The Enchanting Echo Lakes
Fishing is more rewarding on Lower Echo Lake than Upper Echo Lake. The upper lake is a nicer place to paddle due to the 5 m.p.h. boat speed limit, but there isn’t as much fishing action. Fishing from your kayak at Echo Lakes is excellent, and it is also quite good from along the shore or off the dam.
The Department of Fish and Game stocks rainbow trout in Lower Echo Lake, and plants rainbow fingerlings in Upper Echo Lake during the summer. This is also a premier spot for ice fishing, but it’s difficult to get to because the lake access road is closed in the wintertime.
The best time to visit Echo Lakes is in the summer. During the fall, winter and early spring, the area is typically covered by snow. The summer daytime high air temperature lingers around 75 degrees and drops into the low 40s at night. This area can have unpredictable weather changes in the summertime. Be prepared for sudden thundershowers and even snow flurries.
In addition to kayaking and fishing, the Pacific Crest Hiking Trail is located near Lower Echo Lake and is a popular trailhead into the Desolation Wilderness. You can leave from a trailhead at the far end of upper Echo Lake to get to other lakes within the wilderness. If you wonder why John Muir described the Sierra mountain range as God's Cathedral, take a hike along Echo Lake and you will see why. The astonishing vistas and superb recreational opportunities make this one of the premier destinations in California. Unfortunately, camping is not allowed around the lake and there is not a designated campground at the lake, but there are many campgrounds within close proximity.
So put down what you are doing, grab your kayak and head out to explore Echo Lakes this weekend. You'll find yourself in good company with the power boats that dot the lake's surface on a warm summer day. Watch for deer, squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, raccoons, beavers and birds native to the area.
After paddling here, you'll be sure to give high praise to this paddling paradise. As summer fades to winter, the incredible recreational options don't diminish, only change. Instead of sunning yourself on a beach or refreshing yourself in cool, blue waters, you can take in the magnificent scenery from a different vantage point as you enjoy the thrill of skiing down a mountain slope.
Echo Lakes is a kayak wonderland, complete with outstanding scenery, wildlife sightings, and superb panoramas. Echo Lake is so far from everything that you know, yet so close to everything that you want in a paddling destination.