Destination: Mount Tallac
Mileage: 9ish miles round trip
Trailhead: End of Mount Tallac Rd, off Hwy 89
Elevation: 6,440 up to 9,890 feet
Mount Tallac is truly a choose your own adventure hike, there are so many approach options! You can wrap around the base of the mountain and come at the summit from the west via the Glen Alpine Trail, which starts at the end of Fallen Leaf Lake. If you’re exiting Desolation Wilderness, Mount Tallac is a great last stop on the way out. There’s a trail that comes up from Fallen Leaf Lake and joins the Mount Tallac trail just north of Cathedral Lake. Then there’s the main summer route, which is what we did, from Mount Tallac Trailhead. Even then there are two options for the big climb from Cathedral – a more direct route or one that I’m assuming has more switchbacks. You could stand on Mount Tallac at least a dozen times and have a new hike every time!
A bit after Cathedral Lake the trail splits, one route being more direct while the other switchbacks up the eastern slope. There was a trail crew along the switchbacks so we headed up the “escalator,” as some locals called it. Once you reach the pass, enjoy the first views into the heart of Desolation Wilderness with Pyramid Peak towering over far-off Lake Aloha.
Enjoy the 360-view at the top, but keep an eye on your pack! There is a scurry of chipmunks or golden-mantled ground squirrels, I’m not positive which, waiting for you to let down your guard long enough to make off with your lunch.
To the guy taking a nap on the peak – I’ll admit that is a pretty sweet nap spot assuming you don’t roll around in your sleep, but you and the sheep you’re counting are hogging the summit photo location! For photo opportunities without other hikers in the background get an early start or snap some shots below the true summit.
What route will you choose for your hike up Mount Tallac?