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 includes 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 7.5-mile hike from the trailhead at Wright's Lake, elevation 6,940 ft. About 6 miles from the trailhead the trail crosses Rockbound Pass, elevation 8,520 ft., then descends 200 ft. for the last 1 mile to Lake Lois. The elevation gain to the pass is 1,580 ft. over the distance of 6 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, improving stream crossings, and building rock stairs. 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. You will get the opportunity to work closely with Wilderness Rangers and Desolation Wilderness Volunteers on this exciting project.
Please note: Due to COVID-19, Wilderness Volunteers is operating our 2021 project schedule under our Modified Project Procedures for Volunteers. These project guidelines will be revised as needed. Please check back often for the latest version.
Due to additional COVID-19 precautions, we are prohibiting mixed household volunteer carpooling (with volunteers outside of the same household traveling in the same vehicle) to projects until further notice. Exceptions to this policy (eg close friends traveling together) will need to be discussed with/pre-approved by the office and will require additional precautionary steps for the individuals involved. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
This project is rated as a strenuous project.
Check out more photos from previous years Desolation project in our gallery.
Sep 12th - Sep 18th 2021
Campsite removal & restoration, trail maintenance, turnpike construction.
Dayhiking, swimming, fishing in Lake Lois, photography
Strenuous : 7.5-mile backpack, digging, bending, moving rock & soil, 1580' elev gain. Pack animal supported