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4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

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4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

Postby xshift28x » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:44 pm

Looking for any 4 day trips out of Tahoe. Looking for some good scenery and lakes for fishing with not a whole lot of traffic around end of July - beginning of August.



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Re: 4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

Postby TahoeJeff » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:11 am

There are a lot of possibilities for such a trip in Desolation.
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Re: 4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

Postby Tom_H » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:05 am

I have posted this itenerary several times. It can be anything from a 2 night trip to a 7 night trip. As described below for 7 days, it would be very slow, with plenty of time for swimming and fishing in the 30 or so lakes you will pass. Basically, this route parallels highways 50 and 89. Imagine it like a ladder with 5 rungs. The right side of the ladder is highway. The left side of the ladder is trail through Desolation. The 5 rungs are trailheads with access trails into or out of Desolation. These short access trails will take you to the main trail. Thus you have 4 consecutive sections of trail. You can do any 1, 2, 3, or all 4 sections in a row. You could start at Echo Lakes, play it by ear, then exit wherever you feel like and most likely have cell phone coverage or a pay phone when you get out, allowing you to call for your pickup. The 5 trailheads that give access to this route are as follows from south to north:

1. Echo Lakes: you can start hiking at the south end or pay $10/person (min. $30) for the water taxi to ferry you to the upper end. If you exit here, there's a free phone to call the ferry at the marina. Cell coverage at the marina is questionable, but there's a pay phone there.

2. Glen Alpine Spring near Fallen Leaf Lake. As you hike into Desolation, there are actually about 3 or 4 branches of trail you can take into the backcountry, depending upon where you want to intersect the PCT. Cell phone coverage here isn't so good, but walk to the store at Fallen Leaf to a pay phone.

3. From Bayview Campground on Hwy 89, near Cascade Lake, you can hike to Cascade Falls above Cascade Lake and take the use trail (not on maps) along Cascade Creek into the backcountry. Also from Bayview campground, there is a marked trail that goes by Granite Lake toward the 4 Velma Lakes.

4. Eagle Falls trailhead at Emerald Bay, past Eagle Lake toward the Velmas.

5. Meeks Bay trailhead toward Lake Geneveive.

If you cover some miles every day, you can do the whole route below in 3 nights easily. If you want to go slower, you can pick which sections you want to do, and at which of the 5 trailheads you want to start and finish. There are lakes everywhere. Here's the full route south to north on the slow kicked-back itinerary:

Day 1 Near Echo Summit, take the water taxi from the marina at the lower end of Echo Lakes to the upper end of Upper Echo. You start out from a fairly high elevation. It's not a bad first day to the little plot of land in between Tamarack, Ralston, and Cagwin Lakes.

2 From there, depart for Lake of the Woods. Going north from there, you find a number of small lakes to visit if you choose on the way to Aloha. Aloha itself might be a good second day camp or hike up to Le Conte for a little isolation and more view. You can bypass Lake of the Woods and go straight to Aloha.

3 Next pass Heather and Susie on the way to Gilmore. The climb of Tallac is a nice side trip.

4 On to Dicks Lake with a possible side trip to Half Moon.

5 From Dicks, take the use trail by Fontanilis and follow the stream exiting it as it cascades down the face of a pluton. This is not hard hiking and it is only a few hundred feet of extremely easy cross country at the foot of the granite through a level forest until you rejoin the PTC. From there, continue to Upper and Middle Velma (as well as another lake with no name on my map).

6 Now climb to Phipps Pass and down to Phipps Lake.

7 Pass Grouse, Rubicon, unnamed, Stony Ridge, and Shadow, (possible side trip to Hidden) on the way to Crag Lake. There are some nice secluded flats near the SE corner.

8 Pass Genevieve and exit at Meeks Bay, Tahoe.
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Re: 4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

Postby paula53 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:33 pm

Desolation can get crowded. It is also one of my favorite places to backpack. Meeks Bay trailhead can take you to several lakes with 6 miles of hiking. Craig Lake is a warmer lake for swimming and great fishing.
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Re: 4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

Postby xshift28x » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:57 pm

Thanks for the info guys I will definitely be looking into your suggestions.
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Re: 4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

Postby Tom_H » Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:50 pm

Here is a link to a map of the Echo Lakes to Meeks Bay route. I tried to embed it, but didn't get that figured out.

http://caltopo.com/map?id=0376
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Re: 4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:08 pm

Two years ago I decided to walk around Echo Lake instead of taking the water taxi. I will probably never pay for the taxi again. It just is not that difficult to walk. I still got into Lake Aloha easily, even in a high snow year. Desolation is pretty but I really hate to have to pay the daily fees. End up costing nearly as much as gas to drive to Yosemite or Emigrant Wilderness. It is the same $$ per night per permit - same cost if five people vs solo. It is just too expensive for me to do solo. Why not consider Emigrant Wilderness? Lots of great 4 day trips there.
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Re: 4 Day 3 Night Backpacking Trip in Tahoe?

Postby Tom_H » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:47 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote: Why not consider Emigrant Wilderness? Lots of great 4 day trips there.


I'll second that. One of the criteria was for not too much traffic. Desolation is a beautiful place, but in that it's also so close to Tahoe, it does get a lot of traffic. As Daisy says, Emigrant has a lot of good choices, and it really is a lot quieter. Depending on the strength of your group, here are some possible 4 day routes. Continuing into Toiyabe adds even more choices.

1. Kennedy Meadows Loop K.M. to Emigrant Meadow, Emigrant Lake, Upper Relief Valley, K.M.

2. Kennedy Meadows Loop K.M. to Emigrant Meadow, Kennedy Creek, K.M.

3 Kennedy Meadows Loop, Saucer Meadow, XC into Lewis Lakes area, Lower Relief, K.M.

4. Kennedy Meadow to Emigrant Meadow to Leavitt Lake

5. Leavitt Lake in and back out, possible loops

6. Leavitt Lake to Leavitt Meadow, several routes

7. Leavitt Meadow to Dorothy Lake, loop around and come partial loop down West Fork of West Walker

8. Leavitt Meadow to Dorothy Lake, XC to Tower Lake, back down West Walker to Leavitt Meadow

9. Leavitt Meadow to Buckeye Creek via Kirkwood Creek

10. Leavitt Meadow to Twin Lakes via Kirkwood Creek, Peeler Lake

11. Leavitt Meadow to Twin Lakes via Dorothy Lake, Tower Lake, headwaters of West Walker River, Thompson Canyon, Peeler Lake. This is a lot of easy cross country and is so quiet and beautiful.

12. Buckeye Creek to Twin Lakes.
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