Echo Lakes

Echo Lakes

Johnson Pass Road at Echo Summit, Highway 50
South Lake Tahoe, California 96158
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Local Phone: (530) 543-2600

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 right (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).

In summer, a water taxi shuttles hikers (and dogs)  between the far end of the upper lake (near the wilderness boundary) and the marina near the Echo Chalet parking lot. (Tip: take the taxi out in the morning to maximize your time in Desolation and minimize the time required to get there.) 

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. 

Parking is available in the upper lot at the Echo Lakes Resort.

Best time of year for this hike:
Early to mid-summer

Degree of difficulty:

It's about 2.5 miles to the far end of the upper lake and the border with Desolation Wilderness. From there, many other lakes can be accessed. Aloha Lake, in the scenic granite basin, is a popular destination for many. The hike to Aloha is about 12 miles round-trip from the Chalet. 

Water taxi:
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a water taxi operates between the Echo Chalet marina and the end of the upper lake. A fee is charged for this service. Visit Echo Chalet's website for details.

Dog rules:
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. 

dog friendly,, hike, lakes, swim, water taxi, store, boat rental, desolation wilderness, pacific crest trail, snowshoe, cross-country ski, leash-free

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If you're heading to or from Tahoe from Sacramento and the Bay Area on Highway 50, consider a half-day outing on Echo Lake, where you can rent a canoe, hike or take a boat taxi through snow-streaked scenery that will stick in your mind for weeks to come. For more scenic overload, pull off Highway 50 at Twin Bridges and check out gushing Horsetail Falls.      more »
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