Map Notes: The above compilations of maps from 1976 and 1985 do not depict the actual location of the routes of the trails at the time of this publication in 2013. For instance, the route South of Echo Summit has been significantly changed, as well as the trail through Showers Lake. Over the years these trails have been extensively rerouted. Check the 7.5 maps for the USGS's, and my most up to date depiction of trail routing.
Miles and Elevations-"Route Evolution" Forum Route Comments Comments
These maps fulfill the purpose of putting the main trails into a broader regional context, and outlining the basic location of their routes.
Main Features: The map above depicts the Echo Summit and South Upper Truckee Trailhead options for beginning your Backpacking trip in the Lake Tahoe Basin into one of my favorite places, the Meiss Country Roadless Area.
Though the Meiss Country Roadless Area is small it is ideal for local High Sierra backpacking trips, as well as a great place to begin longer section hikes, and it is a pleasant section to hike through on your way down to Tuolumne Meadows along the Tahoe to Yosemite or Pacific Crest Trail routes, and even longer walks down the length of the High Sierra Crest down to Mount Whitney.
This place is quiet, leading into the deeper quiet deep in the Summit City Creek Canyon. Desolation Wilderness is not quiet. If you want a quiet start during the middle of Summer you have quiet in Meiss Country.
The 30 minute map above gives us a wider view of our basic trailhead and trail options for both the Echo Summit and South Upper Truckee routes to Round Top Lake along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route than tighter focus of the 7.5 minute map.
The Roadmap below shows you how to get to these trailhead access point into the Meiss Country Roadless Area. Also see the instructions on each trailhead's guide page.
The Carson Gap marks the extent of the Tahoe Basin Drainage, The Meiss Roadless Area, and the Lake Tahoe Basin Administrative Unit.
Just South past the Carson Gap the Southbound backpacker reaches the first junction where the Pacific Crest and Tahoe to Yosemite trails part. As you can see on the next map, the Tahoe to Yosemite route passes to the West of Round Top and the Sisters, while the Pacific Crest route passes to the East side of this mountaintop.
The Carson Gap overlooks Highway 88 and the Carson Pass, and marks your entry into the Carson Pass Managment Unit, a special zone of the El Dorado National Forest, and then you pass South into the Mokelumne Wilderness.
Which National Forest you are in when you pass through the Mokelumne Wilderness depends on your route. The Pacific Crest Trail will enter the Mokelumne Wilderness in the Toyibe National Forest, which Administers the Eastern sides of both the Mokelumne and Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.
The Tahoe to Yosemite backpacker will be passing through the Western side of the Mokelumne Wilderness, which is administered by the El Dorado National Forest except for your last few miles West from Camp Irene on the Mokelumne River, which is administered by the Stanislaus National Forest. From Lake Alpine to Sonora Pass the Tahoe to Yosemite backpacker is passing through the Western side of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, which is administered by the Stanislaus National Forest.
Those squares breaking the USGS maps up into grids are the Universal Transverse Mercator / Military Grid Reference System, otherwise commonly known as UTM.
What's important for our general reference purpose is that each side of a square is 1000 meters, or a Kilometer.
From my point of view that is 1093.6 yards or .62 of a mile.
Diagonal: 1414.22 meters, if my trig is correct.
That converts the diagonal distance into 4,639.8 feet or .88 of a mile.