Tahoe Rim Trail – Barker Pass to Echo Lake – We did it!

Duke and I just finished the section of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Barker Pass to Echo Lake. We did it as a four day backpacking trip. Several of our friends from the Sierra Canyon Hiking Group did it in two days of hiking. The hike is a total of 32.5 miles. Four days was hard. I can't imagine doing it in two.

Day 1 – Barker Pass to Richardson Lake

We started the hike last Friday.  We picked up our Desolation Wilderness camping permits in Tahoe City then drove two vehicles to Echo Lake which is just off of highway 50 at the south end of Lake Tahoe. We left the truck parked at Echo Lake and drove the car north to our starting point at Barker Pass. What with stopping for lunch and all the driving back and forth we didn't get on the trail until about 2. Our first night was at Richardson Lake which is just north of the start of the Desolation Wilderness.By the time we got there it was around 7 and we didn't have a lot of time to get our camp set up. Duke does all the cooking when we camp. The red beans and rice were really good.

This is a picture of our camp site at Richardson Lake.


Richardson Lake


Day 2 – Richardson Lake to Fontanallis Lake 

Our first day of hiking was only about 7 miles so we needed to do more on day 2 if we wanted to average 8 miles a day. We ended up camping at Fontanallis Lake which was one of the prettiest lakes we saw. It was overcast and cool most of the day, perfect weather for hiking. The evening and first part of the night were very windy. The tent even blew away and we had to catch it before we could stake it down.

The battery on  my small camera died  on Saturday (day 2) and I discovered that my back-up battery wasn't charged so these are my last pictures from the trip.

This picture is of Fontanallis Lake.


This picture is of our camp site at Fontanallis Lake.


Day 3 – Fontanallis Lake to Aloha Lake

This was by far the hardest day of the hike. We climbed over 1000 feet up to Dick's Pass. From the top which is at 9,380 feet we hiked down 1,700 feet and then back up about 500 feet to Lake Aloha. It sounds like a very welcoming lake doesn't it? Wrong! In my opinion this is the moist inappropriately named lake ever. It should be named Desolation Lake, or Moon Scape Lake, or even Granite Lake. There are very few trees and we had to walk aver a mile along the shore of the lake to find an OK camp site. Lake Aloha is part of the Sacramento water system and the water level was way down. I think where we camped is usually under water. The vast amount of granite and very few trees did make for one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. As it got dark we lay on a big slab of granite and watched the millions of stars and the milky way come out. We even saw a meteor!

Day 4 – Lake Aloha to Echo Lake

The hike out on Monday was relatively easy. During the summer there is a water taxi on Echo Lake which allows you to avoid the last 2.5 miles of the hike. It was closed for the season so we got to admire all the cabins along the shore of Echo Lake as we hiked out. The Desolation Wilderness ends about 3 miles before the end of the hike. Soon after we started hiking Monday morning a ranger checked our wilderness permit. We also had a ranger check the permit while we were camped at Fontanillis Lake. I wonder what happens if you don't have a permit.


Backpacking is hard work. The scenery was wonderful and the weather was great, but I must admit I am glad to be done.

We have now hiked the whole Tahoe Rim Trail all 165 miles of it! We did it in 10 hikes:

Tahoe Rim Trail – Spooner Summit to Tunnel Creek Road

Last Sunday and Monday, June 28-29 Duke and I hiked the 17 mile section of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Spooner Summit on Highway 50 to Tunnel Creek Road. The last three miles were off the trail down to the lake. The same road we took at the end of the Mount Rose to Tunnel Creek Road section. We did the hike it in two days and camped out seven miles from the beginning of the trail. Given how much rain we have had and the fact that we still saw some snow it was surprising to me that we only saw water once on the trail. It was at about 10 miles in. Here is a picture of Duke filtering water and refilling our water bottles.
Here are a couple more scenery pictures. If you would like to see all the pictures from the hike you can see them on Flickr here. We only have one more section to do to comnplete the Tahoe Rim Trail. It is the 32.5 Echo Lake to Barker Pass section through the Desolation Wilderness. I think we will do it as a four day back packing trip in August.

Tahoe Rim Trail – Barker Pass to Ward Creek Road

Yesterday Duke and I hiked the section of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Barker Pass to Ward Creek Road. I think it is one of the prettiest sections of the trail. The views were fantastic.

It was a total of 11.8 miles and though my feet hurt at the end it didn't seem as hard as last week so I must be getting in a little bit better shape. The hardest thing about the hike was that there were sections of the trail still covered with a lot of snow so that we couldn't always find the trail. We just headed in the right direction and eventually the trail would show up again. Walking over snow does slow us down so the hike took 6.5 hours.

If you would like to see all of my pictures from the hike they are available here.

 I think next week we will hike a section on the west side of Lake Tahoe that is about 17 miles. We are planning to do it as a one night back pack.

Tahoe Rim Trail – Tahoe Meadows to Tunnel Creek Road

We hiked another part of the Tahoe Rim Trail yesterday. This time we hiked on the east side of the lake. Duke and I started at Tahoe Meadows on the Mount Rose Highway and hiked 9 miles south on the Tahoe Rim Trail to Tunnel Creek Road. Tunnel Creek Road is also called the Flume Trail and is very popular with mountain bikers.  We hiked down three miles from the TRT to highway 28 which is on the shore of the shore of the lake. So we did 9 miles on the TRT and 3 miles down to where we parked the truck.

It was a beautiful day. It started out with completely blue sky but by the time we were finished thunder clouds were rolling in. The views from this part of the trail are fantastic.

Here is a list of all the parts of the trail we have done so far.

Here are a few of the pictures from the hike yesterday. You can see all my pictures on Flickr here.

002 The only snow we saw was at Tahoe Meadows where we started the hike.

036 There were lots of wonderful views. This is the east shore of Lake Tahoe

On the Trail Again – Tahoe Rim Trail – Ward Canyon to Tahoe City

Last year Duke and I hiked several sections of the 165 mile long Tahoe Rim Trail. This year we plan to complete it. Our 2008 hikes were all very long hikes. Several of them were 20+ miles. What I learned from our hikes last year is that 20 miles is more than I want to hike in one day. I can do it but after about 12 miles it just isn't much fun. If you would like to read about the sections we did last year they are here.

The Tahoe Rim Trail web site has a list of how you can break the trail into 14 day hikes. Today Duke and I hiked the shortest segment, Ward Canyon to Tahoe City. It was an easy, 5 mile, two hour hike. It was great to be out on the trail again. Our next hike will be the Barker Pass to Ward Canyon segment which is south from where we were today. Looking that way it looks like there is still quite a bit of snow on the trail where it meets the Pacific Crest Trail but I bet we can do it next week.

If you would like to see my pictures of the hike they are on Flickr here.