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Glen Alpine to Lake Aloha Out and Back

Intermediate

Trail

11.9 mile 19.2 kilometer out and back
88% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,845' 562 m
Descent: -1,845' -562 m
High: 8,123' 2,476 m
Low: 6,548' 1,996 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 23% (13°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Map Key

Trail shared by Nick Wilder

This popular route visits many highlights of the Desolation Wilderness.

Nick Wilder

Features Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Overview

While this length will make it a full day for many people, the relatively easy climbs and long list of highlights make this an excellent, and justly popular, route into the Desolation Wilderness.

Description

From the trailhead, follow the fire road for the first mile to the old Glen Alpine Springs Resort. This is a cool diversion with a few of the original buildings still standing and some interpretive signs installed.

From here the trail turns to very rocky singletrack. About 1/2 mile after leaving Glen Alpine Springs there will be a 1-mile spur trail to Grass Lake to the left. But follow the trail to the right as it begins ascending the southwest flank of Cathedral Peak toward Gilmore lake. This 1/2-mile stretch is a series of switchbacks, but soon after, the trail straightens out and becomes softer under foot as it enters more forested terrain.

About 1 1/4 miles from the Grass Lake spur there will be a split in the trail. Take a left on the Glen Alpine Trail Cutoff, pass some small ponds surrounded with wildflowers, and then pick up the TRT: Echo Lake to Barker Pass. Head left here towards Susie Lake. Enjoy the beauty of Susie Lake and Jacks Peak in the background.

Climb to the notch on the far side of the Susie Lake and you'll quickly come to Heather Lake, and a few switchbacks later, Lake Aloha. Lake Aloha is particularly beautiful with the Crystal Range in the background. Enjoy a picnic, play in the lake, and return the way you came.

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 3 votes

#1950

Overall
  4.7 from 3 votes
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Run Rankings

#271

in California

#1,950

Overall
56 Views Last Month
5,596 Since Aug 9, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Glen Alpine Falls during near-peak flow with the southwest face of Mount Tallac in the background.
Apr 9, 2018 near South L…, CA
Granite cliffs cast shadows over the green waters of Heather Lake.
Aug 15, 2016 near South L…, CA
Pyramid Peak, Desolation Wilderness, California.
Aug 15, 2016 near South L…, CA
Looking towards Dicks Pass from a ridge above Susie Lake (frozen).
Jun 23, 2019 near South L…, CA
Lily Lake looking out to Keith's Dome, hazy early afternoon. Taken at Glen Alpine Trailhead.
Apr 9, 2018 near South L…, CA
Massive talus fields engulf the banks of Heather Lake.
Aug 15, 2016 near South L…, CA

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