Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
joins the line of the
Miles South from Meeks Bay Trailhead
Miles South to Echo Lake Trailhead
Now It's a Triple-Trail
This State of Affairs continues from this trail junction for 28.3 miles to our South until we reach Meiss Cabin, where the counter-clockwise Tahoe Rim Trail backpacker breaks off from the TYT-PCT to turn Northeast up into the Carson Range from the Meiss Cabin trail junction leading to Round Lake.
From that point the counter-clockwise Tahoe Rim Trail backpacker will be moving North up along the Crest of the Carson Range wrapping around the East Shore of Lake Tahoe.
The Carson Range is the unique volcanic range we get glimpses of wrapping around the East Shore of Tahoe making up the subsidiary mountain range branching off the Sierra Crest like a volcanic wishbone breaking off to the Northeast from Carson Pass making up the Eastern Wing of the Lake Tahoe Basin.
High Sierra Geology & Tahoe Basin Geological Links
The TYT-PCT proceed South from Meiss Cabin out the South End of
The Lake Tahoe Basin.
The TYT & PCT split up exiting the Tahoe Basin, or shortly thereafter, at Carson Pass. The TYT and PCT will rejoin again in the top of Jack Main Canyon after hiking 134 miles to the South along the route of the TYT or 121 on the PCT down to where they both rejoin shortly after entering the North Yosemite Backcountry, but from their completely different directions.
North Desolation Wilderness
Hiking 2.62 miles South off of Phipps Pass and 11.5 miles from our Meeks Bay Trailhead the Tahoe to Yosemite/Desolation Trail intersects with the combined North-South routes of the Pacific Crest and Tahoe Rim Trails.
The Desolation Trail ends 16.3 miles South at Lower Echo Lake, the Southbound (counter-clockwise)Tahoe Rim Trail turns Northeast 27.4 miles South at Meiss Cabin, and the Pacific Crest and Tahoe to Yosemite Trails break into separate routes 28.92 miles to the South of our position while exiting the Lake Tahoe Basin through the Carson Gap.
At this TYT-PCT-TRT trail junction below Phipps Pass the Southbound hiker on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail takes a Left to continue South on the TYT.
Meeks Bay to Echo Summit
Backpacking Miles and Elevations
The Long Trails South
Turning South here we are not just hiking on a whole mess of (four) "named" trails South through Desolation Wilderness, but we have joined the main High Sierra trail that spans the length of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Crest from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney, the Pacific Crest Trail.
More important than the particular names of the trails is the fact that we have now arrived at the main North-South trail route running along whole length of the Sierra Crest between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney. The main route is the PCT, sharing parts of its route with the TYT up here in the Northern Sierra, and parts of its route down South with the John Muir Trail South of Tuolumne Meadows.
Along the way the TYT and JMT routes vary significantly from the PCT. We will also find other alternative routes along the way, such as the Tungsten Road, Fish Canyon, and The High Sierra Route offer real variety.
Pacific Crest Trail
The overall main route, measured by the overall number of annual long-distance hikers, is the Pacific Crest Trail, at least during late Spring and early Summer when the main body of PCT hikers come through. After the PCTers pass through the PCT mostly hosts section and local hikers.
The timing of the annual passage of Pacific Crest Trail hikers through every part of the High Sierra depends on the timing of each hiking season's particular transition from Spring to Summer conditions, specifically when the trails and especially the high mountain passes are free from snow.
Further South down the trail in Tuolumne Meadows we are going to run into heavy backpacker traffic where the John Muir Trail hikers join our Southbound hike along the Pacific Crest Trail at Tuolumne Meadows.
I call the Pacific Crest Trail "The Super-Highway of Trails" because of these annual periods of very high-volume long distance backpacker traffic, and also because the Pacific Crest Trail's trail bed is so deeply cut into the terrain.
If the PCT is the Superhighway of Trails, then the Desolation Wilderness is Los Angeles during the evening commute, constantly jammed full of backpacker traffic. This place is a zoo during mid-Summer. This high traffic means that all of the Desolation Wilderness trails shared with the route of the PCT are cut deeply into the terrain by the huge volume of hikers and backpackers here added to the massive annual pack the PCT now produces.
Entering the Heart of the Desolation Wilderness
Desolation Wilderness is still full of backpackers long after the annual flood of Pacific Crest Trail hikers have hiked far to the North.
By turning South into the heart of the Desolation Wilderness during Summertime we are putting ourselves into one of the densest backpacker zones in the country, so put on your smile, get your "howdy" warmed-up, and be ready to meet some of the best people in the USA, its backpackers, and it looks to me like we are all here, hiking in Desolation every Summer.