×
PCT 2019 JMT 2018 Hiking Camping Contact

Lake Aloha

September 14, 2019

Lake Aloha has been on my list of trails to hike for a while. I was hoping to pass by this year while on the Pacific Crest trail, but that was too short-lived.

I spent a few days in the South Lake Tahoe area, and decided it was finally time to make the trek. In order to avoid adding extra road miles to my hike, I made sure to get an early start and nab a parking spot close to the trailhead.

Trailhead near Lower Echo Lake
Trailhead near Lower Echo Lake

I was able to get a good portion of the beginning done in the shade thanks to my early start. The trail travels past a semi-heavily developed area of homes, seemingly only accessible by boat.

Trail near Lower Echo Lake
Trail near Lower Echo Lake

The Desolation Wilderness boundary is a few miles in, and also marked the start of a fairly exposed section of trail.

Desolation Wilderness boundary sign
Desolation Wilderness boundary sign

As the trail continues to switchback up the mountainside, Tamarack Lakes starts to come into view. I didn’t make the side trip down, only admired it from above.

Looking down on Tamarack Lake
Looking down on Tamarack Lake Tamarack Lake
Tamarack Lake

There’s a sign about four and a half miles into the trail designating the junction to Lake of the Woods, which is a quick incline followed by an easy descent to the lake.

Lake of the Woods
Lake of the Woods Lake of the Woods
Lake of the Woods

This was a great place for a quick snack before heading back up towards Lake Aloha, which is just less than a mile away.

Lake of the Woods
Lake of the Woods

The trail between Lake of the Woods and Lake Aloha was beautiful. Meadows scattered with boulders and wildflowers were the norm.

Trail to Lake Aloha
Trail to Lake Aloha Trail to Lake Aloha
Trail to Lake Aloha

I finally reached Lake Aloha just before noon and began to look for a spot to stop for lunch. There were already a few backpackers around, a number that would increase significantly throughout the day.

Lake Aloha
Lake Aloha Lake Aloha
Lake Aloha

The area was beautiful. The large island-filled lake sits surrounded by steep granite walls. I was only day hiking, but there were dozens of campsites I saw with what would have been amazing views.

Lake Aloha
Lake Aloha Lake Aloha
Lake Aloha

I couldn’t see any fish in the immediate area while I ate, so I sat and looked off in the distance wondering which pass would be on my return trip.

Lake Aloha
Lake Aloha Lake Aloha
Lake Aloha

I was lucky to be out on such a nice day. The conditions were perfect for hiking, and even at an elevation of 8,100 feet, perfect for relaxing at an alpine lake as well.

Lake Aloha
Lake Aloha Lake Aloha
Lake Aloha

After eating lunch and filling up my water bottles, I continued around Lake Aloha to the trail junction that would loop me back around to the parking lot. This way I could take the short side trail down to Lake Marjery and Lake Lucille

Lake Marjery
Lake Marjery

These two lakes were quiet and small, seemingly just off the beaten path. Lake Marjery felt more like a large pond because of its size, while Lake Lucille was larger and deeper with what felt like a million more mosquitoes.

Lake Lucille
Lake Lucille

There are dozens of trails near South Lake Tahoe that enter the Desolation Wilderness, and this one is certainly towards the top of the list. Elevation gain is mild and the views are worth every step.