Best Hiking Trails in Desolation Wilderness


Desolation Wilderness is a protected area in California.

Getting Started

There are 6 primary access points to Desolation Wilderness. They are Echo Lake off Hwy 50, Glen Alpine Trailhead off Fallen Leaf Lake rd., Bayview Trailhead off Hwy 89, Eagle Lake Trailhead off Hwy 89, Meeks Bay Trailhead off Hwy 89 and Loon Lake Trailhead off Ice House Rd. These trail heads provide access to all of Desolation Wilderness and

When to Go

Desolation Wilderness is open year round. Gates to trailheads open around Memorial Day and close early October. Best time to hike is early July to mid August when snows are lightest and wildflowers are blooming. This is a busy time so plan your trip ahead of time.


Overnight permits are fee based and 1st come 1st serve. There is a limited number of permits available for each section of Desolation Wilderness for overnight stays. Rangers are highly visible in area during peek times and will ask to see permit. Day hikers can pick up permit at all trailheads. If hiking outside of high season day hikers go to closest ranger station for permit. Go to for permits. More information can be found at No campfires are allowed in Desolation Wilderness. Fire permits are required for all gas stoves. Fire permits can be obtained on-line at

Dog Info

Dogs are allowed in all areas of Desolation Wilderness.

Seasonal Popularity