Desolation Wilderness Sign on
the Eagle Falls Trail
Desolation Wilderness
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Desolation Wilderness is a 100 square mile federal wilderness area west of Lake Tahoe.  It is a roadless area and is even devoid of logging and grazing.  Although the Desolation Wilderness is not very large, averaging 12.5 miles long and 8 miles wide, it contains 100 plus small glacial lakes (most filled with trout).

Desolation Wilderness is one of California's most accessible wilderness areas.  It's about a 3-hour drive from San Francisco and San Jose (The Silicon Valley), a 2-hour drive from Sacramento, and a few minutes from Lake Tahoe.

Don't let the name scare you away.  Desolation Wilderness is far from being desolate.  It's covered with lakes, wildlife, and wonderful vistas.  Desolation Wilderness is also a Mecca for trout fishermen.  It contains all major species of trout: Brook, Rainbow, Golden, Brown, Lake, and Cutthroat trout.

Desolation Wilderness uses a strict permit/quota system.  The quota is 700 overnight users.  Wilderness permits are required for BOTH overnight and day users every day of the year.  Day-use permits can be completed at the trailhead, but overnight permits must be picked up in person or via snail-mail.  You can reserve a permit in writing (3070 camino Heights Drive, Camino, CA 95709), phone (530-644-6048), FAX (530-644-3034), or at the Eldorado National Forest Information Center (open 7 days a week, 8am-5pm) just off highway 50, 5 miles east of Placerville.

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All pages copyright © 1999-2004 Craig Iwata.                                            The California Hiking Page
This page last changed 7 June, 2004