Desolation Wilderness - Summer Solstice 2014


one step at a time
Jul 29, 2013
In May I had planned to solo Velma, Dicks & Fontanillis Lake loop in Desolation Wilderness; near South Lake Tahoe. Before the weekend of trip my sinus infection that has been lingering all winter came back to bite me. So, on the off-chance Mark could head out in June I inquired, with response "It's in the calendar!". Music to my ears! Permits for DW can be obtained through with around 30 days planning.

As normal I tend to pick the most strenuous route.. we began at Eagle Falls Trailhead. Alternative is to start at Bayview campground TH. Immediately hiking up boulder steps heading for Eagle Lake.


Welcome to Desolation Wilderness by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

climbing from Eagle Lake TH by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

Climbing to trail intersection with Bayview was a grind; we didn't realize how much work till coming out the following day. After roughly 2.5 miles we merged onto Velma Lakes trail; first lake arrive at is Upper Velma - drainage with trail continuing to Middle Velma.

Middle Velma lake by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

We ran into a trio that was camping at Middle Velma lake who were headed out for a DH. I made the mistake of asking "know any good spots?" only to receive a WTF look. Campsites can be found on the western end of Middle Velma; be prepared as wind picks up during day. Aside from other party we ran into only one other group camped near us. Never heard either group.

Middle Velma Lake campsite by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

Logging 5 miles and climbing roughly 1250 ft we pondered tomorrows plan: reconnoissance around Velma's for prime campsites or complete loop around Dicks & Fontanillis? Deferring decision till the morrow we decided to complete loop. Awesome decision we made!

Middle Velma lake reflections by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

along the PCT by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

Mountain Heather - Desolation Wilderness by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

Fontanillis Lake by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

Dicks Lake by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

Velma Lakes by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

Snow! by clifton dobbie, on Flickr

Fun, challenging, safe trip! Can't wait till next outing with Cobra Kai.
Total mileage: 11.3

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Last edited:

Taylor F.

Feb 18, 2014
South Tahoe is very beautiful. I did the 36+ mile Tahoe to Flume Trail bike ride last summer and it was exhilarating.


one step at a time
Jul 29, 2013
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