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Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha

Intermediate
  4.5 ( 28 ) Favorite

Trail

12.8 mile 20.7 kilometer loop
94% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,434' 437 m
Descent: -1,436' -438 m
High: 8,340' 2,542 m
Low: 7,424' 2,263 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)

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Trail shared by Nick Wilder

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

Nick Wilder

Features Lake · Views · Wildflowers

Overview

A beautiful run 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 run. 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 run back to Echo Lakes.

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

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Sep 29, 2018
Chad V
Passed 112 hikers and 1 runner. 12.8mi

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 28 votes

#194

Overall
  4.5 from 28 votes
5 Star
61%
4 Star
32%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
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Featured Run Rankings

#28

in California

#194

Overall
540 Views Last Month
20,895 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

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