”
This hike is 6-ish difficult miles beginning at the Pyramid Creek trailhead on Highway 50, with about 1900 feet of elevation gain. The unmaintained trail goes past Horsetail Falls (a neat destination itself) up to several beautiful lakes in Desolation Wilderness.
I’ve been wanting to hike up Pyramid Peak for quite some time, but it just hasn’t happened (yet). On the occasions I have planned to do this hike, I’ve been stopped by major thunderstorms or crazy gusts of wind. This weekend, the weather was looking pretty perfect, but with a late start and the days already getting shorter, we didn’t make it up the peak. I will get there eventually. Instead, we hiked up to some high alpine lakes and enjoyed a beautiful and relaxing October day in Desolation Wilderness. Continue reading “Ropi Lake via Horsetail Falls – Desolation Wilderness”
Basics: Mount Tallac is a 10 mile hike (out and back) with approximately 3500 ft of elevation gain. The main trailhead is just a few miles west of South Lake Tahoe, though this peak can also be reached from Gilmore Lake and other areas deeper in Desolation Wilderness. It’s strenuous, but the incredible views down to Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Tahoe, and over to Desolation Wilderness make this a very popular hike. On summer weekends, there can easily be dozens of people on the summit at once. I would recommend an early start. Permits for day hikes are self-issued at the trailhead. For overnight trips, reserve your permit in advance at Recreation.gov. Continue reading “Mount Tallac in Desolation Wilderness”
Basics: Ralston Peak is located in the southern part of Desolation Wilderness and is relatively easy to reach. There is a trailhead with parking on the north side of Hwy 50 at Camp Sacramento. Permits are required. The hike is just under 6 miles (roundtrip) and involves a moderately strenuous gain of about 2700-ft. Continue reading “Ralston Peak – Desolation Wilderness”