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Solitude on Tahoe Rim Trail Late July?


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Home Forums Campfire Trip Planning Solitude on Tahoe Rim Trail Late July?

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  • #3807929
    Wildfarmer
    BPL Member

    @wildfarmer

    Locale: CA

    I’m thinking of through-hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail loop starting sometime in the second half of July this year, no firm dates yet. It would seem this is a fairly popular trail, but what would be the best way to maximize solitude on the TRT at that time of year, especially at night? Is that even a realistic hope?

    #3807944
    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member

    @balzaccom

    Locale: Wine Country

    The simpleset answer is to get off trail. Lake Tahoe gets 15,000,000 visitors per year, and while not all of them go into the backcountry, most of the TRT is within a dayhike of a trailhead. In July both dayhikers and backpackers will be out in force. Not only that, you will also see some PCT hikers during July.  TRT is not one I would choose for solitude.

    #3807964
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    I’m afraid that Paul is right. Moreover: imo there are far more scenic areas of the Sierra that are easily accessible in July.

    I’ve spent a ton of time in the mountains around lake Tahoe. It’s close to my heart. But I’ve gone there primarily in winter–off trail  and Nordic skiing as well as hiking in early spring and late fall.  I’ve traversed a fair bit of the TRT that way–it’s beautiful. In winter and even early spring with snow  on the ground I’ve had popular trails to myself. That won’t happen in July.

    I’m also one who doesn’t prioritize solitude, even though I primarily hike alone. If the OP can get past needing solitude, than the TRT would be a fine endeavor. I personally would prefer any number of options further south.  I find the mountains there far more scenic, and solitude far easier to find.

    #3807965
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I’ve only day hiked from Tahoe

    You could walk along the trail, then, when you wanted to camp for the night, hike off trail a short distance to get solitude

    I’m into solitude but I don’t mind passing other hikers.  I’d rather camp away from others.

    #3807969
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    I remember the 4th of July at Regan Beach. Right after the show, they came out in riot gear to clear the park. The Sierras get trashed in many areas during the 4th. Takes a week to clean up. Hit the trails early. Barker Pass Road has a few trailheads. It can be busy.

    #3807993
    Wildfarmer
    BPL Member

    @wildfarmer

    Locale: CA

    Thanks all. My thinking was more along Jerry’s. Full solitude not the goal, but isolated when trying to sleep would be nice. I also posed my question to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association via email and got this response:

    Statistically, the trail is the busiest and most used within 2 miles of a trailhead, especially the more accessible ones with an attractant nearby, like Brockway Summit Trailhead. Usually, a 5-mile trek from a trailhead offers solitude. That said, certain parts of the trail are busier no matter the time of day or location. Weekends are always busier than weekdays. Lakes attract people. If solitude is your goal, you can camp away from lakes but within a short walk for water and recreational needs.

    I’ve found solitude in all parts of summer on all of the trail. Sometimes, it’s the luck of the draw.

    The end of July does tend to be the busiest time on the trail, whereas early fall offers more solitude with school back in session and shorter days.

    #3808049
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    I hiked the TRT in July in 2022. I hiked alone, completely alone, almost all of the time.  I started at Kingsbury South, and from there to Desolation I encountered a few groups and a smattering of individuals each day, and a few other folks camping nearby each night. There were more people in Desolation Wilderness of course and within a mile of trailheads, but it never felt crowded to me, although all campsites close to the trail get quickly taken; you can find more by hiking away from the trail. After Desolation and until the Granite Chief sign (where the PCT breaks off?) there were a few PCTers moving through but they hike super fast and were quickly gone. I hopscotched with a few people now and then, which was nice to have a quick chat, and I was able to help some women out with my blister kit. I find helping people on trail immensely satisfying; hikers are generally both grateful and kind so that was a nice part of the hike.

    There were a few folks at Watson Lake, and then I was mostly alone until Mt Rose. From about 1 mile beyond Brockway Summit through my camp at Gray’s lake and then to Relay peak, I saw 3 people. A total of 3, seriously. I went for almost a full 24 hours without seeing anyone at all, during my solo camp at Grays Lake and before/after. Mt Rose Campground was full, but I was able to get a space. After that, again, as soon as I was a mile out, I saw no one for a long time. I camped with a few folks at Marlette CG, and after that things got busy, with 120 horses and riders, and then umpteen mountain bikes going up Genoa Peak. After Genoa Peak, again, hardly any hikers until I finished up at Kingsbury South again. There were some day hikers in the Kingsbury North area.

    Is there solitude? Absolutely. If you end up running into a lot of people, you can walk off trail and take a break on a rock far from the crowd. But mostly, I found there weren’t crowds and my daily walking was quite peaceful. As for sleeping I was completely and totally solo 4/11 nights. If I had made the slightest effort to find a more remote site, it would have been relatively easy, except for Desolation.

    #3808052
    Charlie Brenneman
    BPL Member

    @cwbrennemangmail-com

    Locale: Primarily Desolation Wilderness and Sonora Pass to SEKI

    I’d take a longish trip into Desolation. Pass by Aloha and the crowds on day 1 and anything on the backside of Mosquito Pass is pretty quiet. From Clyde Lake to Zitella/Highland and back through the 4Qs is pretty awesome. Then you can work your way back to the Velmas and the PCT for another day or two with some crowds, but amazing scenery. The TRT overall is kind of a pain because it can be crowded in spots (especially mtn bikes) and one side of the loop is a really tough for water sources.

    #3808055
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    nd one side of the loop is a really tough for water sources.

    That would be the east side of lake Tahoe.

    #3808082
    Wildfarmer
    BPL Member

    @wildfarmer

    Locale: CA

    @AK Granola, I wonder how much of what you experienced was related to it still being during the pandemic?

    #3808086
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    Around Lake Tahoe, I like the Desolation area and just north of it most of all. There’s a ridiculously easy “pass” that crosses from Aloha Lake to the n/west and descends down that drainage. Lots of mosquitoes but this isn’t the route most take to get back towards Velma Lakes and out, if that’s what you want to do. Solitude, but mosquitoes because of the meadows. Staying on the more popular route past Aloha to  Dick’s pass will still be filled with mosquitoes, but it stays high and out of meadows. Mosquitoes in late July are another reason I’d prefer to go higher into the mountains to the south in July–but they’ll be bad there too. Take head nets!!! and wear nylon pants and a nylon sun shirt treated with permethrin.

    #3808160
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Wasn’t there more use of trails during the pandemic, or at least shortly thereafter? I don’t know if 2022 use was less than normal or not. I’m also maybe not the best gauge of “solitude.” I did a 6 mile walk from my door into the woods and back yesterday and saw two people total, which is typical. Actually it might be atypical; usually I’d see none. During 2020 I saw a lot more people on trails in my area than I see now. So.. the TRT – I have no idea what normal is! But in July 2022 it was lovely (except the 100+ horses and the mountain bike day).

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