The trailhead for Flagpole consists of the Echo Lake trailhead and parking area. From US Hwy 50 in South Lake Tahoe, proceed to Echo Summit and look for a "Sno Park" turnoff just west of the now defunct "Little Norway" resort just 1.1 miles west of Echo Summit. This turnoff is Johnson Pass Road, and follow it back northeast 0.5 miles to Echo Lakes Road. Turn north and follow this road 1 mile back into the forest until the Echo Lakes parking area is reached. Start hiking from here, crossing the Echo Lake spillway.
Follow the Pacific Crest Trail passed the lower and upper Echo Lake. After about 3 miles (and after entering the Desolation Wilderness) you get to an intersection where a sign points to the right and to Triangle Lake. Follow that trail for about 0.6 miles until you get to another crossing. At this point you can either follow the trail to your right (direction Lily Lake) for a little bit before leaving the trail and heading straight east up to the summit of Echo Peak. Instead of following the Lily Lake trail you could also direct walk off-trail at the intersection (again aiming through the trees at a straight easterly direction).
Snow shoes and a compass in the winter.
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