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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.