Save up to 70% off Outdoor Gear & Apparel. At one point, we had to lower our packs in order to safely climb down without that weight on our back. Desolation wilderness is not so desolate. The hike up was less than 4 miles with an elevation gain of less than 1,000 feet ( you start high). From as far away as Sacramento, I could see the smoke from the fire in the distance, growing larger the closer I got to… Located west of Lake Tahoe and north of Highway 50, the Desolation Wilderness is a spectacular area of subalpine and alpine forests, granitic peaks, and glacially formed valleys and lake basins. Access is available from the Mount Rose Highway (Nevada Highway 431) at Timberline Road, Galena Creek County Park and Mount Rose Summit. The permits list your information, where you are going and allow rangers to know where you are hiking. This may sound strange to some ears, but I will always prefer snow over loose rocks and brushes. My conclusion of this summer trip was that this is a great area for winter snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. Alternatively you can fill the wilderness permits up in any major trail head. We headed out on a sunny Sunday to Lake Aloha. That section was probably the sketchiest. The adventure starts at Glen Alpine Falls. From the trailhead, you will follow Pyramid Creek Trail into This trip is reserved for people who are confident going off trail and familiar with navigating in the backcountry, using topographic maps or a GPS. Get Your Permit – Never hike in Desolation Wilderness without filling out your permit. It was Tuesday, September 15. On the southern shore of Gilmore Lake, we made a right turn on a very narrow - almost hard to see - trail and followed it down. The coordinates are 38.877214, -120.080302.Warning: This trailhead is quite remote. Desolation Annual Pass Holder: Free. It provides endless camping opportunities and is spacious enough so that you will experience true backcountry solitude. Dicks Lake, while beautiful and unique is less welcoming to campers than Lake Aloha. This trail (which remains anonymous as of the time when this is written) was very secluded and showed significant signs of bear activity - testimony of the very few people who seem to use it. Day use is not subject to fees nor limited by quota at any time of the year. Signed up for a meet-up hike to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. The unmaintained trail goes past Horsetail Falls (a neat destination itself) up to several beautiful lakes in Desolation Wilderness. The two most convenient are on Highway 50 near Placerville (916-644-6048) and in South Lake Tahoe (916-573-2600). Dates: June 27-28, 2009 Duration: 2 days, 1 night Mileage: ~?? The Mount Rose Wilderness is located southwest of Reno, Nevada. Wrights Lake Campground is situated in the timber belt, close to the lake shore, looking up at the majestic rocky peaks of the Sierra Nevadas and Desolation Wilderness. The trail from Gilmore Lake to Glen Alpine trailhead, Crampons (recommended in heavy snow conditions). During peak season, the parking lot fills quickly and it can be tricky to find a spot. In the winter, make sure to use proper gear. Child (12 years and younger): Free. Nearest Nevada Towns: Reno and Incline Village However, the $6/permit reservation fee still applies. Basic Guide for Exploring the Desolation Wilderness. When we got to Tahoe Ranger STation… Highlights include alpine lakes, granite peaks, and expansive views of Desolation Wilderness. Most of the hiking is done between 6,000 and 10,000 ft. The Ralston Peak trail head is not considered major, as I did not see any place to self issue a wilderness permit. It then turns onto a steep and stunning canyon with expansive views of the southern flanks of Desolation Wilderness. Samuel Loy About Companies Adventure Reports Contact Companies Adventure Reports Contact It is part of the Eldorado National Forrest and managed by the Forrest Service. You can pick up permits at ranger stations or fill out overnight ones online. A large field of sharp granite seems to dominate the landscape. 3) Dogs must be on a leash at all times. the Desolation Canyon Wilderness Area for 43.7 miles. It is also a popular section for PCT thru-hikers. If the first section up Jacks peak consisted of an easy class 3, I would rate the way down towards the ridge as an average to difficult class 3.We really wanted to make it up to Dicks Peak, but it started getting late in the day. This loop traverses over Rockbound Pass and Dicks Pass on its way to the beautiful Lake Aloha. This wilderness area is in the Sierra Mountain range where rugged natural wonders rule. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the length of the wilderness, and its proximity to roads makes it one of the more easily accessible wildernesses in the Sierra. The view at the top of Jacks Peak is a statement of why this area is called “Desolation Wilderness”. Normal Season: Day users may obtain a free permit from the Placerville Ranger Station, or may issue themselves a … The trail from Glen Alpine to Lake Aloha is well marked and quite easy to follow. We figured this would be an unofficial “off the beaten path” trail and enjoyed the idea of going back this way. However, since it was August, we opted for a late evening swim in the fresh water lake, before setting our tent and getting ready for the night. Make sure to empty your car of all food items (this is prime bear country), take your permit, and you are good to go ! You can’t actually see the actual summit of Jacks Peak from its base. From there we could see Jacks Peak’s summit. Desolation Wilderness. Past Susie Lake, the trail follows its path towards Heather Lake and climbs another 600 ft for 2 miles towards Lake Aloha. Phone: (530) 644-2324 4260 Eight Mile Road Camino, CA 95709. Forest ranger Miranda Leconte prepares a meal while working in the Desolation Wilderness. The Desolation Wilderness is located just to the southwest of Lake Tahoe and north of Highway 50. My goal is to inspire you to get out there and explore this amazing state. 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. From Jacks Peak’s summit, the ridge towards Dicks Peak made itself quite obvious. Maps and trail information are available at the Carson Ranger Station. The high grade and loose rocks made the crossing long and frustrating. Today was our last day on the trail and we had planned to go back to the parking lot. We completed this short distance backpacking trip over 3 days in July of 2018. The few bouldering sections are relatively easy and display large grips. Map. Several sites offer sweeping views of Wrights Lake. My brother and I had 3 spare days to spend in the backcountry in the summer of 2018. A free wilderness permit is required for the day hike. ... During the winter, day permits are available at the Pacific Ranger Station. This part of the Desolation is known for browns and Crag Lake has some fine fish ... Day permits are available at trailheads but overnight permits must be obtained from a ranger station. 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. If you choose not to take the water taxi, add 5 miles to the overall trip. However, this statement might differ based on the weather conditions, the overall pack’s weight and one’s ability to deal with actual climbing.Jacks Peak is a little bit deceiving in the sense that there are several false summits before reaching the actual peak.We got up the first summit and rested near a lake, we then hiked for about 1/2 mile to a large rock field. From there, we followed the PCT trail to Gilmore Lake for another 2.5 miles. Finding a good campsite is hard around Dicks Lake - I recommend the northern and eastern shores. After scrambling a few more hundred feet up through loose rocks and dense brushes, we made it to the top of Jacks peak. From there, the road becomes unmaintained, yet still manageable for non-SUVs. The photographs below are a small testimony of what we experienced. Being the good law-abiding firearm owner that I am, I called the NF office to assure myself that open carry in the Eldorado National Forest is legal and allowed. Trip Overview: ~38 mile backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness near South Lake Tahoe. The following is a list to better prepare you for your next Desolation Wilderness adventure: For a list of Desolation Wilderness trailheads, click here. For day hikers, permits are free. … It seemed that the obvious way to get back to our car was to join Glen Alpine Trail, however we usually prefer doing loops than going back the way we came from. As a consequence, there are endless possibilities for exploring the backcountry. We set up our tent and called it a night. I started complaining about the fact that the section we had just done would have been much easier, safer and quicker, if covered with snow. Crystal Info Center. I complained again that if done in the winter, this crossing would have been a breeze using crampons and an ice axe.We finally made it to the ridge east of Dicks peak. Fallen Leaf road is not plowed during winter. Desolation Wilderness Volunteers is a volunteer organization that works directly with and under the USFS. The Tahoe Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail pass through the wilderness. From this point, we would be going off-trail. Overnight Recreation Fee: There is a per person fee for a Desolation Wilderness Overnight Permit. The area is well-known for its hiking, wildflowers and birding. I would rate this as a class 3. After many years of being a full time freelance writer, and a long time resident of this state, I've decided to turn my full attention toward California by exploring all that it has to offer. It is located in a steep bowl that offers very few visible flat spots. Trip Overview: ~12 mile relaxing backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness. You can get one at the Pacific Ranger District Ranger station in Pollock Pines. The terrain consisted mainly of loose rocks which made our feet quite sore. 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