Desolation Wilderness Area ─ Use Permits. Highlights include alpine lakes, granite peaks, and expansive views of Desolation Wilderness. … From as far away as Sacramento, I could see the smoke from the fire in the distance, growing larger the closer I got to… Phone: (530) 543-2674 . The high grade and loose rocks made the crossing long and frustrating. Phone: (530) 644-2324 4260 Eight Mile Road Camino, CA 95709. I plan on backpacking for a two night trip in Desolation Wilderness starting at the Pyramid Creek Trailhead with a few friends. As a consequence, there are endless possibilities for exploring the backcountry. We had a great time exploring this region of Desolation Wilderness. Day use is not subject to fees nor limited by quota at any time of the year. 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. We headed out on a sunny Sunday to 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. You can pick up permits at ranger stations or fill out overnight ones online. Dates: June 27-28, 2009 Duration: 2 days, 1 night Mileage: ~?? Hikers climbing out of the densely wooded Lake Tahoe basin are often startled by the Desolation Wilderness' sudden expanse of … Child (12 years and younger): Free. The two most convenient are on Highway 50 near Placerville (916-644-6048) and in South Lake Tahoe (916-573-2600). It was Tuesday, September 15. From there we could see Jacks Peak’s summit. 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. We woke up to a beautiful sunny day. Signed up for a meet-up hike to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. the Desolation Canyon Wilderness Area for 43.7 miles. Our intention was to blend regular trail backpacking and off-trail exploration. The trail going down the canyon was exceptionally steep and took us 1,600 ft down for about 1.5 miles. For day hikers, permits are free. From the trailhead, you will follow Pyramid Creek Trail into The trail from Gilmore Lake to Glen Alpine trailhead, Crampons (recommended in heavy snow conditions). Top. The Tahoe Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail pass through the wilderness. Continue towards the fire station. I would rate this as a class 3. The view at the top of Jacks Peak is a statement of why this area is called “Desolation Wilderness”. Maps and trail information are available at the Carson Ranger Station. This adventure can be done throughout the year. The trail from Glen Alpine to Lake Aloha is well marked and quite easy to follow. Placerville Ranger District. Permits are capped for each wilderness zone. You must camp in the designated zone on the first night but are free to camp anywhere on the nights that follow. We set up our tent and called it a night. However, since Desolation Wilderness is filled with lakes, mountain peaks, changing weather and wildlife, it can also be a dangerous place for those who are inexperienced. The permits list your information, where you are going and allow rangers to know where you are hiking. 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. From there, the road becomes unmaintained, yet still manageable for non-SUVs. We hiked this section at the end of the day and I found the colors to be stunning. A free wilderness permit is required for the day hike. We figured this would be an unofficial “off the beaten path” trail and enjoyed the idea of going back this way. Easy marked dirt trail then on the granite there were stones lined along the way to … 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. The Mount Rose Wilderness is located southwest of Reno, Nevada. A large field of sharp granite seems to dominate the landscape. Dicks Lake, while beautiful and unique is less welcoming to campers than Lake Aloha. It is located in a steep bowl that offers very few visible flat spots. It then turns onto a steep and stunning canyon with expansive views of the southern flanks of Desolation Wilderness. 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. Save up to 70% off Outdoor Gear & Apparel. The coordinates are 38.877214, -120.080302.Warning: This trailhead is quite remote. The scenery is breathtaking and difficult to describe with words. 2) The maximum number of people per group, day trip or overnighter is 12. It is accessible from the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin. Fallen Leaf road is not plowed during winter. The trail climbs 1,300 ft for 3.5 miles to Susie Lake, which is the first real Alpine Lake you will encounter. After scrambling a few more hundred feet up through loose rocks and dense brushes, we made it to the top of Jacks peak. It then turns to an actual trail and winds up through beautiful forests and meadows. Desolation is a popular backpacking destination, with much barren rocky terrain at the edge of the tree line. 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. Several sites offer sweeping views of Wrights Lake. If you have a large group, you may want to consider areas outside of designated Wilderness. ... During the winter, day permits are available at the Pacific Ranger Station. My goal is to inspire you to get out there and explore this amazing state. 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… 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. 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. 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. 4) Check in with the ranger stations for campground restrictions. The Ralston Peak trail head is not considered major, as I did not see any place to self issue a wilderness permit. The first mile consists of a unmaintained concrete road winding up past Lily Lake. Trip Overview: ~38 mile backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness near South Lake Tahoe. 50% of the permits are available to reserve beforehand and the other 50% are available the day of the trip at the ranger station near Pollock Pines. However, the $6/permit reservation fee still applies. It is also a popular section for PCT thru-hikers. Crystal Info Center. The fishing in all the Lakes is supposed to be quite decent. The following is a list to better prepare you for your next Desolation Wilderness adventure: For a list of Desolation Wilderness trailheads, click here. The photographs below are a small testimony of what we experienced. From there we could see Dicks Peak and Dicks Lake in the distance. The terrain consisted mainly of loose rocks which made our feet quite sore. After studying our maps, I had decided we would travel off-trail and join Dicks Lake (our destination) by way of two-mountain passes: Jacks peak and Dicks Peak. That section was probably the sketchiest. The adventure starts at Glen Alpine Falls. 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. 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. This wilderness area is in the Sierra Mountain range where rugged natural wonders rule. 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. Check out more of my Desolation Wilderness adventures. Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. We made our way up, sometimes hiking steep uphills, sometimes doing actual climbing. The Desolation Wilderness is within the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in El Dorado County, California. Desolation Wilderness - Pyramid Lake. So we looked at our different maps and noticed a trail north of Glen Alpine that existed on certain maps but was absent on others. The campground offers dozens of campsites for tent and RV camping. The road ends in a parking lot where the trail starts. Overnight permits must be reserved in advance and picked up at the ranger station. It is part of the Eldorado National Forrest and managed by the Forrest Service. Please follow my adventures and news content by visiting Calexplornia daily or clicking on one of my Social Media accounts below. The unmaintained trail goes past Horsetail Falls (a neat destination itself) up to several beautiful lakes in Desolation Wilderness. Taylor Creek Station. The Desolation Wilderness is located just to the southwest of Lake Tahoe and north of Highway 50. After 3 miles, you will pass a lodge. However, after scrambling through trees, we found a spot right by the water. It provides endless camping opportunities and is spacious enough so that you will experience true backcountry solitude. Permit information., Planning tips, Routes and Maps Samuel Loy About Companies Adventure Reports Contact Companies Adventure Reports Contact 1) Campfires are prohibited inside Desolation Wilderness. Get Your Permit – Never hike in Desolation Wilderness without filling out your permit. Description: The Desolation Wilderness encompasses 64,053 acres of rugged alpine terrain in the Tahoe region of the Sierra Nevada. This loop traverses over Rockbound Pass and Dicks Pass on its way to the beautiful Lake Aloha. There is a $5.00 fee to park in the parking area at Twin Bridges. Today was our last day on the trail and we had planned to go back to the parking lot. From South Lake Tahoe, get on Highway 89 heading north and take a left on Fallen Leaf Road. 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. Trying to squeeze in one last hike before winter sets in, I called on Kannon to finish the portion of the Desolation Wilderness that the Brokeback partners didn't get a chance to finish on our last trip. We enjoyed a warm meal and had a restful night. Basic Guide for Exploring the Desolation Wilderness. 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. 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. We packed our gear and headed north of Aloha Lake towards the base of Jacks Peak (see the map for more details). The Desolation Wilderness requires all day-hikers and overnight visitors to have a backcountry permit — yes, even day-hikers. Therefore we decided to cut the ridge and cross the southeastern flank of Dicks Peak, right below the peak. The proximity to the lake makes it a popular destination. The remaining The few bouldering sections are relatively easy and display large grips. Desolation Annual Pass Holder: Free. ... You can line up mega-early and pick up a permit at either the Pacific Ranger Station or the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Supervisor’s Office. The climbing never got difficult to the point that we would require ropes and climbing gear. +/- 3,000 feet of elevation with a starting elevation of 6,970 feet and a peak elevation of 9,660 feet. We completed this short distance backpacking trip over 3 days in July of 2018. As the sun sets, the last dim of light slowly vanishes behind the surrounding peaks and is slowly replaced by a red glow that surrounds the lake and provides magnificent colors to that environment. The crest of the Sierra Nevada is found here. How to Obtain an Overnight Permit for Desolation Wilderness 1) Pre-trip Planning: • Carefully review Desolation Wilderness rules and regulations. The area is well-known for its hiking, wildflowers and birding. Permits are required year-round for both day and overnight use. The Desolation Wilderness consists of a network of rugged granite peaks (typical of the Sierra), large alpine lakes, low elevation forests and high elevation meadows. Normal Season: Day users may obtain a free permit from the Placerville Ranger Station, or may issue themselves a … The Desolation Wilderness lies in the north of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, close to Lake Tahoe. Desolation Wilderness Thanks to it’s breathtaking granite landscape and easy accessibility, the Desolation Wilderness is one of the most popular wilderness areas in the country. During peak season, the parking lot fills quickly and it can be tricky to find a spot. All funding comes from the USFS via donations in the box at the Pacific Ranger Station, overnight permit fees, parking fees (Twin Bridges and Eagle Falls), and grants written by the USFS on behalf of the Desolation Wilderness Volunteers. There is no official sign at the top. My conclusion of this summer trip was that this is a great area for winter snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. On river left, 68.8 miles of the 84 miles are managed by the Uintah-Ouray tribal government and 13.8 miles are within that portion of the Desolation Canyon Wilderness Study Area managed by the Moab Field Office. You can get one at the Pacific Ranger District Ranger station in Pollock Pines. Phone: (530) 293-3510 . Without any climbing gear whatsoever, we proceeded carefully. Most of the hiking is done between 6,000 and 10,000 ft. We set off and followed the PCT back to Dicks pass (1.3 miles). When we got to Tahoe Ranger STation… This wilderness straddles both sides of the Sierra Nevada, averages 12.5 miles in length and eight miles in width, and has elevations ranging from about 6,500 feet to over 10,000 feet. Fees are charged as follows: Adult (over 12 years in age): $5 per person for the 1st night; $10 for 2-14 nights. Desolation Wilderness. You will need to obtain backcountry permits at one of the 3 Ranger Stations (two of them being located on the south shore of Lake Tahoe). Map. It sits well above the tree line, making it a perfect spot to enjoy 360 degrees views of the surrounding mountains. Alternatively you can fill the wilderness permits up in any major trail head. After studying various maps and talking to rangers, we set a route. Desolation Wilderness Area ... Day permits are available at trailheads but overnight permits must be obtained from a ranger station. John Muir referred to the Sierra Nevada as "the most beautiful of all the mountain chains" or, more poetically, "the range of light." Camping and Lodging near Pyramid Peak Camping Phone: (530) 543-2600 35 College Drive South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. The hike up was less than 4 miles with an elevation gain of less than 1,000 feet ( you start high). It required going a few hundred feet down, then going back up. 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