Lose the crowds and discover what Tahoe's backcountry has to offer to those willing to venture beyond Lake Tahoe itself. Another classic Go Adventure destination, the options we offer are not the typical Tahoe experience. Desolation Wilderness, North Tahoe, Emigrant Wilderness, and Granite Chief Wilderness are all available for you with Lifeschool Go Adventure. After your time in the mountains, you can enjoy a day of whitewater rafting to end your trip with a bang!
Desolation was one of the first places Lifeschool went with teens, and it remains among our favorite and most requested destinations. This 63,475-acre wilderness area within the Eldorado National Forest has an elevation range of 6,500’ to 10,000’. There are over 100 glacial lakes in this 100 square mile granite basin, formed and carved by glaciers in the last Ice Age. The landscape is a mix of granite and lakes, with small forests and lone trees scattered throughout. Desolation is a unique destination even within California´s diverse
and other-worldly landscapes!
North Tahoe offers great terrain for lake-hopping. Although a popular destination for the crowds, Lifeschool knows the undiscovered trails and campsites to give you a one-of-a-kind adventure filled with peaks, snowfields, campfires, and more.
Emigrant Wilderness area is a 25 by 15 mile expanse of Sierra landscapes on the western flank of this mountain range. The region includes volcanic peaks, granite domes, barren basins, and, like Destination, over 100 lakes! Elevations range from 5,000 to 11,570 feet.
Explore a secluded wilderness just 4 miles from Lake Tahoe! Granite Chief Wilderness lies within the Tahoe National Forest, four miles west of Lake Tahoe and just south of Squaw Valley Ski Area. This wilderness encompasses the headwaters of the American River. The 25,700-acre Granite Chief Wilderness is a scenic and diverse area with forests, meadows and exposed rock. The terrain varies from granite cliffs to glaciated valleys. Still undiscovered by tourists, Granite Chief is one of Tahoe's best kept secrets.
Desolation: This amazing area is a backpacking gem just West of Lake Tahoe. The varied topography of the Tahoe region allows us to create trips for your hiking ability and preferences, with options to give everyone the experience they are looking for. Choose a shorter out-and-back overnight trip or make a loop over 3 to 4 days, exploring this granite wonderland. Drop the pack and climb up Ralston Peak to take in the view. Explore endless pristine lakes perfect for swimming, fishing, and hanging out. Get “rocked” – learn and practice new bouldering techniques while your friends spot you from below.
North Tahoe: This is a great place for a backpacking adventure to crystal-clear alpine lakes and mountain peaks, complete with opportunities for wildlife viewing, swimming, group games and activities, campfires and smores, and solo reflection. Spend an afternoon hiking up a nearby peak and glissading down the last of winter's snowy slopes. Ever had a snowball fight in the middle of the summer? Here's your chance!
Emigrant: this is another great place for groups to enjoy a backpacking experience. With so many lakes, there are endless opportunities to take a dip in the refreshing waters of the Sierra Nevada. Ample meadows dot the valleys, giving us prime territory for playing games and chilling out. Surrounded by peaks and granite domes, there are plenty of day hiking options for the adventurous and energetic. You can also hike up to snow fields for fun in the snow. At the several sweet campsites you can visit, there are opportunities for campfires, stories, and smores. Emigrant is a great choice for a backpacking adventure ranging from 3 to 6 days.
Backpack into nature and camp beside alpine lakes and meadows in Granite Chief. Enjoy swimming and fishing in area lakes and streams as well as off-trail day hikes that teach orienteering skills and lead you to beautiful views of the entire Tahoe basin and beyond. Enjoy campfires. Experience the rhythm of life away from modern civilization, following the cycles of nature.
American River: After your Tahoe backpacking adventure, head over to the American River to shoot down Class II and III rapids for a heart-pounding day on the water.
In between rapids there will be plenty of time to play in the water and have a picnic lunch on the shore. If there's time, we'll even check out some natural water slides known only to a select few.
A day on the river is the most refreshing end to your Sierra Nevada adventure!