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El Dorado County, California

Looking for the best backpacking in El Dorado County? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around El Dorado County. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top Backpacking Spots in and near El Dorado County

  • Kyburz, California

    Hike Pyramid Peak

    5.0
    Although it stands only slightly higher than its neighbors, Pyramid Peak nonetheless dominates the Crystal Range atop which it sits. Great views from the summit make this a must-do.The Route: The route is fairly straightforward to Lake Sylvia (see map). Simply follow the well-defined Lyons Cr...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Desolation's Primitive Western Edge through Rockbound Pass Loop

    4.4
    26.28 mi / 5151 ft gain
    This 26 mile loop meanders through some of the most primitive trails in Desolation Wilderness. Starting from Wrights Lake, the route proceeds over Rockbound Pass, loops around several lakes, and returns to Wrights Lake. Not many hikers venture past the steep and rocky Rockbound Pass to enter this...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Smith Lake

    5.0
    5.6 mi / 1785 ft gain
    To get to the Twin Lakes Trailhead from the Bay Area/Sacramento, head east on HWY 50 past Kyburz for 4 miles until you see the left-hand turnoff for Wrights Road. If coming westbound on HWY 50, this will be a right-hand turn 5 miles past Strawberry. Follow this paved road for 8 miles (watch for p...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Twin and Island Lakes

    5.0
    6.26 mi / 1237 ft gain
    The Twin Lakes trail starts winding through a pine forest, with a couple of bridge crossings over crystal clear trout-filled streams.  The marsh-like water is very slow-moving, and even though it is indeed beautiful, it is also a prime location for pesky mosquitoes in the summertime.  Be sure to ...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lake

    5.0
    5.6 mi / 1785 ft gain
    Starting from the Wright's Lake parking area, walk past the service gate to find the loop trail. Follow the loop trail to the signed trail for Twin, Grouse, Island, and Hemlock Lakes heading toward the right. You will begin an approximate 150 foot ascend before coming to a saddle. Another 150 foo...
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  • Twin Bridges, California

    Summit Price & Agassiz from Desolation Wilderness

    5.0
    Mount Price (9,975') is the second highest summit in the Desolation Wilderness, standing just eight feet lower than Pyramid Peak to the south. In between these two peaks stands Mount Agassiz (9,967'), whose overhanging summit resembles a granite wave poised to crash down into the Desolation Vall...
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  • Twin Bridges, California

    Hike Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon

    5.0
    7.4 mi / 4100 ft gain
    Pyramid Peak is the tallest peak in the Crystal Range and the Desolation Wilderness, just west of Lake Tahoe. On a clear day it can be seen from the Bay Area over 150 miles away. Named for its distinct shape, Pyramid a massive heap of glaciated granite slabs and talus, and the Rocky Canyon route ...
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  • Pioneer, California

    The Potholes ("The Pots")

    4.2
    1.53 mi / 121 ft gain
    This fantastic camping or chilling spot has beautiful granite pools and slides of all sizes. The area consists of a river flowing over a granite slab creating pools some of which are over ten feet deep. The water cascades down the granite in small water falls. The area is located next to Silver L...
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  • Twin Bridges, California

    Ropi Lake via Pyramid Creek

    4.7
    4.87 mi / 1581 ft gain
    The trailhead to begin this hike is located at: 38.8117 N, 120.1237 W. From Hwy 50 just south of Lake Tahoe, take Hwy 50 southwest for almost 11 miles, where you'll turn into the parking lot after crossing Pyramid Creek. There is a $5 day-use fee to park in the trailhead parking lot. The hike i...
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  • Twin Bridges, California

    Hiking to Ralston Peak

    4.0
    7 mi / 2375 ft gain
    Starting at the lower lot it's less than a mile to access the trail. The hike starts off in shade through a lot of red fir forest and continues at a steady upward route. Approximately 45 mins into the hike you'll come across a sign that says you are entering desolation wilderness. The forest will...
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  • Tahoma, California

    Susie Lake, Desolation Wilderness

    5.0
    7.96 mi / 1496 ft gain
    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 fol...
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  • Tahoma, California

    Hike to Half Moon Lake in Desolation Wilderness

    5.0
    11 mi / 1600 ft gain
    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 Visi...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Gilmore Lake in Desolation Wilderness

    8.66 mi / 1919 ft gain
    The easiest way to get to Gilmore Lake is to start at the Glen Alpine trailhead. The trail head is southwest of Fallen Leaf Lake. There is a decently sized parking lot at the trailhead, but parking is also available on the road up. Because desolation is a wilderness area, you must fill out a perm...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Middle Velma Lake via Eagle Falls Trailhead

    4.5
    9.18 mi / 2251 ft gain
    Hiking or backpacking to the Velma Lakes area is a must do if you want to explore and escape the summer crowds of South Tahoe. There are 3 lakes, Upper, Middle, and Lower Velma Lake. The trek out to Middle Velma is 9+ miles roundtrip, but you can add to it depending on how many other lakes you wa...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Backpack to Eagle Lake and Dick's Lake

    4.5
    13 mi / 1500 ft gain
    Get ready to get your lake on! This backpacking trip will take you 13+ miles through awesome scenery to several alpine lakes.Starting at the Bayview Campground, off of HWY 89, this hike follows the Granite Lake Trail along a difficult climb. Don't let the climb discourage you! As you climb, the v...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Hike to Snow Lake in Desolation Wilderness

    5.0
    5 mi
    This wonderful alpine lake is a relatively short hike in Desolation Wilderness and is a perfect introduction to off trail exploration. This area lacks the crowds that other lakes in Desolation garner because most maps don't show the trail leading to the lake. Although there is a rough trail, the ...
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