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. It's 2.49 miles from Middle Velma Lake to the trail junction South of Fontanillis Lake. The Bayview trail begins with mellow ascent beneath redwoods with Emerald Bay on your right up to Granite Lake on your left. A half-mile down, across a creek, continue northwest to Middle Velma Lake. Always wear your water shoes, and unbuckle your pack in case you go down. The trail is well maintained but does tend to get a little difficult in the starting few miles. Parts of the summit are clear but the trail is still buried. Thankfully, our reward was the end of the climb and remarkable views down the valley to Eagle Lake. With packs fully loaded, we started at the Bayview Trailhead to follow the Granite Lake Trail. Definitely recommend! Just enough variety to make things interesting. Going down is even better, because you’ll have an amazing view over Emerald Bay. Bayview Campground serves as a Trailhead for Desolation Wilderness. Climbed on top of Maggie's Peak for lunch with view. We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine… Note: the trailhead parking lot fills up fast so plan to arrive by 8:00. this trail was good and would have been better in a couple weeks! Back on the main road after the trail is a very interesting mosiac fish statue. Initial challenge of incline levels off in about 2 miles. With them, went the temperature. The trek from the lake to Eagle Falls trailhead/parking lot was about 5 miles. Break Free From Your Story © 2020. The trailhead is very congested and parking can be difficult if you do not reach the trailhead early. 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. 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. It’s about a mile to the lake, and the trail follows the lakeshore for … There was still some snow on the surrounding slopes that created a stunning cascade that spilled into the western side of the lake. We did get to see views of Middle Velma … While the log was too narrow for me to cross with my dog, others were managing it just fine. Heading to Desolation Wilderness, Middle Velma Lake to be exact, with snow still in them there mountains was questionable. Music is the final movement of Grieg's Piano Concerto. Two trailheads offer the most ready access to this area: Eagle Falls and Bayview Campground. This trail is about a mile long and takes you past Upper Velma Lake to the left, straight to Middle Velma. The original plan was to continue on the Granite Lake trail up to Dick’s Lake, only to follow the PCT across Dick’s Pass to Middle Velma. Preferring not to wade knee to waist deep in the freezing and swiftly moving water we did just that. Trail description: The trail to Granite, Azure and Dick’s Lakes begins at Bayview Trail head which is one of the starting points for hikes into the Desolation Wilderness. The only downfall to this trail is that the closer we got to Eagle Falls, the more crowded it became. Head north on the PCT for 1.2 miles to the junction with the Phipps Pass trail. I'm new to backpacking. 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. This is just the first bit of picturesque freshwater bodies on this hike. The rain was not hard, and it was not significantly stormy; just steady enough to cause our retreat to bed at 8:15. 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. I enjoyed this hike and the views. There is a water crossing, to get to Middle Velma, which is … Bay View Trail to Eagle Lake - Bay View to Velma Lake to Emerald Bay Hike WHAT: End of season hike on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. Mud and mosquitos but rather warm nights and serenity. A Wilderness Permit is required to enter Desolation Wilderness. Trailhead : Miles One Way: Difficulty: Twin Lakes to: Grouse Lake: 2.1: Moderate/Difficult : Hemlock Lake At the River, we learned from hikers on the other side that we should head up stream to the log. Great views on the climb up and at the summit. 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. 6. Lower Eagle Falls and Vikingsholm Castle. After passing Granite Lake, make your way up steep granite … My previous experiences in the high country were on horse and packed mules. Middle Velma Lake. Fantastic hard hike. Due to the rocks, I'm glad I had my hiking poles! With a lot of team work, we managed to get the three of us (and the dog) safely across. After 2.6 miles the trail converges with the Bayview Campground trail. That, my friends, was an adventure to be relayed another day. First 2.5 miles or so is quite strenuous, rising about 1,300 ft in elevation over steep switchbacks. Go do this one if you're in the area and weather permits. There was plenty of powdery snow to sink into. Skirt around the shore of Upper Velma and you will come to a creek crossing that will take you to Middle Velama. To get back to our car (at the Bayview Campground) we had to walk on Highway 50, uphill and across traffic, for a mile. Continue on the trail for another ¼ mile to Middle Velma. 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. 7. Really enjoyed this hike to Upper Velma Lake! 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. Very steep at the beginning, but a beautiful hike overall! The place was packed, and the traffic was bumper to bumper. Enjoy the solitude. 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. Beautiful hike! Stopping for lunch, we enjoyed the views of Dick’s Peak/Pass fully covered in snow and the surrounding mountain range. It’s nonstop uphill but the switchbacks are gentle and there are constant rewards. This was a great loop. Next time I’ll head for Dick’s or Fontanelli Lakes. On our return, we’ll take the Emerald Bay Trail past Eagle Lake to Eagle Falls overlooking Emerald Bay. Such a great area!!! The trail was not too crowded & all hikers as usual were very respectful of social distancing when passing. 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. We awoke to the sun rising over the ridge and what a welcome site that was. Returning to camp we settled in, ate our dinner, and just as clean up began the rain drops started. While the night temps had not dropped to freezing, as forecasted, the sun was energizing. Beautiful day. Beautiful. We camped the first night at Upper Velma Lake in one of many flat campsites about 50-75 ft from shore. Trailheads on El Dorado National Forest (West) Side. Steep uphill at the beginning. Instead, we chose to take a right onto the Velma Lakes Trail where we again had some route-finding difficulty due to the snow. Parking is located at the far end of the campground where you also have the option to hike to Cascade Falls. Beautiful. You can easily rest at granite lake. The river crossing of course, was at the beginning of the trek and given the ease in which I had crossed it the day prior I made the silly decision to cross it without my water shoes. Bay View Campground is located across the Inspiration Point Trolley stop above Emerald Bay! 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. We had a quiet trek back up the mountain until ultimately coming to the Eagle Lake Trail Junction. Loose gravel on rock and rocky steep steps but not too terrible if prepared. Return hike diverted to Eagle Lake trail down, which was beautiful, but a little more traffic. Stopping for a quick break at Middle Velma … Trekking on, although we were meandering on flat ground through the forest, the snow was plentiful and the trail could not be seen. Bayview trailhead, up, up, up is the name of the game until you get to the ridge above Granite Lake. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Two lessons learned…. 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. Had we not been so terrified, a picture of that would have been priceless. 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. I love the Bayview Trail. 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. They say good things come in threes, and it’s true when you embark on this 8-mile (round-trip) hike in Tahoe’s Desolation Wilderness. but once you crest the top, the views are awesome! Moral of the story, get there early. Velma provided serene lakeside view-complete with lots of jumping trout!! The first 3/4 mile is comprised of switch-backs that lead to a high point with a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. Sane distance. It gives you three excellent lake vistas: Eagle Lake, Middle Velma Lake, and Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe. The rest of the trail to Middle Velma Lake is a mildly undulating route through mixed forest and around granite … We had been told it was passable, with some stating there was a log that could be used for crossing. While climbing away from Eagle Lake there are great views looking down. DIFFICULT 1.9 mi. The map below-Left focuses on the route of the TYT … Although the cold was keeping most wildlife away, the songs of the birds was soothing to the soul. North Desolation Wilderness Backpacking That puts backpacking loops out of Eagle Falls or Bayview Trailheads to Middle Velma past Fontanillis Lake back to our respective trailhead at 10.33 miles From the trailhead, follow signs to Eagle Lake. Continue west for another 2.2 miles where the trail meets the PCT by Middle Velma Lake. Eagle Falls or Bayview Trailhead access to Middle Velma, Fontanillis, and Dicks Lakes along the combined route of the TYT-PCT-TRT. 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. Thankfully, next to it, was an area in the river that was ankle deep and comprised of flat granite. Some pretty long, steep climbs up to the ridge, but well worth it. The hike to Eagle Lake is very popular so you can expect to see many, many day hikers on the trail to Eagle Lake, and expect to see many hikers making their way to the Velma … We set up camp, enjoyed some hot tea, and relished in the fact that it really didn’t seem that cold. EASY 1.9 mi. We even added the short (steep!) This is a well-maintained trail, with much to see, and good views of the lake about half way to Granite Lake. However, snow starts to cover the trail shy of the summit at about 8100 feet. Lots of great views. Continue the loop by backtracking to the trail junction just before Middle Velma, and follow the trail uphill to Fontanellis Lake. Would recommend water shoes or flip flops for the water crossing before the lakes. Going down towards Eagle Falls was a bit tough. A hiking blog with a little something extra. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until August. Definitely a "moderate" difficulty trail. You can get past a few sections and manage to pick up the trail but eventually the trail is completely buried. Opting to experience something new, with less snow, we went that route. 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. A wooden sign points right to "Desolation" and left to Cascade Falls. Avoid meddle Velma way to many people, felt almost like car camping. Beautiful, highlights were Phipps pass and found a small little unnamed lake that was amazing and full of life. It wasn’t until the three of us were more than half way across, that we saw others much more expeditiously following a trail lower to the same place we were going….. Ugh. Significantly colder quick. The trail does not actually go down to the lake, so traveling across the snow-covered terrain was required. Still manageable, still cold, still gorgeous. Shortly after that you will reach an intersection for Velma Lakes and Dicks Lake, go right to Velma Lakes. Pass by another junction for Dick's Pass and Dick's Lake heading off to the left. Thankfully forward, onto my hands and knees with Tyson now belly deep in the water. Ever so slowly, we made our way across. The snow made us turn around at one point, but it was a beautiful hike! With me thankful to not be floating downstream and him thoroughly confused by the sudden situation, I carefully hoisted us up off the granite. The trail was an alternating pattern of dirt and granite rocks to maneuver around. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until August. Hiking the Bay View trail gives you several beautiful vistas of Lake Michigan, the farms, and North and South Manitou Islands. Before dinner we set off on a hike to the East and ran into the river where some rather spectacular waterfalls could be seen. Craig North of Bayview Camp Trail Intersection Notice snow in background (end of August). Granite lake is full and very pretty. 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. Heading down toward Middle Velma Lake. Camped at Dicks and Middle Velma both spots were great and had great swimming. VERY glad to have brought trekking poles. Trail Conditions Backpacking to Middle Velma Lake is an amazing opportunity, something that is recommended for everyone. We had lunch and turned back. At the Bayview Trail junction turn right, and head toward the Velma Lakes. 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. This view is from the bench on top of the hill just across Thoreson Road from the trailhead. 2 miles up, to be exact, so even though we were hiking in 46-degree weather, we were all sweating. 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. Take the Velma Lakes Trail on right and continue north. Once on dry ground, I learned I had cut up my foot and knee, and filled my boots with water. The hike starts at Bayview Trailhead (Latitude: 38.938619 | Longitude: -120.14197). One small stream crossing that is an easy hop across. 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. The temps were in the 80's during the day and only dipped to about 50 at night. EASY 2.7 mi. 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 … Follow the trail west past Eagle Lake. Very hard uphill climb at the beginning, we went to Maggies peaks and the view was astounding. We were quickly thrust from the serenity of the back country into the reality of a tourist zone. This is a beautiful trail. They made the hills and stream crossings so much easier to cover safely. This was a great trail on which to build a 3 day, 2 night trip starting 8/19. Middle Velma is a gorgeous lake, and we were lucky to have no one in our immediate area. Thankfully, we found an area, sheltered by granite boulders, close to the lake and dry enough to set up camp. Humbling to say the least. Many short options and loops are possible with this trail. The shade of the pines on the hike up caused a chilly morning to be even chillier. Opening and closing dates are dependant on the weather. 8. Watch out for yellow-jackets at campground entrance. 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. This got us to Highway 50, where on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend it looked like Disneyland’s parking lot. Of dirt and rock and rocky steep steps but not the crowds we expected Desolation '' and left Cascade! Next trail junction place to set up camp, enjoyed some hot tea and. Steep for the ride and had great swimming trailhead for Desolation Wilderness, Middle Velma Lake first miles! Loop by backtracking to the Maggies Peak trail, with less snow, we ll. Are clear but the rain was not significantly stormy ; just steady enough set. Are awesome Cascade that spilled into the freezing and swiftly moving water did... 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