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Echo Lakes Trail

Distance: 2.5 miles one-way with a boat taxi shuttle, or 5 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate
Fees and Permits: $10 one-way fee for optional boat shuttle ($5 for dogs), and a required but free wilderness permit, available at the trailhead
Map: National Geographic Lake Tahoe Basin Map

This is a very easy and visually exciting trail, with the option of taking a boat taxi one way through the granite basin of Echo Lakes. Take US Highway 50 west out of South Lake Tahoe for 10 miles. After Echo Summit, take a right on Johnson Pass Road, then a left on Echo Lakes Road. There's parking at the chalet (along with restrooms, a restaurant and lodge) or along the road. The trail begins by the chalet, at the southern end of the lower Echo Lake. Stay left on the Pacific Crest Trail to traverse the shoreline, passing quite a few charming vacation cabins that flank the lakes. Once you reach the top of the upper lake, you'll see a "Taxi" sign on a big fir tree. Follow the narrow path to the boat dock where you can pick up a phone to call for the boat taxi, a fun ride for all ages and even leashed dogs! Alternatively you can hike back the way you came, or venture further, into Desolation Wilderness.

TMS Recommends Bringing: Suncloud Polarized Sunglasses to cut the glare off the Echo Lakes water and a lightweight jacket like the Patagonia Super Cell for the boat ride or unexpected afternoon showers.

TMS Pro Pick: Black Diamond Headlamps

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