Lake Aloha, California, USA
Say Aloha to Desolation WildernessWelcome to Northern California's Desolation Wilderness, the perfect place to hike near South Lake Tahoe. Lake Aloha is a well-deserved and divine place to take a dip after having tackled the climb up from Echo Lake.
I'd suggest parking your car at the Echo Lake parking lot. Make sure you have everything you'll need for a 12+ mile hike.
From the parking lot, you'll cross the small dam (leaving the boat dock behind you) and then turn left at the trailhead and start your hike up and along Lower and then Upper Echo Lake, along the Tahoe Rim Trail. Eventually that turns into the Pacific Coast Trail that will take you along Tamarack Lake before a quick jaunt to the Lake of the Woods. From there, you'll have some uphill climbing and some scrambling over serious boulders as you head up to the endless and enchanting Lake Aloha.
Because you've worked so hard to get there, you'll find yourself one of only a handful of people—if any—that made it, and it's the perfect place to eat the lunch you've packed and take a quick dip to cool off.
You still have a big return trip to get back to the trailhead but at least it's mostly downhill this time. If you're tuckered out by the time you see the signs for the water taxis at the dock on Upper Echo Lake, there may be another option to cover the final three miles. If it's before 6:00 p.m., head into the hut and use the on-site phone to ask for the boat service provided by Echo Chalet. It costs $12 per person, one-way.