They say good things come in threes, and it’s true when you embark on this 8-mile (round-trip) hike in Tahoe’s Desolation Wilderness. It gives you three excellent lake vistas: Eagle Lake, Middle Velma Lake, and Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe.
From the trailhead, follow signs to Eagle Lake. It’s about a mile in, and popular for its grand granite amphitheater setting. Continue on and up Eagle Falls Trail, ascending a chaparral- and pine-covered ridge.The trail levels out around the 2.3-mile mark and you’ll continue onto the Bayview Trail. Mountains now surround you.
At the next junction, follow Velma Lakes Trail and descend to the water. There’s a good chance you’ll have to cross a stream still running from this past winter’s snowmelt … try not to get your feet wet on these multiple crossings! The remaining 0.2 mile goes quickly.
Take an offshoot down to the shoreline to see Middle Velma’s crystal-clear waters. On your return trip, there’s a large granite outcropping you can step onto for a grand view of Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay. Lake vista trifecta complete!
BONUS: All three Velma Lakes are great locations for backcountry camping. Permits required.