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Ralston Peak

Ralston Peak

- Day hike to Ralston and Echo peaks in Desolation Wilderness.

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I wanted to try a day trip, including the 3.5hr one way drive from the SF Bay Area. I wanted to see if I could get to a new and enjoyable destination in the Sierra. Ralston Peak seemed to not only include an incredible summit, but also a great lollipop route both on trail and cross country with many, many lakes in an area of Desolation Wilderness that I hadn't fully explored yet.


If you want to check out the route video you can find that here.

Chunky brown bear heading away from the trailhead

Ralston Peak
Wilderness sign selfie

Stunning juniper

Tamarack Lake

Ralston Peak mirrored in Ralston Lake

View of Tahoe and Desolation from Ralston Peak summit

Ralston Peak
Summit selfie at Ralston Peak 9,239ft

The Crystal Range, Lake Aloha and further from Ralston Peak

Angora Lakes, Fallen Leaf Lake and Tahoe from Echo Peak 8,899ft


    • Incredible wildlife. Seeing that bear, spotting a fox, a yellow-legged frog and of course lots of birds including the Clark's Nutcracker was just such a treat.
    • Other than some groups near the trailhead on the return, I ran into very few people. One was a backpacker who was completing their circumnavigation of the Tahoe Rim Trail in South Lake Tahoe.
    • The Ralston Peak ascent from Ralston Lake and the summit views were spectacular.
    • I do NOT recommend the scramble down from Echo Peak to the TRT/PCT. And I need to do a better job stopping for water refills before I run out.


    • Location: Ralston Peak and Echo Peak, Desolation Wilderness via the Echo Lake trailhead.
    • Date: October 2022.
    • Stats: 11.5 miles with 4,000+ ft elevation gain
    Ralston Peak
    Route map
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    What an adventure.
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