Eagle Falls gets optional trail
Cascading through the massive granite canyons of the Desolation Wilderness is beautiful Eagle Falls, an attraction that draws 50,000 visitors a year to admire its majestic beauty.
Due to the high volume of attention Eagle Falls demands, the U.S. Forest Service is in the process of creating a new trail that will provide a scenic loop around the area and give visitors an alternative route.
“It makes a lot of sense,” U.S. Forest Service Wilderness Manager Don Lane said. “It allows people who don’t want to hike into Desolation another option.”
The planned 1,500-foot loop, which is part of a system used 50 years ago, begins just beyond the parking lot and shoots off to the right of the existing path. The trail then makes a scenic upward curl and ties back into the existing path near the bridge.
The new route will feature informative signs, educating visitors on the area’s formation and wildlife. There also are plans to build a resting area near the crest of the loop that will serve as a vista point overlooking Lake Tahoe and the impressive Emerald Bay.
“This new route gives people a different interpretive opportunity to look back onto Lake Tahoe and the bay,” Lane said. “Tahoe is the crown jewel of the Sierra and Emerald Bay is the brightest of those jewels in the crown.”
The new loop will also provide easier access to “90-foot Wall,” which serves rock climbers throughout the summer months.
The project was spawned by Forest Service concerns over congestion in the area.
Lane said most people who come out to the area are just exploring for a few hours and the new trail will redirect a lot of that traffic out of the Desolation Wilderness, while at the same time providing them with a very scenic hike.
“A lot of people just want to touch the natural Lake Tahoe,” Lane said. “They pull up in their BMWs, leave their Gucci’s and Rolex’s in the car and get a chance to see the rugged granite backcountry. And as they come back down to their cars to head off to their lunch at the restaurant or condo, the look in their eye has changed. We want to help with that.”
As work crews cut and clear overgrown brush on the trail, Lane is optimistic that the project will be complete in a month’s time, allowing hikers yet another summertime option.
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