Back to index Echo Lake to Lake Aloha, Triangle, & Lake of the Woods
Trip Date:  10/16/2011

: 14.0 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1000'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Echo Lake to Lake Aloha Trail Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Echo Lake to Lake Aloha Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 50.063, W 120 02.641
or overflow parking at N 38 50.022, W 120 02.552
    End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 50 to just west of Echo Summit, and then turn onto Johnson Pass Road (Lincoln Highway) from the road (marked with signs to Echo Lake.)  Turn left on Porcupine Road, which becomes Echo Lakes road.  Follow this road to the parking coordinates.
Hazards of Note:   The first couple miles of the hike are along a very rocky section of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Watch footing along this route. Crowd Factor:   Moderate to High.  This is a popular entrance into Desolation Wilderness and many of its most popular destinations.  Get there early on a weekend to find parking near the trailhead.
General Notes:
Find the trailhead at the south end of Lower Echo Lake, just past the lodge on the east side of the lowest parking lot.  There is a kiosk here for Desolation Wilderness permits.  Cross the metal bridge going across the lake outlet and pick up the trail from this spot.   NOTE:  During the summer you can choose to take the boat shuttle to the far end of upper Echo Lake from this spot for a nominal cost, and that will save you 2 1/2 miles each direction that you use this service.

Once you pass the Upper Echo Lake on the trail or from the end of the shuttle, you will see the Desolation Wilderness signpost indicating entrance into the area.  If you wish to take a side trip to the quiet Triangle Lake, there is a steep junction up to your right soon after the Wilderness sign that you will need to turn at.  From either this point or Triangle Lake, the way to Lake Aloha will head to the west and slightly north, following the Pacific Crest Trail for the next few miles until you reach Lake Aloha.

There are many areas here to sit and admire both the lake and the Crystal Range in the background, and you can choose either to return back the way you came, or hike a little to the south and head toward Lake of the Woods.  This is a  worthy diversion from the trail as it winds around the base of Keith's Dome and eventually back to the Pacific Crest trail and the nearly four miles back to the start of the hike.

Since this is a hike into Desolation Wilderness, you will need a day permit (free at the trailhead) and the group size limit is 12.

Crystal Range showing from Echo Lake area. Crystal Range from Echo Lake
Mt. Ralston visible from along the PCT. Mt. Ralston from the PCT
Peaceful setting for Triangle Lake along the way. Triangle Lake
Looking back down the trail toward Echo Lakes. View back toward Echo Lakes
Lake Aloha with Mt. Price and Little Pyramid in the background. Lake Aloha and Little Pyramid Peak
View of Pyramid Peak in front of Lake of the Woods. Lake of the Woods
Tamarack, Ralston and Cagwin Lakes below Mt. Ralston. Tamarack and Ralston Lakes
View of Echo Lake and Flagpole Peak on the trail back. Flagpole Peak
GPS track of the hike. GPS track of hike