Cracked Crag is a minor peak within the Desolation Wilderness area and is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Aloha. The Pacific Crest Trail passes right at the foot of the peak on it's western side. Like so many other Sierra peaks consisting of granitic intrusive rock jutting up through volcanic layers and metamorphosed stone, this peak is another pile of rubble. A very pretty pile rubble, though, and worth the quick scramble to the top. Views from the top are great to say the least! You have a 'head-on' view of the Crystal Range, a sensation that you can't quite get from Jack's or Ralston.
All roads lead to Cracked Crag
There are many ways to access this peak and although I will focus on the easiest path, first you must take HWY 50 to the South Lake Tahoe/Echo Summit vicinity. You may park at Pyramid Creek a few miles west of the pass (parking fees apply) and head up the trail along Horsetail Falls, past Ropi Lake, past Lake of the Woods and on up the Lake Aloha, or you can enter from the east via Fallen Leaf Lake.
The quickest and easiest route, however, is to turn north off of HWY 50 just west of Echo Summit following the signs for Echo Lakes. Parking may be found either at the end of the road at the boat ramp or just above it along the road. There is ample parking and it is free, too. Walk across the spillway to access the trail head and follow the trail until you reach Lake Aloha. It is an easy hike up low angle maintained trails. Once you reach the lake head north up the PCT for just a few hundred feet and you will find yourself at the foot of the mountain and the beginning of the south ridge route.
Cracked Crag is within the boundaries of Desolation Wilderness and all rules and regulations, permits and fees apply to all those visiting the area.
For day hikers, permits are self registered at the major trailheads and are free of charge.
Overnight permits may be obtained by calling or visiting the El Dorado National Forest Ranger Station. Plan ahead because this area is very popular and the zone quotas can impact your plans.
Visit the Desolation Wilderness
page for details.