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Hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Echo to Carson

Strenuous from either direction, this hike connects hwy 50 to hwy 88. Waterfalls, volcanic rock and wildflowers abound.
Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 13.5 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  You will be hiking the section of the Pacific Crest Trail between Echo Summit and Carson Pass. It works best with two groups of... more »

Tips:  Caveats:
Bring lots of mosquito repellant. The meadows are lousy with these pests.
First-aid kits and mole skin (for blisters) are a ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Take the 50 freeway to a small turn-out east of Echo Summit Rd.

There's free parking at this location. Make sure you have a three to four liters of water and plenty of mosquito repellant with you. Walk down past the metal gate and use the opportunity to visit the bathrooms before you set off on this 14 mile journy.

2. Work your way to the Pacific Crest Trail makers located south of parking lot

The trail marker pictured here lets you know that you're on the right trail.

3. Stop for a snack and maybe a swim at Showers Lake

There's a nice rock formation where Showers' waterfall drops into a stream. This is a great place to stop for a snack.

4. If you see this view of Showers Lake...

...you may have followed the USGS maps which are technically wrong. The trail appears to go around the southern part of Showers Lake on some maps. Make sure you stay on the better worn trail that is indicated by the everytrail GPS tracks included here.

5. Park in this free parking lot a few miles east of Caples Lake

Unlike Carson Pass, this location has free parking

6. Take a moment to soak up the view of Round Top

At 10,382 ft. the mountain pictured here is one of the tallest in the northern Sierra mountain range. There are many stops along this trail where you can sit and contemplate the majestic view.

7. Enjoy a view to Dardanelles Lake

Stop and enjoy a quick view of Dardanelles Lake to the northeast

8. Carefully cross any snow or ice that you encounter on the trail

Persistent snow can be found along this trail even in the summer. It's often weak and could give way. Go around it if possible.

9. Photo spot and water break opportunity for dogs

There are at least four waterfall crossings where dogs can hydrate.

10. Refresh mosquito repellant here

This meadow is teaming with life. Mosquitos here seem to be more aggressive than most. Natural, eucalyptus based repellant did nothing to keep the mosquitos at bay when I was here. Bring something with deet in it if you want to avoid getting feasted upon by these pests.

11. if you go too fast you'll miss the wildflowers

Some of the best wildflowers occur on this portion of the trip. Early in the summer, usually during years with heavy precipitation, the hillsides are alive with flowers of all sorts. You can pickup wildflower books at the rangers stations if you're interested in trying to identify this stuff.

12. Bathrooms are available here

Both ends of this trip have reasonably clean, well maintained bathrooms