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Backpacking Out the South End of Desolation Wilderness | High Sierra Backpacker

Echo Lake: Exiting the Desolation Wilderness, through Echo Chalet to Echo Summit

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 13 January 2010

This is the questions, comments, and additional experiences page for the Echo Lake pages of the Tahoe to Whitney backpacker trail guide. Links to the trail guide with maps, mileages, and trail information are at the bottom of this page.

Post up your favorite backpacking trip pushing into the South end of Desolation Wilderness. Do you suggest taking the ferry? Do you hike the trail in and out?

Which is your favorite lake in the South end of Desolation Wilderness below Lake Aloha? Which is your favorite scramble?

Have you ever done the cross country route down to Twin Bridges? Other local routes? Want to share them?

Register to add pictures and videos to your posts about your experiences at and around Lake Aloha, or post plain text comments.

The North side of Upper Echo Lake

Hitting the last Tamarack Lake Junction above the North shore of Upper Echo Lake means that there are 3.69 miles between my tired feet and the Echo Lake Trailhead. 

Tamarack Lake trail junction in South Desolation Wilderness.

A Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Backpacking Trip 
Twilight is deepening as I push my tired ass towards today's goal: Echo Summit. The Summit is still 5.69 miles away, and my chances of getting there go up in smoke when I came upon Eric, John and Will taking a Crown Royal Break roughly at middle of the trail's length along Echo Lake. I could not help but kick it with Eric, John, and Will.

You meet the BEST people on the trail, and I always take the time to enjoy backpackers. And Hunters. Trail Crew. Unique backpacking teams... And so on. These guys were cool, so I joined their break session.

Desolation Wilderness is a hard partying spot for many of the younger short-distance backpacker set. It makes sense. It is not too far from town or city. The distance from the trailhead to stunningly beautiful campsites is not too far, so carrying in lots of liquids and supplies for their whole social group is not too difficult.

These guys were making multiple trips to stock up their camp in preparation for the arrival of their girlfriends and pals, who were hiking in the next day. They were making multiple trips packing heavy loads.

Liquids are heavy...

Meeting Dudes on the trail above Upper Echo Lake. Had a mini-party!

These dudes were a blast, so I hung around with them for longer than the remaining minutes of daylight should have allowed. I'll bet they had a great weekend!

I ended up climbing past Echo Lake towards Echo Summit as the sun set, and finding a spot to camp in the dark.

I should have scooted over to the UC Berkeley Camp, as I had heard from many hikers that the caretaker was really cool, had lots of extra food, and found passing long distance backpackers entertaining.

But I was doing this trip unresupplied, meaning that I was packing ALL the food for the 12 day 181 mile trip, and I was only eating my second day's food.

The pack was brutally heavy, meaning I was not contemplating ANY side trips until I had eaten at least ten pounds of food!

more desolation wilderness backpacking information

Echo Lake North    Echo Lake South

Trail Guide
Echo Lake I, video

Trail Guide
Echo Lake II

Trail Guide
Echo Lake III

Desolation Wilderness Miles and Elevations


Post your questions, comments, or information about your experiences from Lower Echo Lake to Echo Summit through the comments link below.


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