The Enchanting Echo Lakes
Exploring the Desolation Wilderness Area starting from Echo Lakes is a fabulous way to discover this unspoiled territory. Echo Lakes is an incredible haven to escape from the typical day to day grind and savor a little peace and tranquility. The wilderness area covers about 60,000 acres, with over 50 lakes and streams to explore.
Echo Lakes is located twenty-one miles from Truckee, near Echo Summit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 7414’ elevation, in a spectacular alpine setting. It’s surrounded by amazing scenery and provides loads of recreational activities for a fun filled outing.
This picturesque lake offers a diversity of scenery, plentiful sheltered inlets, and numerous islands to explore at low water levels. The lake’s rugged and rocky shoreline provides only limited pullout access locations.
A wide range of outdoor recreational activities can be enjoyed at Echo Lakes, which in turn makes it a popular summer destination. Echo Lakes is truly a premier paddler’s wonderland for a summer day of enjoyment, and it's easy to see why. It’s a natural lake situated just south of Lake Tahoe among granite mountain peaks covered with fir and pine that reach to the water’s edge. It is one of the most picturesque natural lakes found in the high Sierra's.
Echo Lakes are two glacier carved lakes located in the El Dorado National Forest of California's Northern Sierra Mountains. The combined water surfaces of both lakes are 300 acres. The paddle distance of both the Lower and Upper Echo Lakes is about four-and-a-half miles roundtrip. The two lakes are joined by a small shallow waterway between lower and upper lakes which requires minor maneuvering skills. Underwater obstacles exist on Lower and Upper Echo Lake due to their mountainous nature.
Echo Lakes is a delightful place to kayak and canoe. All types of boating are allowed in the lower lake, but waterskiing is prohibited in the upper lake. Water and jet skiing, and wakeboarding are only allowed from 9 am until the time that direct sunlight leaves Flag Pole Peak, and must travel in a counter clockwise direction. Boating is allowed seven days a week from about May 31st to September 30th, depending on weather conditions. All watercraft are required to be inspected for quagga mussels. Boat access is only allowed during the marina's normal business hours.
Since waterskiing is not permitted in Upper Echo Lake, it provides a more peaceful setting. Once you enter into the upper lake, the scenery is much prettier and there are fewer houses to detract from the surrounding beauty.
The lower lake, where you put in, is the larger of the two lakes and where most of the homes along the shore are located. Paddle near the shoreline on Lower Echo Lake to avoid the fast-moving jet skis and powerboats. The lower lake has a full service marina, boat launching facilities, boat rentals, and groceries.
A few drawbacks at Echo Lakes are that it can get crowded on summer weekends, parking is limited, and you may have to hand carry your boat and gear a long distance. If you are paddling alone, you risk your gear being stolen when you drop off your boat at the boat launch and leave it unattended while you search for a parking spot. Other drawbacks are the mosquitos, the smelly restroom facilities and the bears.
Echo Lakes’ diverse recreational activities don't stop at paddling. There are plenty of recreational activities to keep your day pleasurable. Kayak anglers rave about Echo Lakes’ fishing opportunities. Anglers will find a variety of fish including kokanee salmon, rainbow, and brook trout. So grab your favorite fishing rod and reel, and head out to Echo Lakes.