Tom’s Experience hiking to Lake Aloha:
Lake Aloha in the Desolation Wilderness is one of the most unique mountain lakes I have ever been too. It almost looks as if someone built a granite maze and then filled it with water.
The lake is very large but there are numerous places where you can walk out onto the lake. We did this as a day hike but I wish we would have spent the night so I would have had more time to explore the lake.
There are many ways to get to Aloha Lake but the shortest and easiest route is starting at the Echo Lake Trailhead. From here it is about 12 miles roundtrip. The trail around Echo Lake is pretty level and very pretty.
You will pass numerous summer cabins which are all very pretty. If you would like, there is a water shuttle that will take you from the trailhead to Upper Echo Lake which will then meet up with the trail. I am not sure of the cost or how often it runs, but it looked like a fun and quick alternative.
Most of the elevation gain on this hike happens after Upper Echo Lake where the trail starts to climb up some switchbacks. One of my favorite parts of this hike was looking back down at Upper Echo Lake and the many islands that are in that lake. On your climb up you will pass a sign for Tamarac Lake. Continue straight for Aloha Lake.
Most of the trail is very well marked but we brought a topo map and were glad we did. After the climb, the trail levels off once again and leads straight to Aloha Lake.
In order to spend the night in the Desolation Wilderness you need to obtain a permit. Day permits are available at the trailhead. Dogs are allowed on this trail.
Trail Info: To get to the Echo Lakes Trailhead from South Lake, head southwest on the 50. Turn on right onto a very small paved road called the Lincoln Highway that starts heading up the mountain. There are a few signs on the paved road. Follow that road until you turn right on Echo Lakes Road. Follow Echo Lakes Road until you reach a parking lot. If you drive into Echo Lake you have gone too far.
Echo Lakes Trailhead: 38.835141,-120.044515
Lake Aloha: 38.862881,-120.136753
- Angora Lakes
- Cascade Falls
- Emerald Bay
- Inspiration Point
- Lower Eagle Falls
- Upper Eagle Falls
- Vikingshom Castle
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