Dicks Peak and Dicks Pass ~ at 9,380 feet, the highest pass on the Pacific Crest Trail between here and the Canadian border ~ are worthy destinations for the view alone. 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. But don’t let this scare you away from enjoying 64,000 acres (100 square miles) of subalpine and alpine forest, granitic peaks, meadows of wildflowers, 75 glacially-formed lakes with names, and countless ones without names. Hikers climbing out of the densely wooded Lake Tahoe basin are often startled by the Desolation Wilderness' sudden expanse of glacially polished scenery. Closest to the wilderness border is Bayview Campground (916 544-5994) to the east. We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine lake dotted with fir tree covered islands, sparkling crystal clear waters, our own private swimming cove, and violet sunsets. Plenty of hiking trails; some to waterfalls and others to great views of Lake Tahoe. Hiking and backpacking at its finest, through pastoral grasslands and forests of pine and fur. A Guide to Desolation Wilderness is available from the Forest Service. This wilderness area is in the Sierra Mountain range where rugged natural wonders rule. The trail to the top of Dicks Peak is obscure at times, but the scree-scrambling left us standing on top of the world, looking down on a windswept granite-colored kingdom dotted with hundreds of blue puddles. Desolation Wilderness Permits: Backpacking and Day Hiking. Summer temperatures of 60 to 75 degrees F draw crowds in mid-June. The crest of the Sierra Nevada is found here. Trip Overview: ~12 mile relaxing backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness. Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Desolation Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. Permits are required in Desolation Wilderness. Before European settlers arrived, it was occupied by Washoe people. Desolation Wilderness was titled for its unforested, open stone landscape, and that starkness and open sky are what give the place its beauty. Although the Velma lakes typically are crowded with fishermen and weekend wanderers, we managed to escape the crowds. Heading toward Fontanillis and Dicks Lake, we found relative solitude and incredible scenery. Hazards Be alert to extreme weather conditions. It's a free site with a 48-hour limit operating on a first come, first served basis. Plant Life Cedar, pines, firs, mountain grass, and wildflowers characterize the area. Philip Werner 4000 Footers, Backpacking Trips, Trip Reports, White Mountains. It once was filled with glacial runoff that spilled into the southern end of Lake Tahoe and washed through canyons before draining into the American River valley to the west. The middle section which is a long climb up from Echo Lake to the desolation wilderness is very rocky. While Sawtooth Lake grabs the limelight, behind the scenes lie crowd-free peace and splendor. Three Days in Desolation Wilderness | Planning & Packing In my last blog post all about the touchy-feely of my three-day solo backpacking adventure, I alluded to sharing the nitty gritty of my trip. A practical application of the lessons learned in the first class, so to speak. Ropi Lake (3) South L…, CA. Though the Desolation Wilderness is the most used Wilderness in the nation on a per acre basis, there was not a human near Grass Lake and only a … Susie and heather lakes (Lake Tahoe) is a 10.6 mile out and back trail located near Lake tahoe, California. This is a great overnight backpacking trip that features some of the best of Desolation Wilderness. Because of its beauty and accessibility, Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the United States. Behind the forbidding name lies California's glacier-polished playground. If you are a lover of nature and backpacking, then Desolation Wilderness in California is a destination worth looking at. The hike over Rockbound Pass is far less crowded than many of the trails on the eastern side of the wilderness. Click here for all the important dates for booking CA backpacking permits Even though Desolation is a popular weekend destination, the northwest quadrant is the least used and can be explored cross-country for those proficient with map and compass. Location Desolation Wilderness is in north-central California along the eastern border, 3-1/2 hours northeast of San Francisco, 2 hours east of Sacramento, and 1 hour southwest of Reno, Nevada. Grab some maps for Granite Chief, Tahoe, and Robbs Peak if you want to venture beyond the most accessible trailheads or turn your hike into more than a weekend excursion. Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, Taylor Creek Visitor Center Call: (530) 573-2674. The Desolation has been broken into 45 different “zones” with a quota system limiting the number of people in each one. While visiting in late August, supposedly the warmest time of the year, my friends and I were chased out a day early by freezing temperatures and the threat of snow. https://www.mapquest.com/us/california/desolation-wilderness-376313975 Desolation Wilderness is a federally protected wilderness of 63,000+ acres in Northern California. The 15-minute USGS topo map Fallen Leaf Lake provides a view of most of the Desolation Wilderness area. Trip Overview: ~38 mile backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness near South Lake Tahoe. It's bounded by logging roads and operations to the north and west, Lake Tahoe to the east, and US 50 to the south. For backpacking, Fontanillis and Dicks Lake are both in the same Desolation Wilderness zone - #23. Carson Ranger District 1536 S. Carson St. Carson City, NV 89701. 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… If you want to avoid that, you can do this as an out and back starting from the Eagle lake trail head. Route Name: Bayview Trailhead Location: South Lake Tahoe, California Duration: 3 days minimum Length:22 km / 13.8 miles If you decide to go, please practice Leave No Trace. Make sure to call ahead to the Placerville Ranger Station in Camino, CA to reserve a wilderness permit ($6 reservation fee plus $5/person for the 1st night, $10 more than 1 night). If you're looking for a weekend backpacking trip with the most bang for your buck, look no further than Desolation Wilderness. 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. For more information on overnight permits for Desolation Wilderness click … The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. After a hot day of hiking, there is no better way to relax than with a swim in beautiful Lake Aloha where you can spend hours swimming from island to island. Great Intro hike into Desolation Wilderness. Wildlife Deer, marmots, and a few bears make up the region's wildlife. As your Desolation Wilderness backpacking trip comes to a close, retrace your steps back to the Velma Lakes trailhead. Backpacking the Desolation Loop in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Even on the most crowded of weekends, it's possible to venture off-trail a short distance and set up a remote camp amid the granite bowls and high alpine lakes. A strong hiker could cross it in a day or two, but the treasures here encourage you to linger. In winter, the temperatures are in the high teens or 20s. If you're looking for a real adventure, you can try turning this loop into a day hike. This 12 mile loop starts at the Fallen Leaf Lake Tamarack Trail Head and intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail. During the winter months, most of the trailheads are covered by snow and are not accessible. The walk up to the peak is the most challenging, but the view is so gorgeous! Due to it’s relatively easy access and proximity to large populations in the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Reno, Desolation Wilderness Area receives more use per acre than any other wilderness area in the U.S. Between June 15 and September 30, when a quota is in effect, overnight hikers should be sure to contact the Forest Service 90 days before their outing. Disappeared 10,000 years ago, but the treasures here encourage you to linger out and have it you. ~38 mile backpacking trip with a few dozens of trails and trail heads that provide to. ; some to waterfalls and others to great views with a variety terrains. 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