38 miles from Georgetown. Many options.
This area is within the realm of day hiking since the paving of Wentworh Springs Road between Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Ice House Road brings it within an hour’s drive of Georgetown. This is a less used way into Desolation Wilderness because most people have easier and closer access from Wright’s Lake. Hiking in over Tell’s Peak or further south on the Red Peak Trail are more secluded than most other approaches into the wilderness.
Directions: Take Wentworth Springs Rd. 30 miles to “T” at Ice House Road. Turn R and go 2 miles, (just past Robb’s Resort), turn L on F.S. road 36. Now go 6 miles to park in the Wilderness Parking lot on the R. A good map is presented there on a kiosk, showing available hikes in the area.
Shadow Lake: Loop hike available about 7 miles round trip. Walk beyond the gate and follow the road north about 3 miles (take the right fork at a small ski hut) to a log landing where a trail continues out the opposite side for another mile to the lake. A return trip on the Highland trail returns to the parking lot. There is good swimming in the shallow lake near the sunny rocks on the opposite side.
Forni Lake: Out and back trail about 8 miles R.T. Take the road beyond the gate, go past the Red Peak trail another ¾ miles and go R on the Forni/Highland Lake trail. Easy to follow trail through meadows and marsh, then climbing moderately for a couple miles, and then steep the last mile. Very scenic cirque lake below the nearby summit of Tell’s Peak.
Tell’s Peak: Beyond Forni Lake a faint trail follows the creek drainage up to a ridge shoulder where you can go Left along the ridge to the peak. A faint trail leaves the east side of the peak and drops to Highland Lake with blazed trees. Another trail once went north to Lake Winifred from here. It’s now difficult to follow but ducks indicate the old way that was probably more of a cross country route than a formal trail. This trail is shown on old maps more often than the Highland Lake shortcut.