Backpack to Susie Lake, Desolation Wilderness

Glen Alpine Trailhead

Overnight permit required! Visit desowv.org for everything you need to know and Rangers check permits OFTEN. Water gets very low after August and the Max group size is 12. Ther are No campfires allowed at all in this Wilderness Area (year-round) and The infamous Lake Aloha is a great 4-mile round trip day hike from Susie Lake.

Starting at the Glen Alpine trailhead (best access to Susie Lake):
To get to the trailhead, head toward Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe. From HWY 89, turn onto Fallen Leaf Rd and drive past the summer homes and marina until you reach a small firehouse on the left side of the road. You'll follow the road directly to the right of this firehouse, and at the end of this road will be your trailhead!

This trail winds through a forested area on an old road for the first mile. You'll get to see the old Glen Alpine Springs Historical Site before the trail starts to ascend up the ridge. You'll zigzag upwards for a mile or so with incredible views of various mountains until you get to the trail junction leading toward either Gilmore Lake or Susie Lake. Keep left for Susie- your destination is roughly 1 mile further from this junction!

Mileage/Elevation: From the Glen Alpine Trailhead, Susie Lake is 3.8 miles into the Wilderness. When you return to your car after your trip, you'll have hiked a total of 7.6 miles and experienced about 2,400ft of elevation change.

Note: The above photos of Susie Lake were taken during the Butte Fire (over 70,000 acres burned in September, 2015). This lake does not always have this smoky, orange hue.

Pack List

  • Overnight Wilderness Permit (http://desowv.org/files/obtainingpermit.pdf)
  • First Aid Kit - always
  • Map - I recommend Tom Harrison's Desolation Wilderness map
  • Backpack
  • Tent - must camp at least 100ft from water
  • Sleeping bag/pad
  • Headlamp
  • Warm clothes - this area is high in elevation & it can get windy
  • Trowel - bury human/dog waste at least 100ft from water
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera (optional)
  • Rain gear (optional)
Show More
RT Distance 7.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 2400 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Overall rating: 

Great Intro hike into Desolation Wilderness

As the title states, this is a great way to get started hiking in Desolation Wilderness. The Glen Alpine trail is a relatively gradual climb and distance makes for a great day hike. Pro Tip: There is an island in the middle of the lake that you can swim to that makes for a great way to cool off in the hot summer months.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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