With them, went the temperature. Bayview trailhead, up, up, up is the name of the game until you get to the ridge above Granite Lake. 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. In the early part of the hike you walk past Upper Eagle F alls and Eagle Lake (requires side-trail). 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. erikaw 1 year, 1 month ago Track (9/1/19, 12:10:26PM) ... Maggies Peaks via Bayview Trail. Many short options and loops are possible with this trail. 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. Stopping for a quick break at Middle Velma … 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. Step Into Your Journey….. Velma provided serene lakeside view-complete with lots of jumping trout!! Follow the sign towards Desolation. I doubt there will be enough snow melt in the next few weeks to clear the trail to the summit and beyond that will be a month or more. We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine… While climbing away from Eagle Lake there are great views looking down. Had I fallen backwards I would have been strapped to my 40 pound pack floating away with the current. They made the hills and stream crossings so much easier to cover safely. Head north on the PCT for 1.2 miles to the junction with the Phipps Pass trail. Return hike diverted to Eagle Lake trail down, which was beautiful, but a little more traffic. Thankfully, our reward was the end of the climb and remarkable views down the valley to Eagle Lake. 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. The temps were in the 80's during the day and only dipped to about 50 at night. The rest of the trail to Middle Velma Lake is a mildly undulating route through mixed forest and around granite … Going down is even better, because you’ll have an amazing view over Emerald Bay. There was plenty of powdery snow to sink into. Next time I’ll head for Dick’s or Fontanelli Lakes. Skirt around the shore of Upper Velma and you will come to a creek crossing that will take you to Middle Velama. While the log was too narrow for me to cross with my dog, others were managing it just fine. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. This trail is a bit steep for the first 2 mi. Thankfully, next to it, was an area in the river that was ankle deep and comprised of flat granite. Middle Velma Lake. We had a quiet trek back up the mountain until ultimately coming to the Eagle Lake Trail Junction. Although the cold was keeping most wildlife away, the songs of the birds was soothing to the soul. While the serenity of our camp was gone, the adventure was far from over. Hiking the Bay View trail gives you several beautiful vistas of Lake Michigan, the farms, and North and South Manitou Islands. 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. 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. 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. This trail is about a mile long and takes you past Upper Velma Lake to the left, straight to Middle Velma. You can also follow this same creek all the way down to Lower Velma, which is what we did on a day hike the next day. Areas not covered in snow were swamp like and we worried finding a dry place to set up would be difficult. One small stream crossing that is an easy hop across. This got us to Highway 50, where on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend it looked like Disneyland’s parking lot. The cool temps were a blessing, because as you have probably read elsewhere, the Granite Lake trail immediately starts on a significant incline. Let me tell you, preparing for the first backpacking trip of the season was a nail biter. Trekking poles aren’t necessary but really nice to have on the way down - there are many boulders and rocks to maneuver around. 7. 4 miles in soaking wet socks and boots, over the snow, with injuries was necessary, but didn’t sound particularly fun. The shade of the pines on the hike up caused a chilly morning to be even chillier. This was a great loop. 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. 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. Returning to camp we settled in, ate our dinner, and just as clean up began the rain drops started. The middle Velma was less impressive than I’d hoped. The trail was an alternating pattern of dirt and granite rocks to maneuver around. Due to the rocks, I'm glad I had my hiking poles! It gives you three excellent lake vistas: Eagle Lake, Middle Velma Lake, and Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe. The trail was not too crowded & all hikers as usual were very respectful of social distancing when passing. At the River, we learned from hikers on the other side that we should head up stream to the log. My first foot hit the flat granite and down I went. Stopped at Maggie's Peak South for a great view! Just prior to Maggies Peak, we began to encounter snow on the trail. This is a well-maintained trail, with much to see, and good views of the lake about half way to Granite Lake. Thankfully forward, onto my hands and knees with Tyson now belly deep in the water. The Bayview trail begins with mellow ascent beneath redwoods with Emerald Bay on your right up to Granite Lake on your left. Middle Velma is a gorgeous lake, and we were lucky to have no one in our immediate area. 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. 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. There is a water crossing, to get to Middle Velma, which is … The trailhead is very congested and parking can be difficult if you do not reach the trailhead early. Day hikers may pick up a day-use permit at the self serve area at the Trailhead. 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. Following the footsteps of others before us, with occasional help from our GPS, we continued. 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). Beautiful hike! At this point it becomes a scramble up loose dirt and rock and snow. 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. We did get to see views of Middle Velma … If you want this to be a full loop hike, use the Eagle Falls trail instead. We had been told it was passable, with some stating there was a log that could be used for crossing. Avoid meddle Velma way to many people, felt almost like car camping. This is a 9 mile moderately strenuous hike from the Bay View Trailhead to Velma Lakes where we’ll stop for lunch. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 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 … Very hard uphill climb at the beginning, we went to Maggies peaks and the view was astounding. I'm new to backpacking. Just enough variety to make things interesting. Bayview Trail goes for about 2 miles before you reach the next trail junction for Middle Velma Lake. Shortly after that you will reach an intersection for Velma Lakes and Dicks Lake, go right to Velma Lakes. Still a great day! Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Step Into Your Journey….. Such a great area!!! The trek from the lake to Eagle Falls trailhead/parking lot was about 5 miles. Eagle Falls or Bayview Trailhead access to Middle Velma, Fontanillis, and Dicks Lakes along the combined route of the TYT-PCT-TRT. Opting to experience something new, with less snow, we went that route. Moral of the story, get there early. Small enough patches to allow for trail finding on the other side, but deep enough to require slow and careful footing to avoid post holing. 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! Beautiful. Trekking on, although we were meandering on flat ground through the forest, the snow was plentiful and the trail could not be seen. 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. The trail does not actually go down to the lake, so traveling across the snow-covered terrain was required. After leaving Eagle Lake, the trail climbs steeply, eventually reaching a fork for Velma Lakes and Bayview Camp, go right to Velma Lakes. Bay View Campground is located across the Inspiration Point Trolley stop above Emerald Bay! Beautiful. Music is the final movement of Grieg's Piano Concerto. A wooden sign points right to "Desolation" and left to Cascade Falls. It was just plain cold. Continued to Velma Lakes for one night. Take the Velma Lakes Trail on right and continue north. At the Bayview Trail junction turn right, and head toward the Velma Lakes. We loved lunch on the Velma lakes! 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. The map below-Left focuses on the route of the TYT … We learned from the ranger, there was a 30% chance of showers around 2pm, into the evening, and snow on the ground at higher elevations. Ever so slowly, we made our way across. Very steep at the beginning, but a beautiful hike overall! Middle Velma Lake to Eagle Falls Trailhead. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until August. 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. You can easily rest at granite lake. On our return, we’ll take the Emerald Bay Trail past Eagle Lake to Eagle Falls overlooking Emerald Bay. This view is from the bench on top of the hill just across Thoreson Road from the trailhead. I enjoyed this hike and the views. Pass by another junction for Dick's Pass and Dick's Lake heading off to the left. Beautiful day. Had we not been so terrified, a picture of that would have been priceless. While we encountered some other backpackers and day hikers alike, the trail was by no means crowded. 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. 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. Saw mountain lion tracks outside our tent at Middle Velma so make sure all food is secured away from tents and what not (ours were and no issue!) Trail is pretty easy to follow, and seems well maintained. To get back to our car (at the Bayview Campground) we had to walk on Highway 50, uphill and across traffic, for a mile. Humbling to say the least. Bayview Campground serves as a Trailhead for Desolation Wilderness. A hiking blog with a little something extra. The first 3/4 mile is comprised of switch-backs that lead to a high point with a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 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. Brad Branan: 916-321-1065 , @BradB_at_SacBee First snow today was incredible. 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). The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until August. Sadly, just prior to the Maggies Peak trail, we followed the wrong set of tracks and found ourselves on a precarious slope. Trailheads on El Dorado National Forest (West) Side. 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. About 2-3" of snow cover for most of the hike, but it was easy enough even without traction. Definitely a "moderate" difficulty trail. but once you crest the top, the views are awesome! 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 … Summary: This is a great semi-loop hike in the Desolation Wilderness southwest of Lake Tahoe. My previous experiences in the high country were on horse and packed mules. The hike starts at Bayview Trailhead (Latitude: 38.938619 | Longitude: -120.14197). Steep uphill at the beginning. Parts of the summit are clear but the trail is still buried. This trail is about a mile long and takes you past Upper Velma Lake to the left, straight to Middle Velma. The trail from Bayview trailhead is colored with beauty all along the route and makes for a nice day in the open outdoors. 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. From the trailhead, follow signs to Eagle Lake. My dog, well, he was along for the ride and had no say. Still manageable, still cold, still gorgeous. 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. 8. 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. Craig North of Bayview Camp Trail Intersection Notice snow in background (end of August). Barefoot, with my boots in one hand, and Tyson in the other I stepped into the freezing water. The snow made us turn around at one point, but it was a beautiful hike! After passing Granite Lake, make your way up steep granite … Maggie's Peaks just south of the trailhead. That, my friends, was an adventure to be relayed another day. Really enjoyed this hike to Upper Velma Lake! Dogs are also able to use this trail. With a lot of team work, we managed to get the three of us (and the dog) safely across. A half-mile down, across a creek, continue northwest to Middle Velma Lake. At this point, we had traveled about 5 miles in 5 hours and we were cold and tired. There were three of us scheduled to make the trek and we all agreed that short of thunderstorms or snow blizzards we were going to give it go. Fantastic hard hike. This was a great trail on which to build a 3 day, 2 night trip starting 8/19. It’s nonstop uphill but the switchbacks are gentle and there are constant rewards. With packs fully loaded, we started at the Bayview Trailhead to follow the Granite Lake Trail. 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. Go do this one if you're in the area and weather permits. 6. I started at first light (6am), and had to use my flashlight to find the trail a couple times early on. 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. This is just the first bit of picturesque freshwater bodies on this hike. So many nice views. Continue west for another 2.2 miles where the trail meets the PCT by Middle Velma Lake. Overall great loop. As the drizzle began, and the temperatures continued to drop, we were thankful to be getting closer to camp. Sane distance. Emerald Bay early in the morning from near the trailhead. Great views on the climb up and at the summit. We did this as a single overnight backpacking trip so we could take our time. EASY 1.9 mi. First 2.5 miles or so is quite strenuous, rising about 1,300 ft in elevation over steep switchbacks. Going down towards Eagle Falls was a bit tough. Beautiful. Opening and closing dates are dependant on the weather. 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. There was still some snow on the surrounding slopes that created a stunning cascade that spilled into the western side of the lake. Lots of great views. This is a beautiful trail. Snow only covers parts of the trail after the saddle back for Maggie’s Peak. Views of Emerald Bay ease the pain, and Lake Tahoe comes into view once you get to the switchbacks above Granite Lake. Middle Velma is well-worth an overnight if you’re looking to backpack. It's 2.49 miles from Middle Velma Lake to the trail junction South of Fontanillis Lake. Eagle Lake Trail is steeper than Granite Lake Trail and is comprised of mostly “steps”. My son (12) and I are new to backpacking. Definitely recommend! 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. Granite lake is full and very pretty. . A longer, yet still moderate hike, the trek to Middle Velma Lake is well worth the effort. 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. Significantly colder quick. Stopping for lunch, we enjoyed the views of Dick’s Peak/Pass fully covered in snow and the surrounding mountain range. Heading to Desolation Wilderness, Middle Velma Lake to be exact, with snow still in them there mountains was questionable. 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