Tahoe Rim Trail/Pacific Crest Trail through Desolation Wilderness - Hiking
West of Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness is one of the most scenic hiking and backpacking destinations on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
From the Echo Lakes Trailhead to the Northern boundary of Desolation Wilderness, the TRT/PCT is approximately 25 miles. However, it is highly recommended to break this trip up into multiple smaller day hikes to truly explore everything Desolation has to offer.
Destination Distance From Downtown
Hiking through Desolation Wilderness can present moderate climbs through open, sun-exposed terrain. Actual trip difficulty will depend on your destination.
Time To Complete
Starting from Echo Lakes, it is technically 25 miles from the trailhead to the end of Desolation Wilderness. This hike would typically take 14 hours to accomplish in one piece, but it is recommended to break Desolation Wilderness into multiple day hikes to best see its full beauty.
Summer and Fall
This is best done in Summer and Fall when the heavy Winter snowpack has freed up the trail and North facing passes.
Dogs are not usually recommended because of the rocky nature of the trails in Desolation Wilderness.
There are no fees to park at most of the trailheads to access Desolation Wilderness, with Eagle Falls being the exception. Day use permits and overnight permits are always required to enter and travel in Desolation Wilderness. Day use permits are free.