According to legend, in the 1800's Maggie was a well endowed barmaid at the Tahoe Tavern. In contrast to the apparent origin of their name, Maggies Peaks are relatively small and undramatic compared to other mountains at Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. However, the views from the summits and on the short steep approach trail are some of the finest in an area known for its spectacular scenery.
Maggies Peaks are featured prominently in the background during the introductory credits to the old Bonanza tv show. They are the backdrop, shot with a telephoto view from across the lake as the main characters are introduced while riding horses in the foreground meadow.
Half a mile from the Bayview Trailhead on Highway 89, the trail passes a dramatic overlook of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe. After another half mile of climb the trail passes Granite Lake, a small glacial lake at the base of Maggies Peaks. From here the trail ascends the cleavage between the peaks and reaches the pass in another half mile. From the pass, the slightly lower north peak is a short class 2 scramble along the ridge and the south peak is an easy uphill hike through the forest.
For a 6 mile loop, continue on the trail which traverses the gentle northwest slope of the south peak then descends slightly before it ends at a junction with the Eagle Falls Trail. Turn right (east) on this trail and descend 2.6 miles past Eagle Lake to the Eagle Falls Trailhead. A very scenic half mile hike along Highway 89 returns you to the Bayview Trailhead.
In summer Eagle falls and Bayview campground can get extremely crowded, many of them doing day hikes to Eagle Falls and Eagle Lake in the afternoons. To avoid the crowds go in the spring, fall, or early morning.
Iceclimb.com reports that there are several ice climbing routes on the steep northwest face of the north peak. The base of these climbs is just south of the Eagle Falls Trail, about one mile from the trailhead on Highway 89.
Please add climbing information or photos of Maggies Peaks here if you have any.
The Bayview Trailhead is located on Highway 89 about 6 miles north of the town of South Lake Tahoe and about 16 miles south of Tahoe City. There are several parking spots at the trailhead in the Bayview Campground. There is additional parking along 89 at the entrance to the campground.
The Eagle Falls trailhead is located on 89 half a mile north of the Bayview trailhead and charges a 3$ fee.
Permits are required for either day-use or overnight camping in the Desolation Wilderness. Day use is free, but there are fees for overnight camping year-round. In summertime there are quotas for overnight camping.
The maximum group size for a permit is 12, and stays are limited to 14 consecutive days. During the off-quota season there is no limit to the number of overnight users. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted. Wood fires are not allowed, and a free permit must be obtained to use a camp stove.
This USFS webpage outlines the quota and fee schedule for overnight permits in the Desolation Wilderness. Overnight camping and day use permits for the Desolation Wilderness can be obtained at these locations:
1) Eldorado National Forest Information Center Located five miles east of Placerville on Highway 50. 3070 Camino Heights Drive, Camino, CA 95709 Phone: (530)644-6048 Open seven days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with extended hours in the summer.
2) Lake Tahoe Visitor Center Located three miles north of the Highway 50/89 junction at South Lake Tahoe, on Highway 89. Open summer only. Call for hours, phone: (530)573-2674
3) Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Located two blocks north of the Highway 50/89 junction in South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. Phone: (530)573-2694
There are a few level tent sites at Granite Lake and on the south peak, but the north peak is rocky and brush covered.