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    Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    25.4 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    920 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Seeking a demanding day-hike near South Lake Tahoe? The Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Hike is a wonderful adventure for intrepid explorers craving a challenge. Hike over 24.1 km through the Desolation Wilderness past multiple alpine lakes boasting epic mountain views.

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    Route Description for Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Hike

    The Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Hike is a must add to your adventure itinerary. Wander through diverse terrains, past several alpine lakes, and up a Sierra Nevada peak all in one swift hike. Note this trek is not for the faint of heart—be sure to head out at dawn if you are tackling this trail as a day-hike. Additionally, it is important to dress in layers, wear sturdy, comfortable footwear, and pack plenty of water and snacks. When hiking in the summer months, we urge you to check the forecast and be mindful of afternoon storms which are so common in high altitudes.

    Setting out from the PCT Trailhead at Echo Lake, the Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Trail follows the PCT up to the Echo Pass Viewpoint before redirecting west, hiking along the shoreline cliffs of Lower Echo Lake. Admire the views of the lake below and the bounding Sierra Nevada Peaks as you wander. You will eventually pass Upper Echo Lake, Tamarack Lake, and Lake Margery following the PCT before reaching Aloha Lake. Revel in the beauty of the alpine lake decorated with several small islands and the flanking mountains. From here, track route 17E40 southeast down to Lake of the Woods. Eventually, you will reach an intersection with the Ralston Peak Trail, turn right.

    Now hiking the Ralston Peak Trail, the terrain will intensely climb up the mountain's northern slope. Mind your footing and keep an eye on the skies! From the summit of Ralston Peak, you will be granted 360-degree, panoramic views of the dramatic landscape. Admire the beauty of the mountainous wilderness and shimmering alpine lakes, then retrace your footing down the path to route 17E40. Take the rightmost section of this route to reconnect with the PCT. All you have to do is retrace your footing along the PCT, heading southeast, all the way back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Hike Trailhead

    The Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Hike departs from the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trailhead (PCT) at Echo Lake off Echo Lakes Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Backcountry Camping, wilderness permit required.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


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    Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Hike Elevation Graph

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    Aloha Lake and Ralston Peak Hike Reviews

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