Back to index TRT - Segment 7 - Echo Summit to Bayview
Trip Date:  08/04/2015

Distance
: 22.1 Miles

Vertical Gain: 3500'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate   Hard    Strenuous
TRT Segment 7 Trip
Download GPX GPX for this trip
TRT Segment 7 Trail Profile

Lake Aloha Panorama
Panorama of Lake Aloha and Desolation Valley
Start Coordinates:   N 38 48.845, W 120 02.048     End Coordinates:   N 38 56.768  W 120 05.883

Car Shuttle Req'd:   Yes Parking Directions:   For parking at Echo Summit, take Highway 50 to Echo Summit, and find the TRT/PCT parking area marked on the south side of the road at "Adventure Mountain" recreation area.
Take Highway 89 to Emerald Bay on the west side of Lake Tahoe to the Bayview Campground parking area. 
Hazards of Note:   Beginning of the hike is on a very rocky section of trail for about 5 miles.  The climb up to Dick's Pass is significant elevation gain coming over 13 miles into the hike. Crowd Factor:   High.  Especially near either end of the trail, this is a very popular hiking destination in the Lake Tahoe area and I ran into 90 other people on the trail during a weekday.
General Notes:
From the parking area at Echo Summit, catch the Pacific Crest Trail/Tahoe Rim Trail on the western side of the parking lot and head west.  You will soon see a small wooden mark indicating that Highway 50 is a mile away and Echo Lakes are two miles away.  A little futher up the trail you will come to a dirt access road to the top of Scout Peak.  Turn right (north) on this and you will see a sign in a nearby tree indicating this is the correct way to head toward Highway 50.  
When you reach Highway 50 you will need to wait for a break in the traffic, and carefully cross the road and pick the trail back up near a small light blue Pacific Crest Trail marker on the northern side of the highway.  Follow this trail for another mile past a couple of cabins, and then the trail will drop down into the Echo Lake Chalet area.   Pick up and fill out a Desolation Wilderness Day Use permit at the kiosk next to the chalet.   You can either continue the trail on the eastern side of the lake, or you can save 2 1/2 miles of hiking by catching a ride on the Echo Chalet boat shuttle for a modest price ($12 one way in 2015.)  At the far end of the two Echo Lakes  the trail will soon head into Desolation Wilderness, making sure to attach the permit you filled out at the chalet by this point.
From here the trail begins to climb significantly, passing by Tamarack Lake on a rocky trail which heads up until you reach Lake Aloha about 3 miles further on.  Turning north the trail parallels Aloha for about a mile and a half, and then reaching the northeast end of the lake it branches to the right, along with a trail left toward Clyde Lake and Mosquito Pass.  
Heather Lake soon appears on your right, and passing this you will start to drop back down again toward Susie Lake, which you will follow around the south and eastern end before coming to a junction in the trail once again.  Head toward Gilmore Lake, and once again the trail will start climbing, and when you are about 1/4 of a mile from Gilmore you will turn left at the junction signed for Dick's Pass.  The trail climbs significantly over the next mile and a half, over 1500', but the views back to the south of Desolation Wilderness are spectacular.  At the top of the pass is a signpost marking the 9400' elevation mark, and then you start switchbacks down the north side of the pass toward Dick's Lake.
The next junction is a little confusing, but you want to head to the right (signed to Fontanillis,) with the left hand turn heading to Dick's Lake and then eventually Fontanillis Lake.  This will head down a granite trail for about a mile, and then finally pick up the Bayview trail that will lead you to the right for another 4 miles to the Bayview trailhead at Emerald Lake.
The first sign you will see along the trail heading north from Echo Summit. Trailhead sign
Pretty typical view of the first mile of trail, and the area where the snow levels at Echo Summit are taken throughout the winter months.
Trail early on 
Along the left side of the trail is Scout Peak, rising above the mostly hidden Lake Audrain at the base of it. Scout Peak 
Just to the east of Little Norway is this crossing of Highway 50. Dangerous crossing
Past Echo Lake the trail climbs significantly and has a nice view of Ralston Peak off in the distance. Mt. Ralston 
Looking back at Echo Lakes and Echo Summit further in the distance. Above Echo Lakes
Once into Desolation Wilderness, the trail climbs significantly on rocky trails. Into Desolation
Keep heading toward Lake Aloha, although a side trip to Triangle Lake is a pleasant detour. First junction
This was one of two sections along today's trail that had wood leading hikers through a sensitive meadow area. Meadow crossing 
Passing by the area of Lake Lucielle is a first look at Jack's and Dick's peaks, with the latter the trail passing very close to on it's way over Dick's Pass. First look at Jack's and Dick's peaks
This is a bit of a confusing marker, as both directions point to Lake Aloha, but the one to the right (with the PCT logo) is the correct way to cut off about 1/2 mile off the total distance. Confusing
Looking across Lake Aloha at the Crystal Range in the distance, with the peaks from left to right being Pyramid Peak, an unnamed peak, Agassiz and Price. Crystal Range 
The moon making an early morning appearance over Mt. Price. Moon over Price
Closeup of the top of Pyramid Peak, but there were no climbers up there today. Pyramid Peak closeup 
Heading along the trail just near the north end of Lake Aloha. North of the Lake
Be sure to turn right at this junction along the PCT to start hiking along the shore of Heather Lake, and not heading to the west toward Clyde Lake and Mosquito Pass.   Clyde Lake Jct PCT
Heather Lake is a very pretty lake along the way, with Echo Peak on the near right and Freel Peak far in the distance. Heather Lake
As with much of the area by Lake Aloha, the trail next to Heather Lake is very rocky and tough on the ankles. More rocks
Passing around the southern end of Susie Lake, the view to the north goes all the way up toward the highest point of Dick's Pass, near the right third of the mountains in the distance. Susie to Dick's PAss
Past Susie Lake are three reasonably quick junctions, which head first toward Lake Gilmore and then Dick's Pass on the third one. Next three junctions Next three junctionsNext three junctions
Heading up Dick's Pass is a tough climb so many miles into the hike. Starting the climb
The always-improving views, however, make it all worth the effort, including this shot down of Half Moon Lake. Views 
The views to the south from the top of the pass are tremendous! South Views South Views
Once reaching the top of Dick's Pass at 9400', the views to the north of Dick's Lake and Fontanillis Lake further on, and even the Velmas far in the distance are wonderful. Dick's Pass North Views
The use trail heading up toward the top of Dick's Peak from Dick's Pass. Up to Dick's Peak 
Checking out Dick's Peak from near the edge of Dick's Lake. Dick's peak from the lake
The junction near Dick's Lake that is a little confusing.  Head toward Fontanillis per this signpost. Last marker
It was great to meet up with my support team to hike out the last 4 miles.  They helped with the car shuttle to make the trip possible.
Meeting up
Halfway down the Bayview Trail from S. Maggie's Peak is the peaceful Granite Lake.Granite Lake
The overlook of Emerald Bay about a mile from the end right along the trail is not to be missed.Emerald Bay
Heading down the last part of the very dusty Bayview Trail.Last part of the trail
GPS track of the hike starting near the top, heading down to the through the heart of Desolation Wilderness and then finishing up near the bottom. GPS Track of the hike