Updated: Jul 9, 2021
South Lake Tahoe's must do hike with stunning views
Ralston Peak in the Sierra Nevada mountain range lies to the west of Lake Tahoe stands tall at 9,239 ft with a picture perfect 360 degree views from the top. The peak is part of the Desolation Wilderness, one of the most stunning location in El Dorado County, California. Tribe decided to soak in the summer climbing this peak, the trailhead is located off Hwy 50 at Camp Sacramento, this has easy access from South Lake Tahoe as well as Bay Area. Anytime there is an entry into the Desolation Wilderness permits are required. Permit can be pick up at the Pacific Ranger Station near Pollock Pines specially if its a overnight trip. There is also mechanism to self issue at the trailhead for day hikes. The permits are free and do not have a quota. While the roundtrip distance is only around 7 miles the climb can be strenuous with the 2800 ft. elevation gain at high altitude. It is advisable to acclimatize for altitude.
Witness the grandeur of the Desolation Wilderness and the beauty of the lakes
The first one mile of the trail meanders through the forest and is relatively gradual. But it soon starts to pick up the incline with some spots almost at 20 degrees. The views along the hike are mostly that of the forest and only a few of the surrounding mountains are visible, including some ski slopes. The ground was soft and the fresh smell of the evergreen trees was soaking our souls. Tribe had a fun time obstacle training on the fallen trees that were blocking the trail. Interestingly the terrain was not as rocky as some of the others in the region. Rocky parts are certainly more towards the top. While the summit is not visible from the trail, you know its close when large heaps of talus approach. Some parts of the trail seems to be lost in talus. Tribe ended up losing their way as they marched towards the summit, but were soon able to get back on track.
While it was a hot summer day, the winds started to pick up close to the summit and as one of the tribe members was pulling out their jackets their hat flew away. Be sure to prepare for unpredictable weather at the top with strong winds. Panoramic views of Desolation Wilderness, Lake Aloha, Lake of the Woods, Ralston Lake, Upper Echo lake, Mount Tallac, Pyramid Peak, Mt Rose and Lake Tahoe surround this peak will imprint in your memory from this hike. The climb will seem so worth it! The blend of white snow on the mountain slopes, hues of blue from the lakes and the stunning grey granite is mesmerizing.
After spending a good 30 minutes at the peak and enjoying the peanut butter jelly sandwich the tribe headed back down. It was a super fun day having spend it in the midst of what the tribe loves the most - natural beauty.
Wilderness is a place of an encounter with the creator- Lailah Gifty Akita
Learning's from the tribe - Learning in small increments from the encounter with the creator is progress.