From Echo Lake to Sierra City (Mile 1197.5)


Overlooking the ridge from the Jon Benson Ski Hut

*Ed. note from Stephanie – we don’t have access to a computer here and can’t get to any of the photos from our camera, so these shoddy cell camera pics will have to do. My phone is being tempermental, so apologies for typos or errors. When we have a computer at our disposal, I will update with more pictures. It was a truly beautiful section.*

Edwin here, again.

Echo Lake to Sierra City – 103 miles.

Over a hundred miles on foot and it is a “short section.” What is happening to us?

Well we arrived in Echo Lake, and immediately knew we wanted to go into South Lake Tahoe where there were more hotels and stores. We needed a shower badly because we had just gotten off a long stretch without one. A cool dude named Aloha (a trail name) gave us a ride into the town and back to the trail again 2 days later. We enjoyed the visit to South Lake a lot, and will be coming back some time to explore the area more.

Once back at Echo Lake, we hit the trail around 2:30 pm. It is a beautiful area. The trail starts off around lower and upper Echo Lake and then we started the climb. The plan was to do the section in 4.5 days so we had to do a good amount of miles each day. I think we ended up doing about 12 miles the first day, stopping for the night at Gilmore Lake right before Dick’s Pass. We didn’t want to hike up to the pass and find nowhere to camp and then have to hike down the pass in the dark so we stopped early.

The 2nd day we set out and had a beautiful view of Lake Tahoe all day long. The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) and PCT were intersecting in this section. The TRT is a 160 mile trail around Lake Tahoe. The trail was on a ridge for the most day dropping down into a valley every 8 miles or so. It was a great day if you want to get some experience climbing – a lot of up and down. We finally made it to a creek with the coldest, best testing water and stopped for the night.

Hey, look – another ridge line to hike the next day. Nothing new at this point. That night we camped at the Jon Benson Ski Cabin, a public use cabin built and maintained by the Sierra Club. We were happy to get there and sleep inside on a bunk out of the cold. That is, until we started falling asleep and heard movement on the floor. We turned on our headlamps and saw the biggest rat we’ve ever seen. It was as big as a small dog running around inside the cabin. The one night we slept inside we had trouble with rodents, and all the time outside not a single one has bothered us.


Jon Benson Ski Hut

On the 4th morning, we woke up finding ourselves with 48 miles left to go before we get to Sierra City. We knew we had two long days of hiking ahead of us. We just started hiking and were already tired. We stopped for breaks frequently and struggled to get 24 miles in before the sun went down.


Our cozy set-up inside the Ski Hut. Not pictured: huge rat.

The final morning we still had 24 miles to the exit for Sierra City with an extra 1.75 miles road walk to town once we got there. We kicked into gear and we did the first 7.5 miles in two hours. We looked at the timing to make it to town before the post office closes and – yay! – realized we could make it before 4 pm. After a long day of fast hiking we got to town at 3:45 pm, with 45 minutes to spare before the Post office closes. Wrong! Post office changed their times and closed at 2 pm.


Overlooking the river behind the Red Moose Inn


At the Red Moose Inn

Oh well, we were still happy to get to town and enjoy a few beers and food. We camped behind The Red Moose Inn, a hiker friendly motel. We will be picking up our package today, July 17, buying some extra food, and getting back on trail around noon. We’ve got another long section coming up (about 7 days) so we’ll update when we can.

- Edwin/Kudu

One comment on “From Echo Lake to Sierra City (Mile 1197.5)

  1. Heck no, you won’t find me bunking down in that ski cabin. I can’t imagine you guys got any sleep! It’s going to be a tough hike to get to Drakesbad, but I’m sure you’ll do it. The legs are so strong by now, you’ll be singing up and down the hills and mountains. hugs to you both xxx…

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