Maggies Peaks are gateway pillars to Desolation Wilderness overlooking Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. There are two prominences: the north... more » peak is 8,499' and south peak is 8,699'. The trail starts from Bayview trailhead and offers sweeping panoramic views on the way up to Granite Lake, and from the top of either peak. It is about 1,900 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead to the south peak. Allow 3 or more hours roundtrip.
At the trailhead, make a right at the sign to Desolation. The first mile delivers steep elevation gains and the best views of the bay in comparison to points along the road. From there, the trail flattens out briefly where Granite Lake is tucked away in alpine forest. The southern peak of Maggies Peaks stands about 1000 feet above.
After Granite Lake, the trail continues up a saddle in between Maggie’s two peaks. At the top, you can choose which peak you’d like to summit; we chose the southern peak because it was higher at 8,699 feet compared to the northern peak at 8,499. Either will offer an amazing view.
There is not a trail that goes to the top of either peak, but there is very little low lying vegetation, and it is easy to navigate. The trail begins to even out once you've reached the saddle, at this point, you'll head off trail up the slope to your left.
You will also be able to see deeper into Desolation Wilderness, Middle Velma Lake and Azure Lake to the west. We had an impressive balcony that granted us limitless views of the surrounding lakes and of Desolation Wilderness.
After returning to the trail, you can continue farther and take a right at the first fork. This will take you past Eagle Lake and Eagle Falls and terminates on the road just a short distance from the Bayview trailhead, or you can backtrack. Backtracking is a bit shorter and what we chose to do based on the amount of time we had.
The Bayview trailhead also offers campsites for $15 a night and is managed by the USDA. Emerald Bay State Park Campground offers more ammenities such as showers, sites with a view, potable water, and beach access for $35 a night. less «