Tree, Poison Flat, Carson Iceberg Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Your Backpacking Guide to the High Sierras Yellow Flower
Bayview Trail Junction between Middle Velma and Fontanillis Lakes.
Second Camper Flat-Bayview Trail Junction situated between Middle Velma and Fontanillis Lakes. "F" is for Fontanillis Lake.

 

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Backpacking
through the
Second Trail Junction South of Middle Velma Lake

Hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trails past the 3 Camper Flat-Bayview Trail Junctions

 

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Trail Guide

Section
INDEX

North
TYT-PCT

South of Middle Velma Lake

South
TYT-PCT

Fontanillis Lake

Topo map

Maps
INDEX

Miles
&
Elevations
Miles
&
Elevations
INDEX
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit All
forest-wilderness Permits
Local Weather

All Sierra Weather

local
temps

all pages

Lay of the Land
This Junction
A quarter mile South of the first Camper Flat-Bayview trail Junction we come to the second Camper Flat/Bayview trail junction pictured above.

The Camper Flat-Bayview trail continues East, straight through this junction to end on Highway 89 along the West shore of Lake Tahoe. A subsequent junction just East of this second Camper Flat-Bayview junction splits the trail into two, one to Eagle Falls and the other to Bayview Camp.

Hikers continuing South on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail turn Right, South through this second Camper Flat-Bayview trail junction.

LTBMU
Forest Service Information
TRAILHEADS
Eagle Falls
Trailhead
Bayview Camp
Trailhead
Links open in new tabs

Next Junction South
2.49 miles further South of this second junction along our Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route we find our next and last chance to hike East on this same Bayview-Eagle Falls trail route, but from its Southernmost access trail.
The third and last junction to Lake Tahoe South of here is East of the gap separating the South Shore of Fontanillis Lake from the North Shore of Dicks Lake. There our trail turns East to climb from between the lakes to find the last Southbound junction sitting on the Western edge of a gap almost overlooking Lake Tahoe.

First Junction
The first junction is behind us to the North on the TYT a bit South of Middle Velma Lake, laying .27 of a mile to our North (West by the compass) from this middle junction. The Northernmost Camper Flat-Bayview junction also offers us access West into Rockbound Valley.

This second junction, and the third Camper Flat-Bayview trail junction further South both give us access East to Highway 89 on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe through the Eagle Falls or Bayview Camp Trailheads, depending on our route preferences. Check out the map:

Meeks Bay to Dicks Pass
15 minute backpacking map

Local Access
We TYT-PCT hikers continue hiking South through all three of these trail junctions. But, they are excellent access points for local backpackers into the North Desolation Wilderness, and could be our key to excellent local hiking loops and trailhead to trailhead backpacking trips around the North Desolation Wilderness.

I'd prefer entering through Meeks Bay, and exiting through Bayview, as the climb in through Meeks Bay Trailhead is much gentler, if higher and longer. The climbs West out of these lakeshore trailheads around Emerald Bay are fierce, especially the climb out of Eagle Falls.

Here's a warning from an informed local.

Long and Short Balance
We can explore more terrain on one short leaisurly local trip than during three long trips moving quickly through the same area. These shorter trips are when we can give ourselves more opportunity to kick back in camp, explore, and scramble.

Scrambling an area following-up on interesting things we've seen while hiking through on long distance backpacking trips makes local trips complimentary to the long, filling in gaps in experience that long trips cannot fill.
Proberly balanced short and long backpacking trips can be very complimentary, each making the other better. Short trips can also keep us active and fresh when we cannot find the time and money for extended backpacking trips. Short backpacking trips always help to bring and keep us into top shape for the longer hikes.

Legs Fresh, Lungs Clear, Lens Clean.

Our short hikes get and keep us in the mountains, keep us in "mountain" conditioning, and allow us to explore terrain closely. Our longer hikes give us our grand context, and inform our future short trips and scrambles.

There are no conditioning regimes that can run us to the level of fitness backpacking trails walk us up to. We've just got to keep a foot on the trail. These trails accessing North Desolation Wilderness are short, but they are steep and bring us deep.

Punch Count
For Southbound backpackers wanting to remain on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route from Middle Velma Lake the moves we make through these three trail junctions South of Middle Velma Lake are "Left, Right, Right."

Northbound backpackers on the Pacific Crest or clockwise Tahoe Rim Trail coming down from Dicks Pass will turn "Left, Left, Right" through these same three trail junctions.

As easy as 1-2-3.

Map and Miles
Phipps Pass to Heather Lake
15 minute topographic backpacking MAP
30 Min North
Desolation Wilderness MAP

Meeks Bay to Echo Summit
Backpacking Miles and Elevations

We Southbound Backpackers take a Right to continue South on the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trails from this second, the middle Bayview-Camper Flat trail junction, in pursuit of our goal to continue South on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail over Dicks Pass.

Backpacker's Forums and Comments
Middle Velma Lake
3 Junctions
Forum
Middle Velma Lake
3 Junctions
Comments

Northwest Desolation Wilderness
Trail Schematic

Eagle Falls or Bayview Trailhead to Middle Velma and Fontanillis Lakes.

Eagle Falls or Bayview Trailhead access to Middle Velma, Fontanillis, and Dicks Lakes along the combined route of the TYT-PCT-TRT. We see access 1.45 miles West to Camper Flat in Rockbound Valley.

The map below-Left focuses on the route of the TYT-PCT along the three Bayview-Camper Flat trail junctions. The map below-Right expands on the detailed view to show the alternative route to the TYT-PCT we can hike through Rockbound Valley, and the remainder of our Southbound route through Central and South Desolation Wilderness.

Phipps Pass to Heather Lake
15 minute topographic backpacking MAP
TYT-PCT Junction to Echo Summit Trailhead
15 minute topographic backpacking MAP

The Desolation Wilderness map gives us our biggest picture of the Central Desolation Wilderness terrain. Camper Flat shows us that we need to build more awareness about the Western Flank of Desolation Wilderness and its trailheads.

Desolation Wilderness
West Flank Trailheads
The Desolation Wilderness Schematic Map in conjunction with the Full Desolation Wilderness Maps above show us that the trail West to Camper Flat in Rockbound Valley opens up the full range of Western Flank trails, backpacking trips, and trailheads. Local backpackers hiking out of Tahoe Trailheads can use West Flank Trailheads as alternative destinations, or even start points for local Desolation Wilderness trips.

Trips that climb into Desolation out of the tops of West Flank Forests have a different character than trips climbing from the deep blue Shores of Lake Tahoe.

The Left of the two Federal links below from El Dorado National Forest list the West Flank Trailheads they administer, and the Right link maps their position in Desolation Wilderness hiking zones. Using these Federal resources in conjunction with the full Desolation Wilderness Map opens up the full potential of West Side Trailheads into Desolation Wilderness.

El Dorado National Forest
Desolation Wilderness West Flank Trailheads
El Dorado National Forest
West Flank Desolation Wilderness Zone Map PDF
Links above open in new tabs

Full Desolation Wilderness Backpacking Map

Though all permits for Desolation Wilderness are issued centrally through recreation.gov, both of the National Forests administering trailheads accessing Desolation Wilderness publish extensive rules and regulations covering Desolation Wilderness.

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
All Desolation Wilderness Permit Information
El Dorado National Forest All Desolation Wilderness Permit Information

Middle Velma Lake
Forum
Middle Velma Lake
Comments

Fed links can be unreliable. Let me know when these links fail and I will track them down and hook them up again.

Alex

Hiking Southbound
into the
Second
Bayview-Camper Flat Trail Junction

Southbound Hiker
Straight to Maggies Peak hiking East to Lake Tahoe
or
Right to Continue
TYT-PCT-TRT
South
to
Fontanillis Lake
A Well- Marked Trail Junction
2nd junction south of Middle Velma Lake 2nd junction south of Middle Velma Lake
Hiking South on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail we turn Right, South, towards Dicks Pass via Fontanillis Lake. If we hike straight through this junction, we are hiking East on the Bayview-Camper Flat Trail.
This is also known as the Velma Lakes Trail.

The Lay of the Land

Velma Lakes Trail
This bit of the "Velma Lakes Trail" we encounter between these first two Bayview-Camper Flat trail junctions is a small piece of the trail tracking East and West starting out of two Highway 89 trailheads in close proximity to each other on the West shore of Lake Tahoe, and ends teeing-out into the Rubicon Trail at Camper Flat in Rockbound Valley.
This trail from Lake Tahoe to Camper Flat opens up grand backpacking loops around the Northern Desolation Wilderness for local backpackers and an alternative route South than the TYT-PCT route for long-distance backpackers.

Our TYT-PCT-TRT route shares the trail with this popular local route from Tahoe to Camper Flat through this segment of trail.

Alternative Route
Hiking West to Camper Flat then South along the Rubicon Trail in Rockbound Valley to Lake Aloha via Mosquito Pass roughly parallels our Southbound route along the PCT-TYT over Dicks Pass South down to Lake Aloha.

The 30 minute North Desolation maps below shows this potential alternative route through Rockbound Valley in relation to the main TYT-PCT route.

Combining the Rubicon Trail South from Camper Flat to Mosquito Pass over to Lake Aloha with the Northbound TYT from Lake Aloha back up to Middle Velma Lake opens up the North-Central Desolation Wilderness to some impressive local long-distance backpacking loops.

Central-South Desolation Wilderness
30 minute backpacking map
  Desolation Wilderness
30 minute backpacking map

Let's imagine coming in from Meeks Bay and turning West from the Northernmost Bayview-Camper Flat trail junction at Middle Velma Lake and hiking to Camper Flat in Rockbound Valley.

From Rockbound Valley we hike South to the end of the valley over Mosquito Pass to the North Shore of Lake Aloha. From Lake Aloha we follow the Tahoe Yosemite Trail North back to this series of Bayview/Eagle Falls trail junctions. Or further North.

We can hike East to Bayview Camp or Eagle Falls to end our loop, or we can hike North past Middle Velma Lake and stay on the TYT over Phipps Pass to Meek Bay.

East from the Bayview Trail Junctions
An Escape Route
Hiking East from this middle Bayview trail junction brings us through two more trail junctions East of the TYT on our way to the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The first trail junction Tees off to our Right, our South, up to dead-end at Upper Velma Lake. That is actually the old route of the PCT. We can see it traced out on the 30 minute maps above, though the trail is shown ending at Upper Velma Lake on the more recent 7.5 minute map below.

Phipps Pass to Heather Lake
15 minute topographic backpacking MAP

TWO ROUTES EAST
Continuing East past the Upper Velma Lake trail juction towards Highway 89 we next come to a Y in the Bayview-Camper Flat Trail splitting our trail East between two routes. The Southern route, the Right arm of the Y continues to Bayview Camp Trailhead climbing over the low point between Maggies Peaks' twin summits.
The trail to the Left takes a steep descending bee-line route down-mountain almost directly North to the Eagle Falls Trailhead. Its route passes through the gap between the base of Peak 9195 next to Phipps Peak and the steeply descending North flank of Maggies Peaks. We addressed the steepness of this route above.

Virtually all the water draining out of the basin feeding the Velma Lakes flows through this gorge and the gap at its base down into Emerald Bay.

The trail to Bayview Camp entails a moderate climb over Maggies Peaks, followed by a moderate descent between our current position at the Second Bayview Trail Junction and its trailhead on Highway 89, while our other trail option to Eagle Falls descends steeply.

In any case, both of these trails are a hard climb into Desolation Wilderness, with the route over Maggies Peaks from Bayview Camp being the easier way both in and out.

Middle Velma Lake
Forum
Middle Velma Lake
Comments

I'm just letting you long distance backpackers know where these trails go.
If we get injured hiking up and down the High Sierra trails we always want to know the easiest way out of the mountains.

Plus, these Eagle Falls and Bayview Trailheads are great entrances into the North Desolation Wilderness for short and medium distance backpacking loops around Desolation Wilderness, as well as a good emergency exit for fading/broken backpackers.

Remember: Shit Happens. Be Ready.

I have a saying. Well, I've lots of sayings. The one fitting this situation goes something like this;
"If you spend enough time on the trail everything possible will happen to you out there."

I always keep an eye on the emergency exits.

Mountain Safety Forum

Phipps Pass to Heather Lake
15 minute topographic backpacking MAP
South Desolation Wilderness
30 minute backpacking MAP

Miles

Mileage East
3.81 miles hike East to Bayview Camp on Highway 89
3.85 miles East to Eagle Falls at Highway 89.

Meeks Bay to Echo Summit
Backpacking Miles and Elevations

Both of these trail routes East bend to the Northeast to navigate over or around Maggies Peak. The route to Eagle Falls turns North tracing out its route down along the curving Northwestern flank of Maggies Peaks. It finally drops down through the gap between the North Flank of Maggies Peaks and the South Flank of Peak 9195, where Eagle Creek drains the whole of this Velma Lake basin into Lake Tahoe through Eagle Falls.

Remember when we were looking at this gorge and its gap Eagle Creek flows through down to Lake Tahoe through from the North side of Phipps Pass? We we observing the route of Eagle Creek through the terrain from up there, before we dropped down to Middle Velma Lake and this series of 3 trail junctions pointing East.

The trail to the Bayview Camp Trailhead splits off East from the Eagle Falls Trail to cross over to Bayview Camp by climbing over the Maggies Peaks massif between the two main peaks. Though the Bayview Camp Trailhead is close to Eagle Falls, it is perched high up on the base of the Cascade Lake side of the ridge arm dividing it from Emerald Bay.

Mileage South
TYT
1.17 miles South along the PCT-TYT route from this second Bayview-Camper Flat Trail Junction up to dip our toes into the North shore of Fontanillis Lake along the Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Middle Velma Lake
Forum
Middle Velma Lake
Comments

 

Second
Bayview Trail-Camper Flat junction
South
of
Middle Velma Lake

Desolation Wilderness

Meeks Bay
to the
Second
Trail Junction
South
of
Middle Velma Lake

(The first junction is the Camper Flat/Bayview trail junction just to our North)

COMMENTS-QUESTIONS-MORE INFORMATION

Elevation
7960 feet
+40' elevation increase from Middle Velma Lake.

Mileage North
TYT

.37 miles South of Middle Velma Lake.
12.69 miles South of Meeks Bay trail head.

Mileage East
3.81 miles hike East to Bayview Camp on Highway 89.
3.85 miles to Eagle Falls at Highway 89.

Mileage West
1.70 miles West to the Camper Flat junction in Rockbound Valley.

Mileage South
TYT
1.17 miles South to the North Shore of Fontanillis Lake, +400 feet.
4.14 miles South to Dicks Pass, +1400 feet, junction to pass.
16.02 miles South to Echo Lake trail head.
18.02 South to Echo Summit.

miles & elevations

North TYT: South of Middle Velma                                                                 South TYT: Fontanillis Lake

Backpacking South
of
Middle Velma Lake

.27 of a mile South of the first Camper Flat/Bayview trail Junction is our next junction, the second of the three Bayview Trail junctions we encounter hiking South from Middle Velma Lake along the TYT-PCT route.
Southbound backpackers on the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trail routes will veer right towards Fontanillis Lake and Dicks Pass at this second Bayview Trail junction.

Upper Velma Lake
There is also another trail junction a short bit East down the Bayview-Camper Flat Trail if we hike a short distance East up the trail towards Eagle Falls/Bayview Camp. This is a trail that hikes South and dead-ends at Upper Velma Lake. Check out the 15 minute hiking map:

Phipps Pass to Heather Lake
15 minute topographic backpacking MAP

South on the TYT
The next Bayview Trail Junction along our Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route, the third Bayview junction, is 2.49 miles South of this trail junction just beyond the Southern Shore of Fontanillis Lake. At the third Bayview trail junction we turn South, just as we did at this second Bayview junction, to the Southbound Backpacker's Right, to begin the final segment of our climb up to Dicks Pass.

To the East
From our position at this second Bayview Trail junction we have a 3.81 mile hike East to bail out to Bayview Camp or 3.85 to Eagle Falls Trailhead on Highway 89, if we are so inclined. I am inclined to take a Right and walk all the way through the length of the Desolation Wilderness South to Tuolumne Meadows, and then on down to Mount Whitney, if I can hike my preferred route.

If injured, exhausted, or out of food it is very good to know that the trail down to Eagle Falls is virtually all down-mountain, and makes a good in or out for rescue, or if you are not quite up to the rigors of long distance High Sierra Backpacking.
If you are located somewhere between "not injured and not quite fit," then these trailheads would be great exit points for a 3 to 5 day trip through the North Desolation Wilderness out of Meeks Bay Trailhead.

To get your beak wet, so to speak.

I've never come in to the main trail from either Eagle Falls or Bayview Camp. I drop down from Meeks Bay. I've studied the terrain and the maps, but I've always found myself looking at Desolation as the place the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail begins out of Meeks Bay Trailhead.

Honestly, I started avoiding Desolation Wilderness years ago. I just could not accept so many people. I've gotten over that now. Now I expect the amount of people relative to the density, difficulty, and distance of any particular wilderness area to a major population center(s).

We created it, now we have to live in what we created.

If you've hiked either of these route into the Velma Lakes Basin I'm very interested in your impression of these trails, your pictures of the terrain, and your trail notes.

I've told you what I've experienced, now it's your turn...

Middle Velma Lake
Forum
Middle Velma Lake
Comments

Topo Hiking Map North
Meeks Bay to Dicks Pass
Topo Hiking Map South
Phipps Pass to Susie Lake

Mileages and Elevations

Next page South
Fontanillis Lake

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Backpacking North

Trail Guide

South
of
Middle Velma

Trail Guide Compass.

Backpacking South

Trail Guide

Fontanillis Lake

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Are you familiar with the Bayview/Eagle Falls Trails?
Add your experiences, comments, or pictures about this backpacking area between Middle Velma Lake and Dicks Pass.
Section
Meeks Bay to Echo Summit
Segment
Middle Velma Lake

North TYT: South of Middle Velma                                                                    South TYT: Fontanillis Lake

Trailhead

Contact
Alex Wierbinski

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