Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Round Lake between Big Meadow and Meiss Meadow

A steep cliff of volcanic rock: the Dardanelles east of Round Lake

El Dorado County's Round Lake in California is a scenic lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The lake is located roughly half-way between the Big Meadow Trailhead at Highway 89 and the Meiss Meadow Trailhead at Highway 88's Carson Pass. A popular day hike option is to combine a visit of both Dardanelles Lake and Round Lake. These lakes offer excellent sites for picnicking, fishing and swimming.

Round Lake with Mount Tallac in the backgroundRound Lake's north shore is 0.6 mile south from the junction where the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) intersects the Meiss Meadow Trail. This short trail section leads through dense forest with interspersed conglomerate formations resulting from prehistoric volcanic mudflow. Even more impressive is the Dardanelles structure coming in view to the southeast. This steep cliff of volcanic rock is best seen from the west shore of Round Lake (top picture). Regarding extent and color, this skyward-reaching formation sets a striking contrasts to the smoother looking and smaller granite cliffs and slopes surrounding Dardanelles Lake.

South of Round Lake the TRT ascends through forest as well as open areas, from where a view to the north offers a different scenery of Round Lake with Mount Tallac in the background (right picture above). The TRT continues to Meiss Meadow passing through open forest, groves of quaking aspens and—during spring—wet and lush meadows carpeted with corn lily shoots and wildflowers. After about three miles south of Round Lake the TRT intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), in reach of the Upper Truckee River. 

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