It’s officially WINTER! Let 2018 be the year to strap on snowshoes and head into the great white wonderland. Why not forge onward and upward?

What: Maggie’s Peak South 8,703’

Where: Emerald Bay in South Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness, Destination Zone 17 Lower Velmas.

When: Great hiking for all seasons.

Why: The short steep approach provides some of the best views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The Deets: Park at Inspiration Point on Highway 89 above Emerald Bay. Cross the street and continue South to Bay View Trailhead 6,800’. Maggie’s South Peak has an elevation of 8,499’ providing a total gain of 1,699’. The Bay View Trail enters Desolation Wilderness in the first quarter mile. There are free permits available at the trailhead that must be carried at all times.

Desolation Wilderness lives up to its name in the winter and encompasses 63,000+ acres of wilderness area. The only way in is by foot or ski off of Highway 50 and 89. Don’t fret, your exertion is well rewarded with undisturbed views of glacial carved valleys, alpine peaks, waterfalls, and lakes–0h my! While there are many snowy summits in Desolation, Maggie’s Peak is a moderate hike with some of the best views of Emerald Bay and the Lake Tahoe basin.

The first mile of Bay View trail is wide and well marked year-round to Granite Lake 7,650’. Beyond Granite Lake, the trail is highly traveled and usually receives a solid boot pack after a fresh snow, making Maggie’s Peak perfect for seasoned backcountry hikers and beginners alike (GXP export available on View Ranger.) During the winter season, be sure to check the Sierra Avalanche Center for up-to-date avalanche advisory and snow skills educational opportunities.

Permits are required for either day-use or overnight camping in the Desolation Wilderness. Day use is free, but there are fees for overnight camping year-round.

So get out there and enjoy an amazing hike, any day of the year.

Words and Photos: Joey Miller.

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