Pros: Beautiful peaks, lakes, and creeks near nice campgrounds and lodgings.
Cons: Can be crowded. Limited number of backpacking permits available.
Desolation Wilderness is one of many wonderful wilderness areas in the California Sierras where I have day hiked. Its located south of Lake Tahoe. It is full of many beautiful peaks, lakes, and creeks. All the hikes I have taken there have been breathtaking.
In May of 2004 I took a wonderful hike on the Meek's creek trail. We started the hike at the Meek's Bay trail head, filled out our wilderness permit, and were on our way. The start of the hike was through a wonderful valley on an old jeep trail. We shared this part of the trail with folks out walking their dogs. After about a mile the trail peeled off the jeep trail and started climbing up. There were wonderful views of rocky crags to our right and the enticing sounds of a cascading creek to our left. Soon we ended up next to the cascading creek. We stopped for lunch when we came to the creek crossing at a wonderful sturdy bridge over the creek. After lunch we ran into some snow but it was still clear where the trail went and the snow was generally off the trail. We continued to parallel the creek and soon reached our first lake, Genevieve Lake, quickly followed by Crag Lake. Both lakes were so beautiful that it was hard to continue on with our planned hike. However, we did manage to drag ourselves away and check out the next lake, Hidden Lake. Snow and a fading day barred our way from checking out the next lake, Stoney Ridge. We had a nice long stop at Crag Lake before we headed back. It was a marvelous hike full of beauty and adventure.