Lake Aloha makes for a great overnight backpacking destination (how we utilized it) or can be one stop on a multi-night expedition.  Located in the Desolation Wilderness portion of Tahoe National Forest, the Echo Lake trailhead is just 20 minutes from South Lake Tahoe.  Permits are required for overnight trips and there is a daily quota.  Since you can purchase them online and in advance you will need to be proactive about planning your trip.

As shown below, the hike from Echo Lake to Lake Aloha is around 6 miles and gains about 1400 feet.

Lake Aloha Route
Click to enlarge

This is a very popular area so if you’re looking for complete solitude you may want to consider a different location, at least during the warm times of year.  Since there is a quota system in place for overnight permits you should be able to find a fairly private campsite and get some peace and quiet once the sun goes down, but don’t be surprised to see headlamps from other groups in the distance.

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Other items to note for this location:

  • Dogs are allowed but they must be on a leash and you’ll need to pack out their waste.
    • Much of the trail is made up a broken rock.  Consider dog booties if your pup has sensitive paws.
  • When we visited (mid October 2015) the lake was fairly low.  Still plenty of water but it does look fairly different than some photos you’ll find online.
  • A water taxi is available to take you over Echo Lakes and save about 2 miles of hiking.  We didn’t use it but more information can be found online.

Post written by Keith Crawford, Assistant Coordinator of Adventure Outings

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