When you reach the trailhead on the other side of the dam, go right and up until you reach an intersection in a short minute. When we planned this trip several months ago, we thought, ‘what’s a better place than heading to American Lake in Desolation Wilderness to celebrate our country’s birthday?’. While in Tahoe on business, I was able to get out for an afternoon and took to the trails around Desolation Wilderness. Note: you need to get a wilderness permit from recreation.gov for this trip. Day 2: Glen Alpine trail to Glen Alpine Trailhead, Tamarack Trail to Tamarack Lake. Since we did this early in the day and the temp was mild, I was fine with 2L of water till we got to American Lake. Please Note that no Campfires are allowed in the Desolation Wilderness. Twin and Island Lakes are in area zone #32 of Desolation Wilderness, which allows 20 campers to enter per day, reservable via Recreation.gov. Good news is, you don’t have to worry too much about ticks or other creepy crawlies. new adventures through a one-stop shop for inspiration and ideation, trip planning, information sharing, From www.fs.fed.us. WILDERNESS PERMITS. It was fairly protected with a large granite rock and even had a private little island that we named “party island” you could swim or float to. Recreation.gov! You’ll be above the shoreline for most of your hike around Lower Echo Lake. Due to COVID-19, no first-come, first-served on the day of entry will be available. The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. Contact a local U.S. Forest Service office for current conditions. Normal Season: Day users may obtain a free permit from the Placerville Ranger Station, or may issue themselves a permit at most major trailheads in the summer. You must stay your first night in the Destination Zone you select for your permit. Parking: Pyramid Creek, Eagle Falls, Loon Lake, Rockbound, and Twin Lakes Day Use Areas have a day use fee, which is waived for overnight permit holders. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. and reservations. As with most backpacking destinations, you’ll need to secure a wilderness permit for any overnight stays in Desolation Wilderness. For those looking for a longer day hike, you can reach Dick’s Peak. On Tuesday morning, Michelle, Maria, and I embarked on a backpacking journey to Desolation Wilderness, a beautiful park near South Lake Tahoe. R at ing. The Desolation Wilderness can be a busy place, so a permit system was established in an effort to spread people out and preserve the quality of the experience for everyone. Desolation Wilderness Permit offices are closed until further notice due to COVID-19 restrictions, but are offering services virtually. Winter conditions are expected to persist in Desolation Wilderness from November through June. Along the route you are treated to amazing scenery with highlights including: alpine lakes, granite peaks, meadows, waterfalls, and expansive views of El Dorado National… The area is divided into 45 zones and permits are required year-round, with quotas in effect from the Friday before Memorial Day to September 30. We provide tools and tips to discover The park strictly limits the number of people in the backcountry because the area has been a bit over-loved lately. A $5 change fee will apply (if you are increasing your party size, additional use fees will apply).Â. For those of you who are unfamiliar with backpacking, backpacking is basically hiking with all of your gear in a giant backpack and then stopping at your … Thanks for stopping by and checking out what I think makes life so fun--adventuring! It is an incredible gift and something we should all be able to enjoy responsibly. Yosemite National Park Backpacking. Plan for the worst, hope for the best—this route features … Although bear canisters aren’t required (but highly encouraged) and you can technically hang your food if you’d like, I would definitely recommend you bring one. However, the $6/permit reservation fee still applies. ( Log Out /  If they are out in full force, you won’t want to feel like a prisoner to your tent. Ever. Happy adventuring! Desolation Wilderness backpacking loop. Backpacking Permits are required and Reservations can be made at: To Reserve Permits: Online: Log on to Recreation.gov and enter “Desolation Wilderness” into the search field. Children under 12 may camp for free. Desolation Wilderness is one of the most popular wilderness areas in the nation. The system disperses visitors throughout the area, providing an opportunity for solitude and reflection. If you are charging a fee for leading a group into the wilderness, this is considered outfitting and guiding and requires a special use permit. After about 7 miles and 1,100′ elevation gain from the trailhead, you’ll reach American Lake. Use this Desolation trip planning guide (PDF) to make the most of your visit and learn more about the permitting system, trail conditions and Desolation wilderness stewardship opportunities. One night: $5 per person. With alpine lakes accessible within several miles of hiking, it’s no wonder that folks flock to this destination from all over the country. Day hiking requires a self-issued permit. Desolation Wilderness Permit Notes and Information Just like in Yosemite National Park and other highly popular areas, 50% of the permits available for Desolation Wilderness during its quota period are available for reservation six months before our start date. Overnight permits are subject to a quota from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend to September 30. You need a camp stove permit from the Forest Service for Desolation Wilderness acknowledging that you know how to safely operate a stove in the backcountry. So, here is what you need to know before setting out on your desolation adventure. If you are planning to backpack in to camp overnight, you will need a permit. ... place to lose yourself. You must have a printed copy of your permit with you at all times.Â. DAY USE PERMIT. A wilderness permit is required year-round for backpacking or any other overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness. For little effort/distance you can find some impressive views and lakes. It's well populated, but controlled by permit regulations. It is located west of Lake Tahoe and north of Highway 50 in California. Bear proof food storage containers may be available for free rental. Winter conditions are expected to persist Nov. to June. She was coming down the trail to get as much food from the market at Lower Echo as she could so they didn’t have to end their trip early. Permit offices offering virtual services only until further notice. Posted on July 11, 2020 Trip Overview: ~38 mile backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness near South Lake Tahoe. If you’re looking for a weekend backpacking trip with the most bang for your buck, look no further than Desolation Wilderness. Outside of the quota season, permits can be booked and printed on the day of entry.Â, Your permit is available to print starting seven days in advance and up to the day of entry. We snagged 6 of the allotted 25 spots for this zone. Respect these sites and walk a different path! Â, Human and dog waste must be disposed of 200’ from water or trail in a cat hole 6-8 inches deep or packed out.Â, Practice Leave No Trace and pack out everything you pack in.Â, Washing with soap, including biodegradable soap, in a stream, lake or any other water source is prohibited.Â, Clean your cookware 200' from water sources. Â. Dogs impact wildlife and barking intrudes on the experience of others.Â, El Dorado County has a mandatory leash law.Â, Damaging or removing any natural feature is prohibited.Â, Photograph your finds, leave them behind for others to enjoy. Â, Limited to two livestock per person and 12 livestock in one group.Â, Do not hitch, tether or hobble a horse or other saddle or pack animal within 200’ of a water source or within 100’ of a campsite.Â, Do not tie stock directly to trees except for loading, unloading or short rest breaks while traveling.Â, Some trails are not recommended for stock use. We felt like the only ones there and had an awesome time floating to the islands and other side of the lake. Desolation Wilderness Topo Backpacking Map . By Emily Whitley, This is the second year in a row that we have decided to skip the crowded beaches and head to the mountains for a very quiet Fourth of July. After your first night, you may change locations for subsequent nights of your visit using the same permit, as long as you exit by the last date booked for your trip.Â, Permits can be reserved up to six months in advance of your day of entry. Horsetail Falls, which tumbles in stages for nearly 500 feet, is just one of the area's many waterfalls.The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail traverses 17 miles through Desolation Wilderness, from Echo Lakes to the south to Richardson Lake just past the northern boundary. Please make sure to abide by these rules as well as all Leave No Trace principles. … Read more. The slope is exposed and there are rocky sections to navigate, but before you know it, you’ll be at the top of some switchbacks and on a beautiful wooded trail. no ratings. Campfires are not allowed within the area. Shortly after our last failed attempt at backpacking in Desolation Wilderness, I was ready to try again. Click on Desolation Wilderness to reserve a permit up to 6 months in advance. And while permits can be hard to snag, getting here is easy. The charm comes from its enchanting lakes, smooth granite surfaces and flowery, green meadows. It is accessible from the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin. July 29, 2016 by Hayley Diep 2 Comments. Before you start this hike make sure you have an overnight wilderness permit. Because my trip was a Monday - Wednesday in October, I could have chosen any destination in Desolation! Trailhead parking areas are closed in winter and many access roads are not subject to snow removal. We decided to enter from the Echo Lakes trailhead at Echo Summit. All means of mechanical transportation, including bicycles, carts, and snowmobiles, are prohibited in the wilderness. Recreation.gov is your gateway to explore America's outdoor 2020 Season: Hard-copy Day Use Permits will be temporarily suspended in Desolation Wilderness for the 2020 season, due to the current COVID-19 situation. Once your permit is available to print, no changes will be allowed (refer to cancellation policy).Â, Change in the number of people, number of days, or the first night destination zone: log onto the website or contact the call center to make changes. Since the taxi is not currently running due to COVID-19, we had to hike alongside the two lakes, which was super enjoyable and I am glad we did. As with most backpacking destinations, you’ll need to secure a wilderness permit for any overnight stays in Desolation Wilderness. size limit is 12) travelling and camping together to stay overnight in Desolation Wilderness.Â, Overnight permits are subject to a quota from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend to September 30. Considerations for Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness: You absolutely need to have a permit from the Forest Service for backpacking through Desolation Wilderness. Hike and Climb Eagle Lake Buttress — Desolation Wilderness, CA. We found an amazing campsite between the south and north shores on the east side. The hike is very pleasant here and it was a perfect temp when we started just after 7:00 am. I don’t know if they didn’t hang it properly or what the exact circumstances were, but I would highly encourage a bear canister. Bears have become more active. American Lake is zone 39 and there are a total of 10 permits available during quota season for this zone, which makes it feel like you have the whole place to yourself. Two to fourteen nights: $10 total per person. Contact the Eldorado Information Center in Camino for more permit information. The line to get permits forms well before this office opens so get there early if you want a walk-up permit. What I am not sure of is do I need to reserve each night in the zone I plan to camp? For more information on overnight permits for Desolation Wilderness … Obtain a free permit from a local Forest Service office, or at trailheads in the summer. My backpacking plan was a three day, two night trip to test out gear and just enjoy some solitary time in the backcountry. Changing the date of entry: cancel your current permit and reserve a new permit. Zone and trailhead map of the Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe, California. 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. We waited a few weeks for more snow to melt, then made our reservation for Lake Aloha (Zone 33). Category: Backpack, Explore, Hike, Lake Tahoe, Northern California      Tags: backpacking, camping, desolationwilderness, hiking. Digital permit will be temporarily accepted during COVID-19. Upon reaching the lake, there are numerous places to camp on the east shore. Over night permits can be obtained from the Forest Service Visitor Centers in South Lake Tahoe. Desolation Wilderness is far from a hidden secret. Desolation Wilderness Permits and Maps For overnight backpacking in Desolation Wilderness, a permit is required. Report it. The PCT runs right through the heart of Desolation Wilderness, so I planned to follow the trail for a couple of days, with my first camp at Lake Aloha and second camp at another lake of my choosing further up the trail. Requirement waived for 2020. Two USGS 30 minute Topo Backpacking Maps Tahoe to Yosemite Trail MAPS and MILES: TRAIL GUIDE: Tahoe to Whitney Indexes : SOUTHBOUND: NORTH SIERRA PCT-TYT Topo Maps : More Miles and Elevations : Weather, Map Data : MAP … See an error? To get to the trailhead, take Hwy 50 to Johnson Pass Road (turn right if coming from South Lake Tahoe) and then make a left on Echo Lakes Road. For the permit, you must enter on the day your permit begins and your first night has to be within your designated zone. There are two types of overnight permits for Desolation Wilderness – A regular Desolation Wilderness Permit and a TRT Thru-Hike Permit. Your Wilderness Permit is also your campfire permit for your gas camp stove while visiting the Desolation Wilderness. Luckily, we didn’t have many skeeters except for 30 minutes each evening, but I would still bring the good stuff (Deet 100). Answer 1 of 3: I'm thinking about a 4 or 5 day loop trip and know I need to secure overnight permit from Recreation.gov site. There are so many amazing lakes to explore in Desolation! Price — Desolation Wilderness, CA . Keywords recreation, wilderness, permits, trails, trailheads, camping, hiking. Desolation requires day hiker and overnight backpacker permits year round. You can get these at the ranger stations and visitor centers in the Tahoe Basin or buy them online at this address: Recreation.gov. When there isn’t a global pandemic and it is the summer season, you can shave nearly 2.5 miles off of your hike by taking the water taxi from Lower Echo Lake to the far end of Upper Echo Lake. A digital or paper permit reservation confirmation is not a valid permit. How to book. We had fun looking at all the beautiful lake cabins and making goals to have one someday in our future. For any subsequent nights, you are allowed to move zones anywhere in Desolation. Have you ever been to American Lake? Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Desolation Annual Pass Holder: Free. The quota is based on 45 Destination Zones. Method of Travel - Travel is restricted to horseback or foot only. Permit allows an individual or group (max. The maximum stay is 14 nights. Use to figure out what permit you need. Change ). Whether it be on a mountain trail, in the kitchen with a new recipe, or on a long road to somewhere new, this little blog is my way of sharing what I love, and I hope you love it, too. Plan your trip carefully. Â, Treat all water by boiling, using purification tablets or filtering.Â, Discharging a firearm is prohibited within 150 yards of a campsite, occupied area, or in any manner or location that places people or property at risk of injury. Â, Commercial use may be prohibited in wilderness and/or requires a special use permit. The trail ends and you’re route finding on your own over granite rocks, navigating around little lakes, and generally making your way west through Desolation Valley. size limit is 12) travelling and camping together to stay overnight in Desolation Wilderness. There is quite a bit of parking in the trailhead lot, but by the time we arrived at 6:55 am on the Friday before Fourth of July, the main parking lot was already completely full. On your way up, you will see trails turning off to Tamarack Lake, Lake Lucile, and Lake of the Woods. I had stumbled upon American Lake five years earlier when on a backpacking trip to nearby Lake of the Woods. Desolation Wilderness Permits are issued through a quota system and can be reserved through recreation.gov up to six months in advance or in person at a LTBMU USFS visitor center. A signed permit must be carried at all times by the group leader. ( Log Out /  I remember thinking it would be a great place to camp and made a point to return there, which is exactly what we did this weekend and it could not have been more perfect. Maximum group size is 12 people who will be together at any given time during the trip. Visitors must obtain a Wilderness permit for overnight camping as well as day visits, year-round. Desolation Wilderness Backpacking does require a permit. Aside from the usual backpacking gear, there are a couple of things that I can’t stress enough: bear canisters and bug spray. Select for your permit begins and your first night in the nation could have chosen any Destination in Desolation before... Had an awesome time floating to the beautiful Lake Aloha ( Zone 33.! 6.00 reservation fee still applies to your tent to horseback or foot only Valley Primitive area established. From a local U.S. Forest Service visitor centers in the Destination Zone select. 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