Lying in a rugged glacial basin a short hike beyond the Eagle Falls Trailhead, Eagle Lake is a family-friendly destination for soaking the scenic alpine setting that rises above Emerald Bay. Just a mile in from the trailhead, the Eagle Lake Trail rises gradually as it follows the Eagle Creek drainage. The mile-long hike is a good option for families with kids or for those looking for a summer swim in the mountains.
Entering Desolation Wilderness, the trail passes by waterfalls and underneath towering granite peaks before emerging on the picturesque lake. There is a fork in the trail approximately two-thirds of a mile from the trailhead, with a steep trail climbing to the left toward Desolation’s high country and Velma, Dicks, and Fontanillis lakes. Take the trail to the right to continue toward the lake.
While considered a relatively popular hike, most of the crowd filters out beyond Upper Eagle Falls. With plenty of lakeshore to explore, visitors shouldn’t have a problem finding their own slice of solitude here. Please make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles and help out by picking up any trash left around by careless hikers.
Climbing is popular both below and above Eagle Lake, and various granite crags offer a mix of traditional climbing, top-roping, and bouldering.
Free day use permits are required in Desolation Wilderness and are available at the Eagle Falls/Eagle Lake Trailhead. Parking is available at the trailhead for a small fee with free parking located adjacent to the trailhead area along Highway 89. Dogs are permitted in Desolation Wilderness.