LOGIN     Get our Monthly Newsletter 
Photo Gallery Blog Donate Wilderness Volunteers

Desolation Wilderness, Eldorado National Forest, CA (Aug 12th - Aug 19th 2017)

  • Description
  • Details
  • Map

John Muir referred to the Sierra Nevada as "the most beautiful of all the mountain chains" or, more poetically, "the range of light." The Desolation Wilderness, located southwest of Lake Tahoe, above Emerald Bay contains 63,960 acres of subalpine and alpine forest, bald granite peaks, dramatic cliffs and glacially-formed valleys and more than 100 lakes. The Desolation Wilderness takes its name from the barren, rocky basins and gnarly old-growth conifers that characterize its heights. Many visitors comment that the name is entirely inappropriate for an area with such rich diversity of scenery, topography and natural beauty.

Our service project is trail work and campsite restoration by removing illegal campsites and fire rings. The work could also include building a turnpike through a seasonal stream-wet meadow crossing between Lake Doris and Lake Lois, as well as clearing down trees from the McConnell Loop. Our base camp will be at Lake Lois, elevation 8,320 ft. That's a 6.5-mile hike from the trailhead at Wright's Lake, elevation 6,940 ft. About 5.5 miles from the trailhead the trail crosses Rockbound Pass, elevation 8,520 ft., then descends 300 ft for the last mile to Lake Lois. The elevation gain of 1,580 ft over the distance of 5.5 miles.  Some campsites are too close to the lake, and our task is to remove those illegal camps and naturalize the area. We'll also maintain trails in the area by improving trail tread on nearby trails, and improving stream crossings. The project will require doing a fair bit of rock work. The Forest Service will provide pack animals to carry tools, group food and kitchen supplies to our base camp.

This project features a vegetarian menu with optional meat ingredients on many meals.

This project is rated as a strenuous project.

Check out more photos from previous years Desolation project in our gallery.


Aug 12th - Aug 19th 2017

Service Project

Campsite removal & restoration, trail maintenance, turnpike construction.

Agency logo

Free Days

Dayhiking, swimming, fishing in Lake Lois, photography


Backpack camping

Project Difficulty

Strenuous : 6.5 mile backpack, digging, bending, moving rock & soil, elevation 7,100'. Pack animal supported


Bill Sheppard
Aidalicia Swertferger

Equipment List