Location: The location for today's hike is at Echo Summit approximately 11 miles south of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50. There are two trailheads one at Benwood Meadow and the other at Echo Lake. Benwood Meadow is a popular trailhead for accessing country on the Pacific Crest Trail south of Lake Tahoe. If you want to hike into the Desolation Wilderness it is advisable to park at Echo Lake because it cuts over four miles of hiking. For ten dollars a hiker can take a taxi to the end of Upper Echo Lake. Be advised that the Desolation Wilderness is the most popular wilderness in the lower 48. Expect to see other hikers. A day hiker is required to fill out a day use permit which cost no money. Backpackers need to register at local Ranger Stations.
The Hike: Today I deposited my car at Benwood Meadow with the intention of hiking to Aloha Lake in the Desolation Wilderness. From Benwood Meadow the hike is about 15 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail (as stated previous a visitor can cut of over four miles by starting at Echo Lake). I chose this hike to see beautiful Aloha Lake but also the Echo Lakes, Tamarack Lake, Margery Lake and Lake of the Woods. The hike also required 600 feet of elevation gain; a rarity in the Tahoe Basin. Today I saw many backpackers including a few thru hikers on the PCT. I saw high elevation conifers including ponderosa pine and some impressive stands of whitebark pine. Nevada did well on the hike but, by the end of the day he was really tired.
Impressive striations on the rock