There are fees to camp in California between Richardson Lake and Upper Echo Lake which is the area known as the California Desolation Wilderness. The USDA Forest Service website provides information about the reservation tax, overnight wilderness tax, the service charge tax and the parking tax. According to the USDA Forest Service website, "The cost of a single permit will not exceed $100.00"
Regarding loop hikes, the USDA Forest Service website says, "Tahoe Rim Trail hikers that are hiking the whole loop are required to have a permit and are subject to fees. The Basin has decided to not incorporate these permits into the quota..." Here's what this means: If you're hiking the entire Tahoe Rim Trail then you will need a permit to pass through the California Desolation Wilderness, but the permit is free if you pass through in one day. If you do not pass through the California Desolation Wilderness in one day then you must be camping there which means you are subject to taxes, including the camping taxes. If you're hiking the entire Tahoe Rim Trail then you're not counted as a part of any quotas, which means you don't have to worry about whether or not you can camp in the California Desolation Wilderness.
Day use is not subject to fees nor limited by quota at any time of the year. According to the USDA Forest Service website, "Day users may obtain a free permit... or may issue themselves a permit at most major trailheads in the summer. During the winter, day permits are available at the Pacific Ranger Station. Day use is not subject to fees nor limited by quota at any time of the year." This means you can camp at the northern border of the California Desolation Wilderness, located near Richardson Lake (below Sourdough Hill) free of taxes and hike across the California Desolation Wilderness to Upper Echo Lake (which is where the southern end of the California Desolation Wilderness border is located) as a day hike which is also free of taxes. Keep in mind, it's a 23-mile hike across the California Desolation Wilderness.
The Tahoe Rim Trail (Section #12) has a maximum elevation of 8,148 ft (2,483 m), a minimum elevation of 7,022 ft (2,140 m), and an elevation gain of 24,700 ft (7,529 m) in the [ A to B ] direction.
The following chart shows the total calories that you may expend on the Tahoe Rim Trail Section #12 while hiking in the [ A to B ] and [ B to A ] direction at a typical speed and is based on gross weight (which includes anything carried), the topography, trail length and trail conditions.
We survey thousands of miles of trails each year. The following metrics are based on the most accurate trail data; no crowdsourced data.
|[ A to B ] or [ B to A ]|
|Steps 1||Length 2||Min Ele 3||Max Ele 4|
|21,400||10.0 mi||7,022 ft||8,148 ft|
|[ A to B ]|
|Time 5||Floors 6||Gain 7||Loss 8|
|3.8 hrs||0.0||24,700 ft||17,213 ft|
|[ B to A ]|
|3.5 hrs||0.0||17,213 ft||24,700 ft|
The length of the Tahoe Rim Trail Section #12 is 10.0 mi (16.2 km) or 21,400 steps.
A person in good physical health can hike the Tahoe Rim Trail Section #12 in 3.8 hrs in the [ A to B ] direction, and in 3.5 hrs in the [ B to A ] direction.
Download free Sourdough Hill to Middle Velma Lake topo maps and the adjoining quads to plan your hike. These are full-sheet, 7.5 Minute (1:24,000 scale) topographic maps.
TRT012T.kmz is a free KML custom map of the Tahoe Rim Trail Section #12 that you can download and view in Google Maps®, Google Earth® and Garmin® handheld GPS devices including the eTrex®, Colorado and Montana series.
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