Because the snow covered the trail, we are not sure where the trail is in relation to the log as we are not entirely sure we went to the water via the trail. Middle Velma is well-worth an overnight if you’re looking to backpack. Enjoy the solitude. Lots of great views. This was a great trail on which to build a 3 day, 2 night trip starting 8/19. Loose gravel on rock and rocky steep steps but not too terrible if prepared. My previous experiences in the high country were on horse and packed mules. Thankfully, we found an area, sheltered by granite boulders, close to the lake and dry enough to set up camp. Thankfully forward, onto my hands and knees with Tyson now belly deep in the water. After leaving Eagle Lake, the trail climbs steeply, eventually reaching a fork for Velma Lakes and Bayview Camp, go right to Velma Lakes. We did this as a single overnight backpacking trip so we could take our time. Following the footsteps of others before us, with occasional help from our GPS, we continued. The temps were in the 80's during the day and only dipped to about 50 at night. Initial challenge of incline levels off in about 2 miles. Beautiful day. At the Bayview Trail junction turn right, and head toward the Velma Lakes. Granite lake is full and very pretty. The middle Velma was less impressive than I’d hoped. Ever so slowly, we made our way across. This trail is about a mile long and takes you past Upper Velma Lake to the left, straight to Middle Velma. It’s about a mile to the lake, and the trail follows the lakeshore for … When I was there in June, we’ve seen a couple of people, but not the crowds we expected. My first foot hit the flat granite and down I went. Eagle Falls or Bayview Trailhead access to Middle Velma, Fontanillis, and Dicks Lakes along the combined route of the TYT-PCT-TRT. Break Free From Your Story © 2020. Craig North of Bayview Camp Trail Intersection Notice snow in background (end of August). Once on dry ground, I learned I had cut up my foot and knee, and filled my boots with water. This view is from the bench on top of the hill just across Thoreson Road from the trailhead. So many nice views. Once at the Dick’s Pass trail head, though, that was not something we desired to fulfill due to the significant amount of snow in the area. Beautiful. This is a 9 mile moderately strenuous hike from the Bay View Trailhead to Velma Lakes where we’ll stop for lunch. The place was packed, and the traffic was bumper to bumper. Middle Velma is a gorgeous lake, and we were lucky to have no one in our immediate area. It’s a climb up to Maggie’s peak but it’s absolutely worth it! It gives you three excellent lake vistas: Eagle Lake, Middle Velma Lake, and Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe. The trail does not actually go down to the lake, so traveling across the snow-covered terrain was required. Middle Velma Lake. Great views on the climb up and at the summit. The trail was an alternating pattern of dirt and granite rocks to maneuver around. EASY 1.9 mi. One stream to cross close to the Velmas, but a steeping stone bridge allowed us to stay in our hiking boots and not get feet wet. Bayview Campground serves as a Trailhead for Desolation Wilderness. Day 1:  Saturday finally arrived and while it was drizzling in Vacaville, from where we left, it was looking to be relatively dry on the trail until about 2pm. Thankfully, the sun shining on the snow banks, the birds singing their songs, and the reflections on the water made all that was transpiring seem insignificant. Pass by another junction for Dick's Pass and Dick's Lake heading off to the left. Continued to Velma Lakes for one night. A half-mile down, across a creek, continue northwest to Middle Velma Lake. Note: the trailhead parking lot fills up fast so plan to arrive by 8:00. this trail was good and would have been better in a couple weeks! We had been told it was passable, with some stating there was a log that could be used for crossing. Step Into Your Journey….. 4 miles in soaking wet socks and boots, over the snow, with injuries was necessary, but didn’t sound particularly fun. Lots of elevation gain if you start Bayview at the very start up to Maggie’s but the rest of the trail is pleasant and varied. Parking is located at the far end of the campground where you also have the option to hike to Cascade Falls. . While the log was too narrow for me to cross with my dog, others were managing it just fine. On our return, we’ll take the Emerald Bay Trail past Eagle Lake to Eagle Falls overlooking Emerald Bay. Sadly, just prior to the Maggies Peak trail, we followed the wrong set of tracks and found ourselves on a precarious slope. Thankfully, our reward was the end of the climb and remarkable views down the valley to Eagle Lake. 6. Going down towards Eagle Falls was a bit tough. Trail is pretty easy to follow, and seems well maintained. Go do this one if you're in the area and weather permits. In no particular hurry, we ate breakfast, packed up, and hit the trail about 8:35pm. First 2.5 miles or so is quite strenuous, rising about 1,300 ft in elevation over steep switchbacks. With lighter packs, it was a welcomed change and the scenery (The view of Eagle Lake, and Eagle Falls) was just different enough to make it all worth it. First snow today was incredible. Dicks Lake, Gilmore Lake, and Lake Aloha from Cascade Lake, Eagle Falls Trailhead to Middle Velma Lake to Dicks Lake to Suzie Lake, Granite Lake, Dick's Lake, Velma Lake, and Eagle Lake Loop, Eagle Falls to Lake Schmidell and Lake Louis, Eagle Falls Trail to Bayview Trail Junction, Eagle Falls Trailhead to Glen Alpine Trailhead, Maggie's Peak, Eagle Lake, Granite Lake Loop. Trailheads on El Dorado National Forest (West) Side. Just enough variety to make things interesting. Preferring not to wade knee to waist deep in the freezing and swiftly moving water we did just that. Back on the main road after the trail is a very interesting mosiac fish statue. Camped at Dicks and Middle Velma both spots were great and had great swimming. At this point it becomes a scramble up loose dirt and rock and snow. The higher we went, the more difficult route finding was, and we were thankful for the plotted maps and GPS tracking we had with us. Stopping for lunch, we enjoyed the views of Dick’s Peak/Pass fully covered in snow and the surrounding mountain range. Emerald Bay early in the morning from near the trailhead. Skirt around the shore of Upper Velma and you will come to a creek crossing that will take you to Middle Velama. Climbed on top of Maggie's Peak for lunch with view. Had I fallen backwards I would have been strapped to my 40 pound pack floating away with the current. The views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay were great during the climb. Had we not been so terrified, a picture of that would have been priceless. You can easily rest at granite lake. In the early part of the hike you walk past Upper Eagle F alls and Eagle Lake (requires side-trail). Opening and closing dates are dependant on the weather. There is a water crossing, to get to Middle Velma, which is … Beautiful, highlights were Phipps pass and found a small little unnamed lake that was amazing and full of life. Eagle Lake Trail is steeper than Granite Lake Trail and is comprised of mostly “steps”. The ambitious or hikers with time can make this a loop by continuing onto Fontanellis and Middle Velma Lake before rejoining the trail back to Bayview. While the night temps had not dropped to freezing, as forecasted, the sun was energizing. Trailhead : Miles One Way: Difficulty: Twin Lakes to: Grouse Lake: 2.1: Moderate/Difficult : Hemlock Lake A Wilderness Permit is required to enter Desolation Wilderness. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 8. The trail is well maintained but does tend to get a little difficult in the starting few miles. As we finally began our descent we noted the Eagle Lake Trail junction and thought perhaps that would be our route home for different scenery and to avoid the snow we had just encountered. Part of the reason why this is one of the best hikes in Lake Tahoe is because you’ll travel along two other notable hikes: Eagle Lake and Emerald Point View. Continue the loop by backtracking to the trail junction just before Middle Velma, and follow the trail uphill to Fontanellis Lake. Beautiful hike! The trek out to Middle Velma is 7.6 miles roundtrip, but you can add to it depending on how many other lakes you want to see. A longer, yet still moderate hike, the trek to Middle Velma Lake is well worth the effort. They made the hills and stream crossings so much easier to cover safely. 7. Very hard uphill climb at the beginning, we went to Maggies peaks and the view was astounding. Definitely recommend! Absolutely gorgeous. Bayview trailhead, up, up, up is the name of the game until you get to the ridge above Granite Lake. EASY 2.7 mi. Trekking on, although we were meandering on flat ground through the forest, the snow was plentiful and the trail could not be seen. Shortly after that you will reach an intersection for Velma Lakes and Dicks Lake, go right to Velma Lakes. Stopping for a quick break at Middle Velma … Overall great loop. If you want this to be a full loop hike, use the Eagle Falls trail instead. You will then pass by an unnamed smaller lake on the left side of the trailand after about 4 1/2 miles you will reach Middle Velma Lake off to your right. It's 2.49 miles from Middle Velma Lake to the trail junction South of Fontanillis Lake. Returning to camp we settled in, ate our dinner, and just as clean up began the rain drops started. Fantastic hard hike. The trail from Bayview trailhead is colored with beauty all along the route and makes for a nice day in the open outdoors. Because of the snow, we were unable to fully ascertain how many camp sites there really are around the lake. The map below-Left focuses on the route of the TYT … The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Break Free From Your Story, Saving Grace ~ By Guest Author Rhianna Moehrke, Miles in to Middle Velma via Granite Lake Trail – 5.41, Miles out to the car via Eagle Lake Trail – 5.80, Total Elevation Gain – 1654 (Day 1), 613 (Day 2). To get back to our car (at the Bayview Campground) we had to walk on Highway 50, uphill and across traffic, for a mile. Follow the sign towards Desolation. We (4 adults, 1 dog) did this in about 8 hours which includes a 1+ hour lunch and swim break plus shorter stops at vistas and other alpine lakes. Thankfully, next to it, was an area in the river that was ankle deep and comprised of flat granite. Some pretty long, steep climbs up to the ridge, but well worth it. Continue west for another 2.2 miles where the trail meets the PCT by Middle Velma Lake. There was plenty of powdery snow to sink into. Middle Velma Lake to Eagle Falls Trailhead. The skies were grey, but the rain had not yet shown itself. Heading to Desolation Wilderness, Middle Velma Lake to be exact, with snow still in them there mountains was questionable. All Rights Reserved. With a lot of team work, we managed to get the three of us (and the dog) safely across. South Shore and West Shore Tahoe is loaded with lodging opportunities! Mud and mosquitos but rather warm nights and serenity. The original plan was to continue on the Granite Lake trail up to Dick’s Lake, only to follow the PCT across Dick’s Pass to Middle Velma. We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine… THE GOOD NEWS: After the first couple miles, the trail mellows significantly. Difficulty: Difficult Elevation: 6910′ / 8440′ Mileage (one way): 1 to 5 miles Directions to Trailhead: To reach the Bayview hiking trail take Highway 89 north from South Lake Tahoe approximately 8 miles to the Bayview Campground across from Inspiration Point. They say good things come in threes, and it’s true when you embark on this 8-mile (round-trip) hike in Tahoe’s Desolation Wilderness. Head north on the PCT for 1.2 miles to the junction with the Phipps Pass trail. We did not see very many people along this part of the trail. Before dinner we set off on a hike to the East and ran into the river where some rather spectacular waterfalls could be seen. Brad Branan: 916-321-1065 , @BradB_at_SacBee The weather the week prior was all over the map, vacillating between rain, thunderstorms, partly cloudy and snow with temperatures forecasted between 27-48 degrees. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until August. Bay View Trail to Eagle Lake - Bay View to Velma Lake to Emerald Bay Hike WHAT: End of season hike on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. Unnamed Pond The Velma Lakes are a popular destination for hikers into the Desolation Wilderness coming from Lake Tahoe. Trail Description: The two main trail heads for Upper Velma are Eagle Lakes or Bayview.We chose Bayview, one, because we camped the night before at the Bayview Campground, two, because it saves you a few hundred feet of climbing, and three, because the … Would recommend water shoes or flip flops for the water crossing before the lakes. A wooden sign points right to "Desolation" and left to Cascade Falls. Definitely a "moderate" difficulty trail. Just prior to Maggies Peak, we began to encounter snow on the trail. Bayview Trail to Velma Lakes is a 10.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tahoma, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. If you go during the early morning or later in the evening, mosquitos this time of year are gnarly so bring bug spray. For more detailed information clickhere. Middle Velma Lake To the west high above incredible Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe is a granite basin filled with pristine mountain lakes in the Desolation Wilderness, three of which are the Velma Lakes, Upper, Middle, and Lower. Moral of the story, get there early. While we encountered some other backpackers and day hikers alike, the trail was by no means crowded. Really enjoyed this hike to Upper Velma Lake! Along the way, the trail will contour along part of Upper Velma Lake. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until August. Tucking that thought away, we were back on relatively snow free ground, but now found ourselves hiking in a good amount of water as the “trail” had become a freeway for the snow melt. Lower Eagle Falls and Vikingsholm Castle. There are two trailheads to the Velma Lakes area, one is the Eagle Falls Trail Head and the Bay View Trailhead, all located on Emerald Bay Road (easy parking if you arrive early). Needless to say, my dog Tyson was unable to make the traverse, so I had to carry him by the handle of his pack which required he dangle, yes dangle, over the edge. Velma provided serene lakeside view-complete with lots of jumping trout!! We had lunch and turned back. After passing Granite Lake, make your way up steep granite … The shade of the pines on the hike up caused a chilly morning to be even chillier. Still manageable, still cold, still gorgeous. Still a great day! Starting from Eagle falls Trailhead to Eagle Lake, Upper Velma Lake, Middle Velma Lake, Fontanillis Lake ( Campsite) , Dicks Lake and coming back with Bayview trail. With them, went the temperature. Snow only covers parts of the trail after the saddle back for Maggie’s Peak. Maggie's Peaks just south of the trailhead. The cool temps were a blessing, because as you have probably read elsewhere, the Granite Lake trail immediately starts on a significant incline. Many short options and loops are possible with this trail. This is actually the smaller of two parts of the lake - the main section is 0.4 miles further, reached by turning left at the next junction; straight on passes the west shore of Middle Velma … We set up camp, enjoyed some hot tea, and relished in the fact that it really didn’t seem that cold. Areas not covered in snow were swamp like and we worried finding a dry place to set up would be difficult. VERY glad to have brought trekking poles. We had a quiet trek back up the mountain until ultimately coming to the Eagle Lake Trail Junction. We took a moment to rest and enjoy the view, but each of us was wet from hugging the snowy slopes and on the ridge the temperatures had dropped significantly with the wind picking up a bit. The snow made us turn around at one point, but it was a beautiful hike! There is a water crossing, to get to Middle Velma, which is essentially the mouth of the river between the two lakes. Views of Emerald Bay ease the pain, and Lake Tahoe comes into view once you get to the switchbacks above Granite Lake. The only downfall to this trail is that the closer we got to Eagle Falls, the more crowded it became. North Desolation Wilderness Backpacking That puts backpacking loops out of Eagle Falls or Bayview Trailheads to Middle Velma past Fontanillis Lake back to our respective trailhead at 10.33 miles While the serenity of our camp was gone, the adventure was far from over. Instead, we chose to take a right onto the Velma Lakes Trail where we again had some route-finding difficulty due to the snow. Significantly colder quick. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. With me thankful to not be floating downstream and him thoroughly confused by the sudden situation, I carefully hoisted us up off the granite. 2 miles up, to be exact, so even though we were hiking in 46-degree weather, we were all sweating. It wasn’t until the three of us were more than half way across, that we saw others much more expeditiously following a trail lower to the same place we were going….. Ugh. but once you crest the top, the views are awesome! This trailhead will also continue on to Upper, Middle and Lower Velma lakes as well as many other spectacular cirque lakes and alpine granitic landscape along this trail head. There’s so many more switchbacks than the trail suggests when you zoom in so it logged a little over 10.5 mi for us roundtrip. climb to Maggies which boasts an amazing view! Music is the final movement of Grieg's Piano Concerto. Trail description: The trail to Granite, Azure and Dick’s Lakes begins at Bayview Trail head which is one of the starting points for hikes into the Desolation Wilderness. With packs fully loaded, we started at the Bayview Trailhead to follow the Granite Lake Trail. Bayview Trail goes for about 2 miles before you reach the next trail junction for Middle Velma Lake. Leaving early, we arrived at the Bayview Campground Trailhead (located at the back of the Bayview campground) at 9:24 am just in time to take the last parking spot. This first lake, I would imagine, is a great place to take a dip in warmer weather and would be your first chance to filter water, if needed. After 2.6 miles the trail converges with the Bayview Campground trail. I love the Bayview Trail. Trekking poles aren’t necessary but really nice to have on the way down - there are many boulders and rocks to maneuver around. This is a well-maintained trail, with much to see, and good views of the lake about half way to Granite Lake. temison 1 year, 1 month ago Middle Velma Lake to Lower Eagle Falls Trail. Follow the trail west past Eagle Lake. Continue on the trail for another ¼ mile to Middle Velma. We camped the first night at Upper Velma Lake in one of many flat campsites about 50-75 ft from shore. One small stream crossing that is an easy hop across. My son (12) and I are new to backpacking. The two trailheads that offer easiest access to these lakes are both along CA 89 on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, at Bayview Campground and at the parking lot for the short hike (1000 feet) to Upper Eagle Falls just above Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe's western shore. Middle Velma Lake Trail is a 9.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tahoma, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Dogs are also able to use this trail. We did get to see views of Middle Velma … DIFFICULT 1.9 mi. Mosquitos were present around the lakes and in the forested areas of the trail, especially at 8,000+ elevation, but they're pretty slow and easy to kill. From the trailhead, follow signs to Eagle Lake. We hiked past Fontanillas Lake on the second day, crossing another stream on rocks and downed logs, and camped second night at one of the half dozen or fewer campsites along the shore of Dick's Lake. Details: Middle Velma Lake - Desolation Wilderness Trail Head At: Bayview Trailhead Campground, South Lake Tahoe Length: 10 Miles Elevation Gain: 2100 Feet This was our first time backpacking Desolation Wilderness in South Tahoe and we absolutely loved it! Watch out for yellow-jackets at campground entrance. Beautiful. The rest of the trail to Middle Velma Lake is a mildly undulating route through mixed forest and around granite … Opting to experience something new, with less snow, we went that route. Such a great area!!! While climbing away from Eagle Lake there are great views looking down. This got us to Highway 50, where on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend it looked like Disneyland’s parking lot. If you insist on trying for Velma Lake bring real crampons and poles and make sure you have a gps or AllTrails (and bring an extra battery pack for your phone - this app is a battery hog trying to find a signal). We awoke to the sun rising over the ridge and what a welcome site that was. Let me tell you, preparing for the first backpacking trip of the season was a nail biter. The river crossing of course, was at the beginning of the trek and given the ease in which I had crossed it the day prior I made the silly decision to cross it without my water shoes. At this point, we had traveled about 5 miles in 5 hours and we were cold and tired. I started at first light (6am), and had to use my flashlight to find the trail a couple times early on. We even added the short (steep!) My dog, well, he was along for the ride and had no say. The hike starts at Bayview Trailhead (Latitude: 38.938619 | Longitude: -120.14197). Day hikers may pick up a day-use permit at the self serve area at the Trailhead. Consider heading to Maggie's Peak or create a loop with Eagle Falls Trail, or head higher into the wilderness and Velma Lake, near the PCT. Eagle Lake via Eagle Falls Trail. 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