The Lake of the Woods lies about 6 miles from the Echo Lakes Trailhead in South Lake Tahoe, California. This is by far the most beautiful place I have visited this year. In order to camp, you need to secure a Desolation Wilderness camping permit. Desolation Wilderness is a very popular location for camping, so the permits go quickly. As a result, I recommend trying to secure your permit as early in the year as possible. Some of the day hikers we ran into said that day hiking permits are much easier to obtain. The trailhead starts at the southeastern tip of Lower Echo Lake, and travels on the north side of the two Echo Lakes towards the Desolation Wilderness area.
The first two and a half miles of the trail are pretty flat. There is a bit of an uphill grade, but it's pretty easy to hike. Here you can see the trail on the north side of Lower Echo Lake.
Once you reach the end of Lower Echo Lake (about 1.5 miles into the hike), there is a stunning view looking back towards the trailhead.
In a normal year, there is a water taxi that you can use to skip the first two and a half miles of the trail. Due to the COVID-19 situation, it was not running this year. Plus, who needs a taxi when you're going into the wilderness? It kind of defeats the purpose. :-)
After about three miles of hiking, you enter the Desolation Wilderness area.
After you enter the park, there is about a mile of uphill hiking until you get to Tamarack Lake. Tamarack Lake is pretty, but it doesn't compare to Lake of the Woods. Nevertheless, it's a good spot to fill up the water bottles for the rest of the hike.
From Tamarack Lake, it's about two more miles of uphill hiking to get to the top of the hill before desceding down to the Lake of the Woods. It was pretty tiresome with a 30 pound pack.
Once you get to the top of the hill, you can look down at the Lake of the Woods. The last three quarters of a mile or so are all downhill making the last part of the hike just bearable.
There are a handful of designated camping areas if you are lucky enough to get one. Otherwise, there are rules regarding how far you need to camp away from the lake depending on which side of the lake you are on.
The lake water is clear and beautiful. Plus it was pretty warm when we went at the end of August.
We camped on the west side of the lake where there are beautiful granite rock formations that make up the shoreline.
The Lake of the Woods is only about a mile away from Lake Aloha, another popular hiking and camping area. The trail leads you over the hill from the north side of the lake.
Lake Aloha had a pretty interesting landscape, almost like being on the moon, but I didn't find it nearly as nice as the Lake of the Woods. We were told that we didn't go far enough around the lake to experience its full beauty.
Once we got back to the Lake of the Woods, we found a nice tall rock to jump off. My niece's phone took blurry pictures, so these are the best one I have.
The sunsets were not super colorful, but they were still gorgeous!!!
The hike back was not nearly as hard as the hike in since most of it was downhill. What a great trip!!!
Here's some more pictures from our trip. I hope you liked this blog post.