Top Trails Lake Tahoe
by Mike White (Wilderness Press)
© 2015 Mike White/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.
Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha - (water taxi saves 2.5 miles each way after 4th july)
level easy-moderate (1-2?), 12.6mi but 7.6 with water taxi, +1040/-300 elev gain, 8310'elev
Water taxi is$12 each way approx need to call - (and $5 for a dog) and 50 cents is needed to call for a boat on the return trip.
what a nice hike! this late in the season we didn't even have mosquitos to deal with! the snow was completely gone off the trail. We walked the whole way in, but decided to take the taxi out, so it was total 10 miles. This hike is open along granite most of the way, very sunny! it was easy except for the trail has lots of granite stones where the trail would otherwise be washed away, and there is one long section where you're going steadily up - though not steep, it includes one long switch back and it's over 1/2 hour of steady climbing. That would have been much easier if the clouds had helped block the sun which always seems so much more intense at that elevation. There weren't many big "steps" so it's a good hike for a dog in that regaurd, but then again there is an awfully long distance where you're not at all close to water, so bring plenty with you for them. it was amazing how many people we caught up to once we passed the taxi drop off - felt like we were at the mall! Tamarack lake and over to ralston lake is where we went last year which totally cut out the steady incline part of the trail - it's not far at all and a great option if you don't want to go all the way to aloha. there are other lakes up there, but our destination was aloha since we'd hiked in earlier in the season from the other side. I think most of the overnight hikers were going to lake of the woods. photos: https://www.facebook.com/jackie.martel.96/media_set?set=a.10201517306836642.1073741834.1295809256&type=3
Trail is a mixture of dirt through shady forest and rock on exposed slopes. A lot of up and down, but not too difficult. Very nice vistas, both on the trail and at Lake Aloha.
The trail is pretty crowded on weekends, but much less so on weekdays.
Water taxi is now $9.50 each way, (and $3.50 for a dog) and 50 cents is needed to call for a boat on the return trip.
Parking at Echo Lake is pretty tight.
We opted to utilize the Echo Lakes water taxi (cost was $9.50 each way)to shorten the hike as we had children in our group. The steep ascent from Echo Lake boat ramp is very tough with rock rubble underfoot. Beyond, the trail leveled out but crossed a few patches of snow due to late winter storms. Great views of other lakes and wildflowers! Lake Aloha was full and swimmable, but COLD. Be sure to complete and carry the free permit at Echo Lake boat ramp at beginning of hike as rangers are checking for them--we met 2. They simply want a good count of usage to justify funding for trail maintenance, etc.
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