I'm planning a backpacking trip at desolation wilderness with my friend. We're thinking of going up on the 26th for a 3/4 day backpacking trek. We did badger pass a couple of years ago on snowshoes and it was a blast. We thought we'd try something different this time.
I've never been to the desolation area so I have no idea what to expect. I see a lot of trails, but I'm assuming that they're snowed over during the winter. Are there any snowshoe trails, or do you just make your path as you go?
Also for the desolation area, would you recommend snowshoes or backcountry skiis? I figure with the skiis, we'd be able to cover more ground. I'm just concerned about getting into hilly or forested areas with skiis. If anyone has experience with this area, please chime in.
The 26th is probably too early with too low snow cover for an interesting 3/4 day trip. I'd wait until the Echo Lakes are more frozen and there is several more feet of snow . I think the best introduction to the Desolation Wilderness is to start at the Hwy. 50 Snopark ,ski to Echo Chalet ,cross Echo Lakes and set up a base camp at Aloha Lake . Take day trips to Ralston,Pyramid, Dicks ,etc. There are good views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra crest from lot's of places. It's definitly ski country . Have a great trip !
+1 for Palisades recc. That was my introduction to Desolation in the wintertime. Great skiing to be had as wel on the peaks he mentioned. And, you are in a great open bowl area at Aloha for gazing at the peaks.
Echo Lakes weren't even close to frozen as of Sunday 12/20. About half of the lower lake was visibly water. And some ridges and south-facing slopes were pretty bare, although you can certainly find plenty of snow if you stick to northern/shaded/protected areas.