Desolation Wilderness: Echo Lake To Emerald Bay

Destination: Thru hike from Echo Lake to Emerald Bay
Mileage: 15 miles
Trailhead: Echo Lake off Hwy 50 to Eagle Falls off Hwy 89
Elevation: 7,658 up to 9,417 feet

1. Boat taxi across Echo Lake 2. Lake Aloha 3. View south from Dick's Pass 4. First night's camp 5. Click for full map

1. Boat taxi across Echo Lake 2. Lake Aloha 3. View south from Dicks Pass 4. First night’s camp 5. Click for full map

Every bend in the trail, every crest of a hill or pass the aw-inspiring scenery simply did not quit. Our journey started at the Echo Lake boat ramp, cutting out 2.5 miles of the hike and adding boat ride to Aspen’s adventure pup resume!

From there we hiked five miles just past the Mosquito Pass Junction at the northeast corner of Lake Aloha. The campsite had a nice view of the surrounding granite walls. Before nightfall we took the short walk back to Lake Aloha to enjoy the water/granite fest with a couple of Pabst from the Echo Lake store. While we were there we found a campsite that had me contemplating relocating, but I decided to settle for a return trip another year.

Our second day was 8.5 miles. We stopped for a quick swim in Gilmore Lake and rejuvenate for the trek up and over Dicks Pass – be sure to stop and savor the birds-eye view south of all the lakes you passed. Then we hiked on to the northwest shore of Dicks Lake to set up camp. Yoshi and Toad went fishing while the rest of us put our feet up and enjoyed the lakeshore.

On our last day we hiked 5.5 miles out to Eagle Falls. I will warn, as we neared Eagle Lake the Tahoe day-hikers started multiplying like rabbits! I wanted to turn around and go back into wilderness solitude, but I knew a burger from The Brewery At Lake Tahoe was so close I could taste it, so we continued fighting the crowd to the trailhead.

Enjoying the scenery at Dicks Lake with my pup.

Enjoying the scenery at Dicks Lake with my pup.

I give this trip five trekking poles! Or boots? Marmots? Whatever the equivalent of backpacking stars are!


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