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Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha

Intermediate
 4.6 (30) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Lakes, peaks, and lots of people can all be found on this section of the Pacific Crest Trail.


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Map Key

12.8

Miles

20.7

KM

Loop

8,340' 2,542 m

High

7,424' 2,263 m

Low

1,434' 437 m

Up

1,436' 438 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Lake · Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly If you take the water taxi, you add fun, decrease the distance by 5 miles, and focus your energy on the prettiest section of wilderness.

Overview

A beautiful hike around both the Echo Lakes lead to the heart of the Desolation Wilderness and Lake Aloha. This is one of the more popular trails in the area, so expect to share it! Consider taking the water taxi (in season roughly July through Labor Day weekend) to make this journey shorter and easier.

Need to Know

You can take a water taxi across both Echo Lakes and save about 5 miles of your hike. It's fun and very scenic as well. Taking the taxi makes this much shorter and easier. More Taxi Information

Description

If you're not taking the taxi, head up the hill to the PCT and start your journey following the banks of Lower Echo Lake. The trail is pretty open and can be quite hot here, and Echo Lake is lightly developed with vacation homes, but after about 2 miles you hit the wilderness boundary and the setting gets a bit more serene.

Pass a wildflower-filled meadow at 4.5 miles and continue past several junctions until you reach Lake Aloha. Enjoy the lake, perhaps a swim and a picnic, and then take a left at Lake of the Woods Trail.

Skirt around the lake, enjoy the views, then take a left on the PCT to Lake Aloha Trail (17E39). This will quickly get you back to the PCT and your return hike back to Echo Lakes.

There are a smattering of camping areas dotted along the way if you'd like to extend your journey.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Wilder

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 29 votes

#211

Overall
  4.6 from 29 votes
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4 Star
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3 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#30

in California

#211

Overall
1,553 Views Last Month
24,561 Since Aug 9, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Pyramid Peak with Lake Aloha in the foreground.
Sep 10, 2017 near South L…, CA
Northern part of Lower Echo Lake
Jun 25, 2018 near South L…, CA
You'll enjoy a great view looking over Upper and Lower Echo Lakes from the trail to Tamarack Lake.
Jun 25, 2017 near South L…, CA
Lower Echo Lake from Pacific Crest Trail
Jun 25, 2018 near South L…, CA
Snowy mountains through the trees on the Pacific Crest Trail
Jun 25, 2018 near South L…, CA
The Pacific Crest Trail along Lower Echo Lake.
Aug 16, 2016 near South L…, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 4 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Nov 10, 2019
Analicia Hawkins
Hiked partway in and out — 1h 00m
Sep 25, 2019
Caitlin M
(With Ari) Beautiful lakes, not too steep. 12.8mi
Sep 13, 2019
Emy J
9h 15m
Aug 24, 2019
Megan Priley
10h 50m
Aug 18, 2019
Phil Rouge
Aug 18, 2019
jonathan pierce
Jul 27, 2019
RJ SR
Just hiked out and back to upper echo lake. Finished at 1:35pm. 5.1mi — 10h 15m
Jul 17, 2019
David Chao