Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Maggie's Peak, South Lake Tahoe

I know I know I know…I just did a Tahoe hike as my last post, buuuut this one was way more of a workout and had amazing views from up high.  I had planned on doing Tallac, but figured I shouldn't do a 10 mile intense hike before a 10 hour drive home, so I settled for a smaller one.  This trail was actually not what I was expecting.  To tell you the truth, I didn't know what to expect.  I happened to drive by a sign that said Bayview trail.  I drove past it, but then figured why not try it.  Well it actually turns into a campground (it is near Emerald Bay lookout so you will see tons of cars parked along the highway).  Drive through the campground all the way to the back.  Magically create a parking spot (as it seemed most people did) at the trailhead.  The trailhead will actually split two ways.  To the left is Cascade Falls.  Small mile and half hike to a gorgeous view and waterfall.  Great for kids.  Since I'd already done that last year, I decided to go on the other trail which was titled Desolation.  Knew nothing about it, but hey…that's part of the fun :)  It immediately starts as quite the tooshy toner.  After hiking for a short distance (although it felt like I had hiked Whitney because of the incline exhausting me and not as much shade as I would have liked) I asked some people where it went.  A lady told me Granite Lake was one mile from the start.  Shortly after that I reached it.  Small lake, quite beautiful.  Some people were swimming in it and picnicking.  However, the trail keeps going, soooo of course that meant I kept going :) I asked a couple where it went to and they said to Maggie's Peak which had a great lookout of several lakes and then loops around to Eagle Falls and back to the highway (This I believe is a 6 mile loop then walk half a mile along the highway back to the parking lot at Bayview campground).  So off I went to find this Maggie's Peak.  A ways up I ran into a large group that was enjoying the lookout (which at that point I hadn't stopped to view).  I asked where Maggie's Peak was and they said they didn't know.  I kept on then ran into another couple a little further up.  Decided to ask them as they were headed towards me.  They had gotten lost looking for it as well.  At that point the large group had caught up to us.  We all were trying to figure out where the trail was to hike up to the peak.  Alas, there was no trail that we could find, however the terrain was bare enough for us to just make our own path up (If you just look up you will see where you need to go since the other trail stays straight then soon after starts heading downhill).  Now keep in mind, if you do this hike, when you get to the first big lookout above Granite (you will be able to look out to Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, and Granite, then on the left if you walk over a bit you will see the canyon and Eagle Lake) this is where the trail veers up to the top of Maggie's peak.  If you stay on the main trail it will take you on the loop and you will pass Maggie's.  There are actually several small trails right at this spot, but if you go past it (like us 3 groups did) you won't see any trails going up.  Back to my story though, one of the guys in the big group had Everytrail App and was able to see that if we just went up that we would get there.  So we did.  It was at this point that I realized how grateful I was to have found them since hiking alone, especially on a trail I knew nothing about, would have led me right past this amazing view.  Going up was short, but difficult.  In less than 10 minutes I was at the top.  It had an insane lookout.  You could even see Tallac, which was the next peak over.  The group that I ended up hanging out with on the top, had done it the week before.  I saw the pictures and it was amazing.  Next year for sure :)
At the top you will climb on some giant boulders to see the view.  I counted 4 lakes in my site.  It was a clear day, so the water was bright blue.  Kinda turns your tummy a little when you look down from standing on the giant boulders, but definitely worth the lookout…just don't fall :-O  We all had some good laughs at the top and took some pictures (it was nice to get a legit pic of me and not just a selfie :) ).  Then I left them since I had to get to my journey back home (it was already 3pm and I had a looooong drive).  Going down was much easier.  There were almost too many trails down to choose.  It is very steep so if you have bad knees, I recommend walking poles on this hike.  It's always nice to get pictures on the way down since you have a better view.  There were a few spots I noticed on my way down that were great for picture taking, that I hadn't noticed on my up.  If you like climbing holders, this is a playground for you.
The trail had a decent amount of people on it, but most just went to Granite Lake.  There is camping past Maggie's, incase you want to make it a backpack trip.  Finally got back to the car.  There were no bathrooms there for me to rinse off in, so thank goodness for baby wipes :)  However, there are porta potties there incase you need them.  Cascade Falls is great if you have the energy to check it out.  That trail is a tourist trap though, but the path is pretty wide to accommodate everyone.
I was so grateful to have stumbled upon this hike.  I highly recommend it.  It was very short, but gave me a good little workout.  Bring water though as you will probably be taking a few stops to hydrate.  Bring a swimsuit if you want cuz that lake will be very inviting :)
(I only have a few pics right now, but I'll try to post more soon)

My stats:
3.5 miles total
1,750 ft elevation gain (that's in just 1.75 miles)
1 hour 7 minutes
moderate to difficult (short enough to make it moderate, but steep enough incline to make it advanced)
543 calories

Internet Stats:
3 miles total
1,900 ft. elevation gain
1-3 hours
moderate to advance level

View of Tallac from Maggie's. It kept hollering for me,
but I had to deny it my presence this time ;) 

Don't fall off the boulder.  Those of you with vertigo, I don't
recommend this ;) 

View of Granite Lake

View of Maggie's Peak from Granite.
View of Eagle Lake from the turnoff from main trail to Maggie's. 

I could only fit 3 of the 4 lakes in the one shot.  This is the main
lake, then directly below it is Cascade, then to the right I am not
actually sure and I can't find out what that lake is called. Anyone know???

Here's the shot of Lake Tahoe (and Emerald Bay), Granite (the smallest one)
and Cascade.  In person this view was breathtaking.  To the right was that other lake.