Stoney Ridge Lake Backpack 7/8-10/22
My best friend, Steve, and I were able carve out a quick weekend hike to Stoney Ridge Lake in early July. I had note previously been a fan of Desolation Wilderness hikes, but it was close to home for Steve and had a new permitting system to keep the number of visitors low. The trailhead begins at Meeks Bay (Tahoe) and climbs 1600' over 6.7 miles to the camp sites near the small dam at Stoney Ridge Lake. The trail was gloriously shaded in most areas and both our ascent and descent to and from the lake took about 3hrs and 20 minutes at a leisurely pace. The highlight of the trip for me was our "layover" day exploration that took us past Rubicon Lake on trail, then steeply off trail to the saddle near Jakes Peak. The views of Lake Tahoe from amongst the whitebark pines and atop a hefty fault were quite euphoric. The hike to the saddle and back was 7.5 miles with a 1450' elevation gain.
Fishing at Stoney Ridge Lake was rough, and we didn't invest as much time as we needed into landing the 20"+ rainbows and browns we saw cruising the shores in the evening and early morning. I had one large brown nail the tail of a plastic swimming worm on a jig head about 20' in front of me. I reacted to watching hte aggressive strike by trying to set the hook and ended up yanking the bait out of its mouth.
As a side note, the mosquitos were thick, but not the worst. One camp played a bluetooth boombox until 11pm the first night, but they were the only other folks at the lake... until Saturday. New backpackers decided to claim spots uncomfortably close to our little piece of paradise, but since we were gone when they came into camp, we just dealt with it by leaving as planned the next morning.
I'd rate this as a nice Desolation Hike: 8/10.