Hiking Lower Echo Lake
Even with ski resorts closing their doors for the season and uncharacteristically warm weather in the Bay Area, winter is still very much alive and kicking in the Sierra. After a short day of wrestling pebbles and battling high winds on Hogsback, Josh and I called it quits and decided to go catch a sunset somewhere. We always talk about sunset, but by the time the sun starts to go down, we’re maybe still stuck on a route, or bouldering stoke is high, or we’re in the midst of preparing dinner. We headed east on highway 50 with Lower Echo Lake in mind, something nice and easy that we could drive up to and relax at.
Boy, were we wrong. The road to Lower Echo Lake was closed at Echo Summit. Snow was everywhere! We parked in the Sno-Park lot and walked across the street. We figured it would be a pretty short walk in the woods based on the lake position on Google maps and set off. There were tons and tons of footprints, snowshoe and ski tracks from past visitors which made the road quite easy to follow. It’d snowed a bit the night before, but warm temperatures during the day meant the snow was pretty slushy. The trail followed the road, occasionally showing bare patches of asphalt, meandering past the skeletal structures of the Berkeley Echo Lake Camp.
Footsteps dot the hillside above Lower Echo Lake, so it’s a choose your own adventure for when you decide to drop down to the basin. Most of the tracks are fairly well trodden so there was minimal to no post-holing on the way down and the way up. The dam walkway is currently dry and perfect for leisurely enjoying the sunset.