Desolation Wilderness has always been a place that I have heard of, but I never researched until recently. While trying to plan a late season backcountry trip somewhere in the Sierras, Desolation Wilderness quickly rose to the top of the list! Located right by Lake Tahoe, it is a very popular place for outdoor enthusiasts, and for good reason. Thankfully this time of year the permit system opens up so its easy to get last minute permits, but be sure to reserve your permits well in advance otherwise if you want to stay overnight.
I decided on checking out Lake Aloha, which is probably the most popular feature of Desolation. After I picked up my permits from the Forest Service office in South Lake Tahoe, I began my trek from the Echo Lake trailhead. While there is a shuttle you can use in the summer to skip across Echo Lake, I took the longer route in and hiked the extra couple miles along the pristine alpine lake. The trail is quite easy and is a steady incline all the way up to lake Aloha, with one steeper pass to get over towards the end. It took me about 2.5 hours to reach my final camp which is quite fast for a overnight trip in the Sierras!
I spent two nights along the shore of Lake Aloha, which was very very low at the time. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular, if not some of the best I have ever seen while backpacking! I definitely look forward to exploring more of this beautiful wilderness in the future.
Wilderness Permits: https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233261