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Desolation Wilderness Zones and Trailheads
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Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Desolation Wilderness Zones and Trailheads on 08/01/2011 12:28:01 MDT Print View

I'm planning an overnight trip to desolation wilderness and trying to decide which trailhead to start from and which zone to camp in. Was thinking about starting from the Ralston trailhead and hiking over Mosquito Pass to the Clyde Lake or China Flat area. Would Gilmore Lake or Half Moon Lake be a better option? Or something else entirely? Was also considering the same options, but starting from the Echo Lake trailhead. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Up to you on 08/01/2011 19:18:26 MDT Print View

Clyde Lake is kinda confining and a hike down to it from the trail. China Flat is more open and has creek fishing potential, with widely scattered campsites, depending on what you like. Cattle may have also visited the area, I have not been in there for 7 years maybe. Gilmore has great views and you have a good part of the elevation gained to get to Dicks Pass. The peak by there escapes me at the moment above Gilmore. It can also get windy there. I have never gone in at the Ralston TH as I use the east side TH's because they are closer to where I live or work. Glen Alpine Springs has the historic homes at the bottom above Fallen Leaf, versus the boring hike around Echo Lakes or you can op for the ferry across Echo. You might like the views passing along the east side of Aloha with Pyramid Peak to the west though.


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Desolation Wilderness Zones and Trailheads on 08/02/2011 00:31:13 MDT Print View

IMHO the best Desolation launch spot is Wright's Lake--many trails and many zones accessible from there. So long as you're not leaving on Saturday you should be able to get a permit for where you'd like to go, and after night 1 you can head anywhere.

By now, everything should be melted off.



Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
Should be melted off, but it's not! on 08/05/2011 12:52:05 MDT Print View

Check the conditions here:

The THs at Wrights Lake(Rockbound and Twin Lakes TH) are good starting points, but if you're only going for a couple of days and want to get into the heart of the scenerey, then I would recommend entering from one of the East side THs (e.g. Glen Alpine, Bayview). Really though, Desolation is relatively small, so if you can churn out 15 miles a day then you really can't go wrong. The landscapes also offers great opportunities for off-trail travel with some pretty good visibile landmarks.

Check conditions on the volunteers website, give the local Ranger a call, and plan accordingly. If it was me and conditions allowed, I'd go for Glen Alpine TH to zone 28 (Half Moon Lake) for night one. From there, you're right in the middle if you choose to explore south towards Aloha, or north towards Velma.

Have fun and be safe!

Edited by FeetFirst on 08/05/2011 13:13:30 MDT.