Granite Lake and Maggie's Peak, South Lake Tahoe, CA
South Lake Tahoe's must do hike with stunning views
Desolation Wilderness is all about the natural beauty, and if you are around in the South Lake Tahoe area Granite Lake to Maggie's Peak is such an amazing way to spend the day in the wilderness while getting a glimpse of stunning views of Lake Tahoe. Round trip on this hike is close to 4.5 Miles with about 1900 elevation gain. Maggie's Peaks is part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. There are technically two peaks on the mountain about 0.7 miles apart, North peak stands at 8,499 feet while the South peak is at elevation of 8,703 feet.
Witness the grandeur of the Desolation Wilderness and the beauty of the lakes
Tribe ended up taking a late start for this hike and realized it was a super hot day. Neither less the attraction of a dip in the Granite Lake was a great motivator. Tribe parked at the Inspiration Point, this is a good place to soak in the views of Emerald Bay and majestic Lake Tahoe. In case you decide to park at Inspiration Point the trail starts across Highway 89, about a .03 miles. The hike starts at Bayview Trailhead, this is in the Bayview Campground across the highway from Inspiration Point, you can also find parking at the overflow lot closer to the trailhead.
There are a quite a few points of interest which make this trailhead a busy one. As you hit the trail, you can go towards the Cascade Lake and Cascade Falls to your left or follow on the right towards Granite Lake. This goes into Desolation Wilderness, up to Granite Lake and Maggie’s Peaks. Permits are required for entry into Desolation Wilderness, a blank permit located at the trailhead can be used to self issue. Yes its also needed for day hikes, however due to COVID some relaxation for day hikers were in place when the tribe was there.
The fresh smell of the pine trees, scenic vistas and uphill is there to greet you from the get go. The radiant blues and greens across the horizon is just something else. Uphill, some switchback and some more uphill for about 1.6 miles gets you to Granite Lake. There are many small unmarked trails that lead to the water. Maggie's Peak has a perfect reflection on the still waters of the lake. Tribe decided to take a quick snack break by the lake and watched the fish. The plan was to jump into the Lake on the way back. If you have limited time then this can be a great destination for the hike with a picnic.
Climbing back on the trail, tribe headed to Maggie' peak, after a steady uphill the trail flats out a bit before the final ascent, some parts leading up to the peak are loose gravel, keeping a steady footing is important to avoid slipping. Tribe finally made to speculator views of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Granite Lake, Cascade Lake, and Fallen Leaf Lake in the distance. Watching boats making their way across the water seemed very cool. Tribe took a quick snack and water break before heading back down to the lake for a dip.
Getting down was fast and tribe was at the lake ready to take a dip - crystal clear water with great reflections of the granite peak, evergreens and the clouds above us. This certainly was the highlight of the trip. Tribe members even tried to catch fish in their hats.
Learning's from the tribe - Tribe ended up miscalculating the heat/weather and didn't carry enough water, which did cause some concern, given tribes furry companion was also doing the hike. Always carry extra water, it could be a life saver.