Joy at Middle Velma Lake
Velma Lakes
Distance: 10.6 Miles (roundtrip)
Starting Elevation: 6,600 feet
High Elevation: 8,200 feet
Total Elevation Gain:  1,720 feet
Topo Maps: Emerald Bay, Rockbound Valley
Trailhead: Eagle Falls

Velma Lakes is a very scenic trail in the Desolation Wilderness.  The beginning section is often crowded, despite being very steep and rough.  Once you pass Eagle Lake, it becomes less crowded.

This trail begins at the Eagle Falls parking lot.  If you park directly on Highway 89, you will save paying $3 for parking in the official lot off Highway 89 and only add 50 feet to your trail distance.

A short distance after leaving the trailhead you will come to a bridge crossing Eagle Creek and Eagle Falls.  0.9 miles later you will come to Eagle Lake.  This lake was named Eagle Lake because it used to be the nesting ground for Bald and Golden Eagles.  The trail continues above Eagle Lake offering a wonderful view of Eagle Lake with Maggie's Peak in the background.  Originally Maggie's Peak wasn't named for her, but her breasts.  See if you can see the resemblance.

Eagle Lake with Maggie's Peak in the background

Craig North of Bayview Camp Trail Intersection
Notice snow in background (end of August).

After leaving Eagle Lake, the trail climbs steeply, eventually reaching a fork for Velma Lakes and Bayview Camp, go right to Velma Lakes.  Shortly after that you will reach an intersection for Velma Lakes and Dicks Lake, go right to Velma Lakes.

Before reaching Upper Velma, you will reach an Un-named Lake.  Although this is a good lunch spot, don't fool yourself into thinking you have reached Upper Velma.

Un-named lake above Upper Velma Lake 

Cascades between Upper and Lower
Velma Lakes

Continue on by crossing the cascades between Upper and Lower Velma Lakes.  You will reach a fork going to Upper and Middle Velma lakes.

Upper Velma Lake

Middle Velma Lake

Trail Tips
Phone ahead - Reserve your permit by phone, you can pick it up in person
Bring a rod - The fishing is great in the Desolation Wilderness
Catch and Release - If you do bring a rod catch and release

Trip References:
Schaffer, Jefferey P. 1996.  Desolation Wilderness and the South Lake Tahoe Basin.  Berkeley: Wilderness Press, p. 112 (hike #20).
O'Neil, Dennis V. 1996. Trail Tools Desolation Wilderness.  O'Neil Software, p. 114-115.
Yesavage, Jerome.  1994.  Desolation Wilderness Fishing Guide.  Frank Amato Publications, p. 39-40.

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This page last changed 7 June, 2004