Desolation Wilderness, Lake Tahoe, USA

Michelle from Anywhere at Home

One of the most popular places to hike in the Lake Tahoe area is Desolation Wilderness. It is especially crowded during the summer. We visited in spring — after a snowstorm — for a 3-day backpacking trip in the snow. Some of the best views of Lake Tahoe can be found along this hike.

Emerald Bay Desolation Wilderness Michelle Anywhere at Home

The view of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay from Maggies Peak

Without the snow, this same trip could have been a long day-hike, at only 15 miles round trip. We entered Desolation Wilderness via Bayview Trailhead, where the trail quickly ascended up Maggies Peak. This is where we first encountered the snow, and where we started to wonder if we had the endurance to make it to Dick’s Peak.

Sunrise over the Mountains Desolation Wilderness Tahoe

Our campsite just off the Bayview Trail on the first night, overlooking Tahoe

When our trail met with the Pacific Crest Trail and we finally saw Dick’s Peak, we were still unsure of ourselves. We followed a lone set of footsteps through the snow up Dick’s Pass. Our footing became less sure, and we were sliding down the mountain with every step. We had a decision to make, and we chose to turn around. Camped on a nearby rocky peak, we watched a lone figure skiing down from the top of Dick’s Peak. Perhaps we had been following his footsteps up the mountain.

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