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Posts Tagged ‘Desolation Wilderness’

Project Aloha – Adventure Dining Guide

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Mike, Michelle, and Laura enjoying “Aloha Life” with some Surf N Turf

This post comes from Guest Blogger Michelle Shea. Michelle lives in Lake Tahoe and is the host/creator of the outdoor series Adventure Dining Guide. She created Adventure Dining Guide because “food is the unrecognized hero of our journeys, and its about time backcountry meals get the recognition they deserve”. Learn more at

Who: Laura Shea, Mike Stohlgren, Michelle Shea, and Shogun the dog.
What: Backpack to Lake Aloha and film an episode of Adventure Dining Guide
Where: Echo Lake to Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness
When: June 28-29 2015

My sister, Laura, is a college athlete with a busy schedule, which means she rarely gets the chance to spend time in the wilderness. When she came up to Tahoe to spend a few weeks with me this summer, I was very excited to strap a pack on her and lead her into Desolation Wilderness.

We got the permits, recruited Michael, and packed our bags for an overnight excursion to Lake Aloha via Echo Lake. The hike out was beautiful, and filled with picturesque views from every angle. We trekked through 90 degree heat, and enjoyed every spot of shade we passed on the trail. The dog was especially happy to find shade and demanded an abundant amount of water breaks.

At the top of the pass we opted for the extended route to Lake Of The Woods, which to our delight, was a pristine lake surrounded by a lush flower-filled forest. We stopped for a snack, enjoyed the views then continued trough Mosquito Pass to Lake Aloha. Upon reaching the lake we saw an array of people taking advantage of cliff jumping, bouldering, thru hiking, swimming, sun bathing, and camping. Michael packed in his skateboard, with hopes of finding a smooth granite rock, and when he saw the abundance of activity around the lake, he was inspired to begin his search for his backcountry skate spot.

Half way around Lake Aloha we found an ideal campsite, complete with an adjacent granite kitchen. Someone had spent a great deal of time arranging rocks to create tables and benches, which was the perfect set-up to film an episode of Adventure Dining Guide. After we set up camp we got out the GoPro, prepped the food, and Laura the Camerawoman filmed me making “Surf and Turf Sandwiches”. This tasty lunch consisted of pita bread, Romano cheese, bell pepper, tuna, and Tahoe Truckee Beef Jerky. After wrapping up filming we sat in our granite dining room and devoured our “Surf and Turf” lunch.

The rest of the day was spent exploring. Michael found a few rocks that were skate friendly, and Laura and I walked along the edge of the lake to enjoy the views. At the end of the day we watched the sun slip behind the mountains, and then quickly retreated to the tent to hide from the mosquitos. We ate dinner in the tent, and then fell fast asleep.
Laura had the perfect introduction to Tahoe’s backcountry, and she’s very excited to come back next summer and see what lies beyond Lake Aloha!

Watch the video below for the full adventure with Aloha Surf N Turf Sandwiches:

Fastpacking: Packing Lighter, Moving Faster – Desolation Wilderness

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Want to see more wilderness in the same amount of time? Try lightening your load. The more experience under your belt, the more comfortable you become in the backcountry. The more comfortable you are, the less luxuries you require, thus enabling you to carry less weight and, in turn, cover more distance in less time. They call it “fastpacking”, and it offers grand reward for those willing to push a little harder.

lakes in desolation wilderness

I stopped jogging and stood here for a few minutes taking in the view.

Backpacking fast is really all it is. Carry a smaller backpack (30-40 liters), wear more agile boots or trail running shoes and cruise at a quicker pace. I prefer to run most flat sections and quickly hike the ups and downs. Remember, this is my personal opinion. I tend to get bored just ‘walking’ and find myself wanting more, so sometimes I throw in an aerobic workout. I probably move faster than most other ‘fastpackers’, but I’m usually solo (and a trail runner on the side).


waterfall desolation wilderness

Nice place for an afternoon coffee break.

People knock the idea, convinced I don’t soak up as much natural beauty along the way because I’m moving too fast. I disagree. I take in more scenery, and I choose which scenes to stop and enjoy and which to enjoy on-the-move. Not everyone would find this sufficient, but hey, I cover more than twice as much ground by ‘fastpacking’, and occasionally this can be very beneficial. This past weekend, for example, I had one day off of work and wanted to make the most of it. My backpack weighed 18 miles when I started, including 60 ounces of water and dog food. I covered 23 miles in 23 hours, including time spent sleeping, eating, swimming, enjoying afternoon coffee, and really not having a care in the world besides wondering how long it would take to hitchhike home in time for work on Monday. When I pack light I can do more in one day than most backpackers can in two, and being more agile and light on my feet I have access to things most people wouldn’t otherwise find. Like a waterfall on the far side of Lake ______ that requires a curious, wandering eye and a 40-minute boulder scramble to access. When was the last time you made coffee from a waterfall?



pct echo lake aloha

Lake Aloha, Echo Lake, Pacific Crest Trail

dog hitch hiking

Tired pup needs a ride home.













Here’s what I packed for this trip. 18-lbs included dog food and two liters of water.

This was an overnight run in mid-summer at 8,500 feet. High of 80, low of 50. The colder (and wetter) it gets, the heavier your bag gets.

Kid-Friendly Hikes on Tahoe’s West Shore

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Growing up on the West Shore, hiking in Lake Tahoe’s woods and spending afternoons wading in high altitude lakes were things I took for granted. In hindsight, I was one lucky kid to have the endless trails in Tahoe just out my back door and I realized it as soon as I moved away. (Which is why I moved back home to Tahoe immediately after college.) Tahoe offers a plethora of scenic trails in the woods for both the avid hiker and the young family. For this post, I thought I would outline a few of my favorite family hikes in Lake Tahoe from when I was a kid. These easy-to-moderate trails are great day hikes with excellent destinations. Some are more crowded than others. But they all offer spectacular views, and most a nice cool body of water to dip your feet — or for the kids, to splash in feet first.

Angora Lakes

Photo Credit: Ktpdancer/Flickr Creative Commons

A gradual two-mile-or-so hike takes you to the two Angora Lakes, which are located above Fallen Leaf Lake. Both lakes are beautiful, but it’s the upper lake that you should hike to. Nestled in a glacially carved basin surrounded by Echo Peak and Angora Peak, the upper Angora Lake features a sandy beach, cool waters, and rocks — even large cliffs for those more experienced — to jump off of. You probably won’t find complete solitude on this popular hike, but you will find fresh-squeezed lemonade and paddle boat rentals operated by Angora Lakes Resort, a string of rustic cabins that have hosted guests since the 1920s.

Directions to the trailhead are a bit confusing, and I can’t guarantee signs. But take Fallen Leaf Road off of Highway 89, turn left on Tahoe Mountain Road, and then right on Angora Ridge Road. Follow Angora Ridge Road until you reach the parking area where the trailhead is located.

Eagle Lake

If you just have an afternoon (preferably on a less-crowded weekday), Eagle Lake is a great place to take the family. Located on the edge of Desolation Wilderness, this lake is very popular, and rightfully so. It’s a quick hike that’s not too steep. And the setting is spectacular with views of Emerald Bay on the way up and plenty of beach next to the lake. Bring your dog and throw a stick in the water. And don’t forget your bathing suit. You’ll find the trailhead in Emerald Bay. This is also one of the biggest access points to Desolation if you’re feeling like a longer hike and bigger adventure.

Vikingsholm and the Rubicon Trail

Take a stroll down history lane on this trail. Start at the top of Emerald Bay and walk down a wide dirt road to the famous Vikingsholm Mansion, where the infamous Mrs. Knight spent her summers and entertained guests in the early 1900’s. This Victorian mansion looms over the beach of one of the most famous landmarks in Lake Tahoe. A few hundred feet off shore sits the island, where Mrs. Knight hosted afternoon tea. There are plenty of trails that weave around the mansion, and you can walk up to Eagle Falls from here. But for those with a full day and more energy, I would highly recommend the Rubicon Trail.

You’ll find the trail weaving its way north from Vikingsholm. It follows one of the most dramatic shorelines in the Basin between Emerald Bay and Bliss State Park. Hikers pass secret coves and azure waters, and meander above gigantic cliffs that jut down hundreds of feet below the surface of the water. This is a great trail to set up a shuttle and park a car at Bliss and Emerald Bay if you don’t want to hike back.

Platypus 1 Litre Bottle
Platypus 1 Litre Bottle
MSRP: $16.95
Deuter Speed Lite 20 Backpack
Deuter Speed Lite 20 Backpack
MSRP: $88.95



Tahoe Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

WHO: Lis, Chris, Aaron, Christina, Henry & Fern

WHAT: Backpacking

WHERE: Crag Lake, Desolation Wilderness

WHEN: August 20–21, 2011

GEAR: Suncloud sunglasses, Outdoor Research Sentinel Insect Shield Handkerchief, MSR and Snow Peak camp kitchen items

Skipped town this weekend to backpack into Desolation Wilderness. We opted for a shorter drive and hike out of Meeks Bay, to Crag Lake about 5 or so miles in. We were originally going to camp in the Lake Aloha area, but it was full when we went to get a permit at the office across from Sunnyside.

Such a cool campsite with loads of granite and a great lake for swimming and lounging.

Where did this weekend take you?

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb or ski) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Finding Solitude in Desolation Wilderness

Friday, August 13th, 2010

It’s the perfect time of year to head into Desolation Wilderness. It’s hot enough to make those high alpine lakes worth jumping in, and the summer crowds are starting to thin as schools get back in session. This Adventure of the Week comes from my own repertoire – a trip Chris and I took to Half Moon Lake last year. This year’s Desolation adventure is still in the works.

WHO: TMS web editor Lis Korb and her boyfriend, Chris

WHAT: Hike to Half Moon Lake and Jacks Peak

WHERE: Desolation Wilderness, CA

WHEN: August 2009

GEAR: 2-person tentChaco Flip EcoTread Sandals for hanging out at camp, Snow Peak GigaPower Stove and Snow Peak Trek 1400 Cookset for cooking our oatmeal and coffee for breakfast and pasta dinner


When we set off from the Glen Alpine trailhead at Fallen Leaf Lake, we weren’t even sure where we’d end up. Lake Aloha was an obvious choice, but we wanted to really feel alone so we headed for the less-beaten path to Half Moon Lake (about 5.5 miles in from the trailhead). It’s a dead-end trail, so most thru-hikers pass right on by it. There was one other solitary camper that night, but that was it. And we had a whole lake to spread ourselves out on. We picked a lakeside spot on the south end and set up camp.

The next morning, we decided to stay put at our desolate oasis and just headed up the closest mountain cross-country. It wasn’t the cleanest hike, but it sure is fun to go where not many have gone before! We summited Jacks Peak (9856 elevation) via some crazy talus and were treated to some stellar views of sprawling Lake Aloha and Heather Lake to the south and our campsite to the east.

Me on the last leg of Jacks Peak, with Lake Aloha and Heather Lake in background

Half Moon Lake and Alta Morris Lake

We hiked down between Jacks and Dick’s Peak alongside a trickling stream and then cooked up a good meal alongside our new squirrel camp friend. Can’t wait to go back soon!

Each week, Tahoe Mountain Sports takes a walk (or hike, bike, ski, surf, climb) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Deuter Photo Contest Winners

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Congratulations to Brenda and Chris for their great shots of Deuter Gear in Desolation Wilderness! They now have even more Deuter gear to enjoy in Tahoe! First prize is a limited edition Deuter Trans Alpine pack and second prize is a Deuter Race-X Air.

Desolation Wilderness, CA

Desolation Wilderness, CA


Desolation Wilderness 8/08

Desolation Wilderness 8/08

Deuter Photo Contest Update

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

We received a couple great entries for our Deuter Photo Contest this week. Kudos to Brenda and Chris for great shots of one of our favorite places, Desolation Wilderness and some of our favorite Deuter Gear. The contest will be running through November 30th so you still have time to send in your entry. First prize is a limited edition Deuter Trans Alpine pack and second prize is a Deuter Race-X Air.

Desolation Wilderness, CA

Desolation Wilderness, CA

Desolation Wilderness 8/08

Desolation Wilderness 8/08Desolation Wilderness, CADesolation Wilderness, CA

Velma Lakes Hike

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

I decided to go on a hike in Desolation Wilderness to check out Velma Lakes on 11/12. It was clear and very cool, a perfect day for a fall hike. Here are a few scenics of fall in the Sierras.

Lower Velma Lake

Lower Velma Lake


Middle Velma Lake

Middle Velma Lake


Jake's Peak and Lake Tahoe

Jake's Peak and Lake Tahoe


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