Echo Lake offers year-round dog-friendly fun with hiking options and a SNO-Park in the winter season.
This scenic area at Echo Summit is justifiably popular with DogTrekkers as leashes are not required away from developed areas. A pair of lakes in a scenic granite basin are the twin attractions.
A portion of the Pacific Crest Trail runs along the north side of the lakes, leading in about 2.5 miles to the border of the Desolation Wilderness Area (permits, required, can be picked up at a kiosk at the Echo Chalet trailhead). From there, many other lakes can be accessed. Aloha Lake, in the scenic granite basin, is a popular destination. The hike to Aloha is about 12 miles round-trip from the Chalet.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a water taxi shuttles hikers (and dogs) between the Echo Chalet marina and the end of the upper lake.
Dogs must be leashed on the water taxi and under voice control on the trail. Please do not let your dogs wander off onto private property; many summer cabins are situated near the trail. Don’t forget bags for picking up after your dog.
In winter, the lakes freeze over and are a popular snowshoe and cross-country ski destination. A Sno-Park permit is required for parking in the lot on Johnson Pass Road; from there, it’s about a mile down down the snow-covered road to the lakeshore. The Chalet which offers a store and rustic lodging facilities, is closed in winter.
Recommended Activities: Cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and snow play. No snowmobiles. No parking on entry road.
The SNO-Park program provides winter recreation at locations along the Sierra Nevada. Distinctive brown highway signs located along highways identify the SNO-Parks.
Each SNO-Park provides visitors access to snow-cleared parking lots and sanitation facilities. Snow conditions determine accessibility and opportunities available at each site.
SNO-Parks are open seasonally between November 1st and May 30th. Visitors are required to purchase and display a parking permit for each vehicle parked at a SNO-Park. Fees are $15 per day or $40 for the season.