|Lower Echo Lake (Memorial Day weekend, 2016)|
|Eastbound hikers above Upper Echo Lake|
|Upper Echo Lake with granite islands which are topped with windblown conifers (Lower Echo Lake at the upper left)|
Whenever you are eager to speed up your trip into the granite wilderness—the Desolation Wilderness, the water taxi comes in handy. Otherwise, hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT), which here coincidences with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), is a memorable experience with scenic views. The 3.2-mile-long trail section between Lower Echo Lake's dam and the Desolation Wilderness boundary stretches along the north shores of the lakes. There are only minor ups and downs. To your right (while heading west) are various granite cliffs, from which water is dripping down during the snowmelt season. To your left is the narrow, deep blue lake with strikingly well-maintained rustic cabins on the granite shore.
The trail above the Lower Lake traverses crack-marked granite slopes of open forest of junipers and Jeffrey pines. The forest and the trailside rock formations become denser while you are crossing the peninsula shoulder and are approaching the junction with the short descend to the Upper Lake's taxi pier. Farther rambling westbound and steadily climbing the rocky terrain, you'll soon arrive at a junction with a trail ascending toward a small lake called Triangle Lake. Remember that to continue on and into the wilderness you need a Desolation Wilderness Permit .
|Desolation Wilderness post|
Getting to the Echo Chalet and the Echo Lakes Trailhead
From the junction of Johnson Pass Road with Highway 50 south of Meyers, 1.25 miles west of Echo Summit, go east on Johnson Pass Road for about half a mile. Turn northwest on Echo Lake Road. This road leads all the way down to the Chalet, Marina and Lower Echo Lake's dam. Unless you arrive very early, the chance to find parking there is small. It is recommended to park in the upper trailhead parking lot and then walk down. The map kiosk in front of the dam has a small box with permit forms applying to those travelers who plan to enter the Desolation Wilderness.
References and further information
 Tahoe Rim Trail: Echo Lakes To Barker Pass [www.tahoerimtrail.org/index.php/echo-lakes-barker-pass].
 Echo Lake Chalet's taxi service: www.echochalet.com/taxi.htm.
 Desolation Wilderness Permit, CA: www.recreation.gov/wildernessAreaDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=72202.