Echo Lakes to Barker Pass
▲ Wilderness setting ▲ Abundence of lakes
▲ Exciting contrast of granite and water
Segment Description Between Echo Lake and Barker Pass, the trail leads deep into the granite heart of the Desolation Wilderness, where cool blue lakes lie cradled in ice-polished basins. The joint Tahoe Rim Trail/ Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail heads north from Echo Lakes across a rugged wilderness of glacial moraines and smooth granite ridges. Tumbling streams and serene lakes nourish pine groves and flower-filled meadows. The clear water and meandering shoreline of beautiful Lake Aloha offer delightful swimming and camping spots. The central portion of this segment is noted for its long steep approaches up and over Dicks Pass and for its equally breath-taking views. North of the pass, the Velma Lakes mark the trail’s entrance into a much drier and less open landscape, where thick conifer stands are interrupted by small meadows crowded with wildflowers. The gently rolling trail leads down out of Desolation Wilderness and eventually to shallow Richardson Lake. Several dirt roads cross the trail as it slowly rises to the Barker Pass trailhead. Small creeks and meadows punctuate the generally forested northern portion of the segment.
Echo Lakes: Turn N off Hwy 50 0.5 mi W of Echo Summit and follow Echo Lake signs 1 mi to paved lot. Vault toilets. Seasonal store has limited supplies.
Barker Pass: From Hwy 89 4.25 S of Tahoe City. Turn W at Kaspian Beaqh onto Barker Pass Rd and drive 7.2 mi to dirt parking lot. Vault toilet.
Alternate Access - Several trails, namely Bayview and Eagle Falls, climb the long steep slopes leading up to the TRT from alongside Hwy 89. Consult a recreation map for details.
The trail from Echo Lakes (7,525’) to Barker Pass (7,650’) maintains a grade of 10% or less with some steeper sections around Dick’s Pass. The highest point is close to 9,400’ so some snow may persist late in the summer.