Backpacking the Rubicon Trail in Desolation Wilderness

Details: Rubicon – Desolation Wilderness, South Tahoe

Length: 20 miles

Trip Motto: “I do love a good lake swim!”

View on the way to our campsite

Long Labor Day Weekend Backpacking Itinerary:

This Labor Day weekend, we took an extra day and backpacked to Rubicon in Desolation Wilderness, South Tahoe. And it was delightful. I love September holidays in south lake Tahoe, because northern California often has an Indian summer, meaning long, balmy days bathed in golden light.

Now, we did not like our original destination at all. The area was very open, and there were people camped on all sides of us, so very little privacy. The water was murky and muddy, and we just were not feeling the vibe at all. We were pretty exhausted from hiking almost ten miles, and then a few more searching for another quieter campsite on the other side of the lake: spoiler alert, we didn’t like the other side any better! So, we set up our tent, went for a rather muddy swim, and made a plan for the next day.

Feels like we’re camping during the apocalypse

Now, this backpacking trip was a little strange because of the wildfires in Santa Cruz and Fremont. The air quality when we left Oakland was pretty normal. The air become more smoky as we reached Tahoe. The grey skies, eerie pale yellow glow and bright fushia sun over the mountains felt like something out of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Fuchsia sunrise

The next morning we woke early, and set out for another lake on the map, Fox Lake. On our way there we found the most beautiful, totally secluded alpine lake surrounded by granite and sweeping, epic views. We immediately went back, grabbed our backpacks, took down the tent and set off for our lake.

Ahhhh, insert angels singing

We had a wonderful weekend swimming at our secluded lake, sipping coffee and sampling PB Chocolate protein bars while taking in the sweeping views, lounging and enjoying the balmy weather and reading. It was soul restoring. Brad found a rope swing and had a great time with that, but I had visions of not letting go in time, or flopping into the water a weird way and tweaking something.

Couldn’t resist having our morning coffee here for those views

We had a bit of a weather change during our last day, the wind picking up like crazy during our hike back and we returned to the car and an almost empty trailhead. After we returned home, we found out that more wildfires had started and they were evacuating our area – Loon Lake and Rubicon Trailhead! We had an amazing trip and felt very safe, we even saw other hikers on their way up the mountain as we were leaving. It sounds like new fires and a change in the weather caused the evacuations, but it was still pretty alarming.

Just some lake lounging!
Found a spot we like!!! SECLUDED AF

We had a bit of a weather change during our last day, the wind picking up like crazy during our hike back and we returned to the car and an almost empty trailhead. After we returned home, we found out that more wildfires had started and they were evacuating our area – Loon Lake and Rubicon Trailhead! We had an amazing trip and felt very safe, we even saw other hikers on their way up the mountain as we were leaving. It sounds like new fires and a change in the weather caused the evacuations, but it was still pretty alarming.

Up next on the blog: An epic ten days road trip camping through Utah!

4 thoughts on “Backpacking the Rubicon Trail in Desolation Wilderness

  1. Loved your post! Those sunsets are amazing. I love how Brad found a rope swing 🙂 It all looked so peaceful.

    On Thu, Oct 22, 2020 at 10:08 AM Brie Bear International wrote:

    > BriebearInternational posted: ” Details: Rubicon – Desolation Wilderness, > Tahoe Length: 20 miles Trip Motto: “I do love a good lake swim!” View on > the way to our campsite Long Labor Day Weekend Backpacking Itinerary: This > Labor Day weekend, we took an extra day and bac” >

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