Hike to Half Moon Lake in Desolation Wilderness

Rate this Adventure Lake Tahoe Glen Alpine Trailhead

Added by Jake Young

This pristine alpine lake in Desolation Wilderness is flanked by the dramatic backdrop of Jack's and Dick's Peak. This lake sees much less traffic than the other lakes in the region.

This hike starts at the Glen Alpine Trailhead near Fallen Leaf Lake. Because Desolation is a wilderness area, you are required to fill out a day-use permit which can be found at the trailhead. If you are backpacking make sure to obtain an overnight permit either online or at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center.

After you fill out your permit, start heading up the gravel road behind the gate. This road takes you passed old summer homes and roughly follows the Glen Alpine Creek. Along the way, you can also see Modjeska Falls. The road eventually becomes a single track and starts climbing through the glacially carved granite that Desolation is famous for.

After about two miles you will reach the intersection with the Grass Lake trail. Stay to the right to keep climbing up the Glen Alpine Trail.

The trail keeps meandering through forest for another 1.6 miles until it reaches another intersection. Keep right to stay on the correct path.

Eventually the trail crosses the PCT and there will be a sign indicating the correct direction towards Half Moon Lake. This portion of the trail then climbs another 200 feet ending at the alpine lake.

If you are looking to camp, the adjacent Alta Morris lake is a perfect spot to get away from the main trail.

To get back, simply take the same trail back to the Glen Alpine Trailhead.

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Food
  • Water
  • Layers
  • Photography Gear
  • Backpack
  • Tent, Sleeping Bag, and Pad (If backpacking)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

11 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1600 Feet

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
Lake
River
Scenic
Swimming Hole
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Jake Young

Adventurer, Photographer, Impact Investor. I work with companies that want to have a positive impact on the world around them.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to the Jumping Rock on the Bear River

Lake Tahoe / Dog Bar Bridge

Though lesser known than its neighbors the Yuba and the American, the Bear River still features fantastic hiking, swimming, river-raft, tubing, and rock-jumping but without the crowds.

Josiah Roe
4 Saves

Photograph a Sunset on Wolf Mountain

Lake Tahoe / Wolf Mountain

While all of the hiking trails to the Wolf Mountain summit cross private land, Wolf Mountain Road provides public access to several excellent viewpoints overlooking the Central Valley and the nearby .

Josiah Roe
4 Saves

Hike Training Hill

Lake Tahoe / Training Hill Trail

Training Hill is a 4.5 mile loop trail that features beautiful meadows and wildflowers, with limited views to Folsom Lake and the Auburn canyon.

Kim Clark
4 Saves