LAKE LOOP BACKPACKING TRIP THROUGH TRINITY ALPS WILDERNESS
TRIP · 3 day backpacking trip
FOR · Advanced backpackers
VIBE · Remote, difficult, with spectacular ridge lines & alpine infinity lakes
COST · $
DRIVE · 4.5 hours from SF
IDEAL DATES · June - October
PETS · Welcome in the backcountry
A backcountry adventure is both a physical and emotional experience - we feel powerful when we ascend a peak, but also awestruck by our smallness in the grand expanse of the mountains.
WHY I LOVE THE WILD
This is a hard and remote hike, but it rewards you along the way with some spectacular lakes along the way.
WHY I'M SHARING THIS TRIP
WHY TRINITY ALPS?
Send your friend a photo from the Trinity Alps and they may think you hit the trail in Tahoe. But these spectacular rugged peaks and 55 gleaming lakes are in fact located 200 miles north of the Sierra Nevada Range, making the Trinity Alps California’s lesser known and lesser traveled alpine region. With empty trails, self-registered permits, and endless dispersed camping, the 500,000 acre Trinity Alps Wilderness offers a genuine opportunity to find your own path and peace.
⛺ You'll need a wilderness permit for this trip so reserve & print yours ASAP
🔥 Apply & print out a CA campfire permit too. It only takes a few minutes online.
⛈️ Bring rain gear, camp below the tree line & avoid afternoon hikes (when thunderstorms are most likely)
⛰️ The lowest elevation you’ll be at is 7500 ft. so make sure you’re comfortable and/or familiar with the altitude
😷 Face masks & social distancing are
required. Recreate responsibly!
NEED TO KNOW
MOUNTAIN HOUSE CHICKEN FRIED RICE*
*We love the convenience of freeze dried backpacking food. Mountain House is our favorite brand – just bring salt, pepper, and hot sauce to spice things up!
VIBE CHECK TRINITY ALPS WILDERNESS
LEAVE SF BY 8 AM
IF YOU'RE OKAY WITH ADDING ~1 HR TO YOUR TRIP, GO TO FRESCANA MEXICAN BISTRO
Located at 3141 US Hwy 50 Ste. C, South Lake Tahoe
Order a breakfast/lunch burrito to get energized before your trek!
Open everyday | 8 AM - 8 PM
DRIVE TO ECHO LAKE PARKING LOT
There’s a general store for last minute needs and treats
Campsites are also available should you need to buffer either end of your trek
ENJOY THE 4.1 MILE HIKE TO RALSTON LAKE
- At 3.6 miles, you’ll see a sign to turn left towards Tamarack & Ralston Lakes
- The last 0.5 mile, you'll hike along Tamarack Lake, cross a small stream (keep an eye out for a felled tree), then reach Ralston Lake
- There is a fair amount of flat ground with trees for shade and privacy on the NE side of Ralston Lake
- If the lake level is high enough, there are some awesome cliffs to jump off of on the eastern side of the lake
- Ralston Lake is very secluded with low foot traffic. We had the lake all to ourselves!
SETTLE IN & SET UP CAMP
CAR TO CAMP: 4.1 miles |961 ft of elevation gain | 3 hours
PACK UP & PACK OUT BEFORE NOON
- Sleep-in, cook a hot breakfast & check for any litter around camp
- Top off your water supply before you head out
RETURN TO ECHO LAKE PARKING LOT
CAMP TO CAR: 4.1 miles | 961 ft. of elevation gain | 3 hours
HIKE TO LAKE OF THE WOODS OR LAKE ALOHA
- It's a 4.6 mile RT to Lake of the Woods or a 4.8 mile RT hike to Lake Aloha
- Enjoy view of the notorious Aloha Lake!
OR IF YOU'RE FEELING AMBITIOUS, HIKE TO RALSTON PEAK
- It's a 7.4 mile RT climb with 1,395 ft. of elevation gain
- This hike ventures you above the tree line so bring lots of water & sunscreen!
- Roughly the last 0.5 mile of this trail is marked by cairns so keep an eye out
- From the summit, you can see 11 lakes!
Your outdoor experiences helps everyone have a safe & memorable time in nature. Share how your trip to Trinity Alps Wilderness went below & tag us @bewilder_camp if you used this itinerary!
LAST UPDATED: August 14, 2021