Hike Date: June 14, 2014
Distance: ~ 5 miles
Trail(s): Glen Alpine Trail, Grass Lake Trail
Where’s it at? Just beyond Fallen Leaf Lake in SW Lake Tahoe


During a camping trip to Fallen Leaf Lake in late Spring of 2014 we decided to take a hike on the nearby Glen Alpine Trail. Grass Lake was one of the shorter distances and this was just a quick day hike for a friend that had never been to the area. It was my second visit to the lake which is quite easy to get to yet gives a subtle taste of Desolation Wilderness.

Parking at Glen Alpine can be a challenge. There are bathrooms, garbage and recycling here but no water, so be sure to bring some from further back. There’s a store at the west side of Fallen Leaf Lake if needed. The parking lot affords you view of Lily Lake, a small subalpine lake with some cabins on its southern shore. From here you begin a gentle climb and quickly come to a small set of falls which are a good photo opportunity. Continuing on you pass a couple cabins before reaching Soda Spring, which on this hike had the surrounding area wet and meadow-like. Continuing on towards Grass Lake you will come to the first and easier of two creek crossings. The latter is a large tree trunk laying over the river just before a waterfall. I highly recommend not falling in here!

The trail is easy to follow and winds its way gently upward toward Grass Lake. You’re getting pretty close at some signage suggesting you’ve entered Desolation Wilderness and that a permit (free for day use at the parking lot) is required. You have really the only fork here where you want to stay toward Grass Lake instead of Mt. Tallac/Susie lake’s trail.

After a bit you reach grass lake which is fairly secluded, small and scenic, and we continued along its southern shore about as far as the trail could take you, which also was apparently a popular backpacking campsite. In the distance here you get a glimpse of the gorgeous Grass Lake Falls off in the distance. Despite attempts to go off trail to reach it, we really couldn’t find a good path. I think it would be easier to get to by taking the Mt. Tallac trail and veering toward it. In fact on a backpacking trip later in 2014 I found what looked like a spur trail that leads to the falls.

All in all a great little day hike if you’re in the area or camping at Fallen Leaf Lake as we were. It’s worth a visit when you’re in the area.

Photos from Hiking to Grass Lake (click to enlarge)

Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine
Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine
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http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-to-grass-lake-in-desolation-wilderness-2 http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-to-grass-lake-in-desolation-wilderness-2 http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-to-grass-lake-in-desolation-wilderness-2
Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine

Directions to Glen Alpine Trailhead


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