Avalanche and Pitt Lakes ~ Desolation Wilderness
Of the thousands of visitors to Pyramid Creek Recreational Area each season, The majority of visitors miss out on the stunning beauty of Avalanche and Pitt Lakes which lie at the top Horsetail falls, some 1900 feet above where they parked their cars. Avalanche and Pitt Lakes are great backpack locations and are often visited by day trip fisherman in the summer, but most visitors only wonder what sits up top of Horsetail Falls, One of the tallest Waterfalls in California.
Shortly after ascending the crumbled rock bluff adjacent to the falls visitors who brave the trek are greeted by Avalanche Lake and a short narrow waterway which is the source of the great cascading waterfall that made them stop for the day in the first place. Avalanche lake quickly calms your spirit and as visitors wander about its shores and multiple water ways with in the granite and forested floor, they are quickly swept away in the sense of wilderness they desire.
Avalanche and Pitt Lakes are part of the Desolation Wilderness. Accessible via the Horsetail falls route , the Ralston Peak trail or the Woods Lake to Ropi Lake Trail which crosses over the Ralston Peak to Lake Aloha trail. Both Lakes are small in size but are filled with crystal clear waters flowing down from the peaks above and from Ropi Lake which is located at the South Eastern Edge of Pyramid Peak.
Deep cool pools for fishing can be found at both Lakes and if you are not paying attention you honestly have a hard tome knowing you switched lakes while wandering around, because there is water everywhere. There are several backpacking campspots located around the lakes. And though the climb up Horsetail falls is advanced the distance makes this a great beginners backpacking trip.
Being part of the Desolation wilderness, access to these lakes does require either a Day use Permit or an overnight backpacking permit from the Forest service, and Wilderness camping rules do apply. No campfires allowed in Desolation wilderness (Yes even if you see someone else already had before you) and all campsites should be placed a minimum of 100 Feet from the water.
On you next visit down HWY 50, give yourself a few extra hours and take the challenge to climb Horsetail Falls and discover teh beauty and serenity of Wilderness at Avalanche and Pitt Lakes.