Meeks Bay is the first trailhead for backpacking the Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trail, and an excellent entry point for short backpacking trips and loops into the North Desolation Wilderness.
For trips shorter than hiking the whole TYT down to Yosemite we can backpack across the 28.71 mile length of the Desolation Wilderness down to the Southernmost Desolation Trailhead at Lower Echo Lake. This section can be part of our hike to a destination further South, a trip in itself, or an element in a nice 2 to 5 day backpacking loop around the Desolation Wilderness.
What do you need? Desolation Wilderness has it, or can lead you there.
In pursuit of trip flexibility this trail guide also measures the distances from access trails and trailheads to the main Pacific Crest and Tahoe to Yosemite Routes from Eagle Falls and Bayview Camp along the Western Shore of Lake Tahoe. Locate the red dot marking the junction on the topo map you are interested in, and click it to review the trail guide information for that location.
Trailheads paralleling the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trail routes all the way from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney allow us to craft nice trailhead-to-trailhead and loop trips along the High Sierra trails between Tahoe to Whitney. Using a section of the PCT-TYT-JMT to connect two trailheads or as part of a hiking loop is real rewarding, especially around the Northern Desolation Wilderness, which is crisscrossed by a web of trails.
Meeks Bay is good for a lot more than just beginning your long trip down to Yosemite and on to the Whitney Portal.
Backpacking Desolation Wilderness
Meeks Bay can be the beginning of the perfect short trip for you, be it a short in-and-out trip up to Rubicon Lake and back, a longer hiking loop around the Velmas and West out to Bayview Camp, or a big hiking trip down the length of Desolation Wilderness to Lower Echo Lake.
Desolation Wilderness is an excellent location to develop backpacking experience. It is nearby. It is beautiful. It has lots of people, which provides a feeling of security for many new backpackers.
Though this guide describes the Pacific Crest and Tahoe to Yosemite Trail routes spanning Desolation Wilderness from Meeks Bay to the Whitney Portal, you can break off as big or little piece of trail as suits you.
Trail Guide Pages Describing this Topo Map
The topo map above depicts the Tahoe to Yosemite trail from Meeks Bay Trailhead to Dicks Pass.
Those squares breaking the USGS maps up into grids are the Universal Transverse Mercator / Military Grid Reference System, otherwise commonly known as UTM.
What's important for our general reference purpose is that each side of a square is 1000 meters, or a Kilometer.
From my point of view that is 1093 yards or .62 of a mile.
Diagonal: 1414.22 meters, if my trig is correct.
That converts into 4,639.8 feet or .88 of a mile.