|Backside of the Upper
Eagle Falls looking at the trail bridge
Wilderness boundary marker along the many stone steps you will have
of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay half way up the trail
Desolation Wilderness - Tahoe, CA
Distance: 2 miles round trip (1.5 hours)
Elevation gain: Approximately 450 feet
This is a great little hike that's
easy to get to and easy enough for just about anyone to do. Needless
to say, this trail is a real tourist trap all summer long. Well, if
pace yourself, you can get a really good workout and there are spectacular
sights along the way.
How to Get There
Starting from Eagle Falls just off the Highway
89 (be sure to check out the falls while you are here), this hike
takes you up into the Desolation Wilderness and is about 2 miles long
round trip. The accent is easy with only a 400ft. gain in elevation
and the trail is well maintained with neatly arranged stone steps
on the uphill sections. Along the way, you will see beautiful vistas
of Emerald Bay and glacier carved granite peaks. Eagle lake itself
is very beautiful, crystal clear and stocked with fish. Often times
you will also see rock climbers scaling the vertical granite cliffs
on the southern side of this lake.
It took my wife and I about 40 minutes to
get to the lake and about 20 minutes to get back moving fast. This
hike is easy and fun enough that we came back later in the day with
my inlaws and did the whole thing over again. There is free parking
along side the road but if it's all full like it usually is during
the summer months, a fee parking lot ($3) does exist at the trailhead.
Be sure to fill out a wilderness permit which is also available at
the trailhead and bring plenty of water.
August 17, 2004
Well, it's been a little over a year since the last time we were on
this trail and I can tell you that a lot has changed. For starters,
the parking area was completely closed off for construction so parking
was limited to what you could find on Highway 89. Need I say, it was
slim pickings!! The other change worth mentioning was the fact that
there was very little water flowing down Eagle Falls. In fact, upper
Eagle Falls was reduced to a glorified trickle and couldn't even been
seen in places as it flowed under the massive boulders. Surprisingly
the lake itself was still plenty full and as beautiful as ever.
Please let me
know if you have any questions.