Bring Your Own Fountain Drinks
Overview: Any desert dweller who is an outdoor enthusiast can appreciate a hike that involves water. The Lake Tahoe area offers outstanding water hikes in the spring as the heavy snow pack rapidly melts creating spectacular streams and falls. These snow melts provide the only in flow of water to Lake Tahoe. The Glen Alpine Creek system, which is snow melt and spring fed flows into Fallen Leaf Lake and eventually into Lake Tahoe via Taylor Creek. This hike is a portal into the Desolation Wilderness.
History: In 1863 Nathan Gilmore discovered Glen Alpine Springs. It was originally known as Soda Spring because of the natural carbonation of the water. In 1884 Gilmore developed a health spa resort here and began bottling the water and selling it. The original buildings were destroyed by fire in 1921. Locals rebuilt the buildings from 1921-1929. The resort closed in the 1960s and was acquired by the forest service in the 1970s. Today local non-profits manage and preserve the buildings offering interpretive tours on weekends in the summer.
Hike: The hike starts from a paved parking lot with room for about a dozen cars and is equipped with rest rooms. In the summer a kiosk is equipped with permits which must be used to enter the desolation wilderness. Glen Alpine Creek at this point becomes Lily Lake which is a very picturesque lake with rugged, often snow covered peaks behind. Beavers are busy in this area and their handy work can easily be spotted along the trail. The trail runs alongside Glen Alpine Creek thru the dense tree cover and in about a half mile the sound of falling water is heard. The trail is a steady grade but quite easy. Soon the Upper Glen Alpine Falls come into view. They are also known locally as Modjeska Falls. They certainly look and sound more impressive than the official thirty foot height of the falls particularly in late spring with heavy spring runoff. There are a couple of grandfathered cottages along the way that serve as summer refuge for a couple lucky individuals. The trail meanders along the natural contours of the surrounding mountains and crosses several small creeks which undoubtedly would be dry in the summer. The rushing waters of Glen Alpine Creek are never too far away. Soon several structures of the old Glen Alpine Resort come into view. Exploring the area you will find the marked Soda Spring which is covered by a pagoda. You may notice the water is brown. This is because of the high amount of iron content. Several trails continue to various destinations in the Desolation Wilderness from here. For this hike this is the turn around point. Return the way you came.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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