Lake Tahoe – Eagle Falls Trailhead

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Eagle Falls Trailhead, A short trip in the Desolation Wilderness

Thursday, October 27, 5:00 am. The weather outside was not looking too bad, but we were still in Marin County, over 200 miles away from the start of our journey in the Desolation Wilderness National Park, southern Lake Tahoe. After a three hour drive we arrived at the Eagle Falls trailhead, the start of our trek. The plan was to spend 3 days the in Desolation Wilderness. On our first day going 5 miles to Upper Velma Lakes spending the first night there. On day two our plan was to come 5 miles back down and spend the night/Saturday by Eagle Lake. Lake Tahoe is known for its sporadic weather in Fall and our plan was abandoned early on.Eagle Falls Trailhead

For a week prior to our trip Avi and I had monitored the weather closely. We knew we were cutting it close with this trip in regard to the weather but that didn’t stop us from trying. According to the weather report, we had a 20 percent chance of showers Thursday (our starting day) a similar forecast for the following day, and 100 percent chance of heavy rain for Saturday, because that was the day we intended to leave we were not worried.Pristine Eagle Lake

Two hours after leaving the Eagle Falls trailhead and about 3 miles into our trip we knew the forecast was wrong. My hands were numb from the wet cold of the nonstop rain. Nearly 5 miles in we decided to set up camp and call it a day, despite the fact we hadn’t reached our initial campsite (Upper Velma Lake). In about an hour we were mostly dry and cozy, 3 of us in a 2 person tent.

Soon after drying off Montana realized we had set up our tent in the center of a puddle that was rapidly growing. Reluctantly we all got out of the tent and dragged it about 20 feet away to a more suitable spot. I was still optimistic at that point we might be able to finish our trip like we had planned, I was wrong.Rushing Eagle Creek

After a restless night we decided to seek the refuge of our warm car left behind in the Eagle Falls trailhead and drive home. To many this trip may seem like a failure but I have always lived by the motto “Hike your own hike” and while I looked forward to reaching Upper Velma Lake we all knew we had got what we came for (an adventure) and trying to stay on track with our original itinerary would have been foolish and miserable.

Interested in finding out more about the Eagle Falls Trailhead?

A year later I passed this area on my trek along the Pacific Crest Trail, you can check out the post here. Interested in making a trip like this? Read up on a great trail description of trips from the Eagle Falls trailhead by Tahoe Adventure Sports.

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