Statistics: mileage 11 miles (involves a shuttle)
A little extra time should be allowed to place a car at the end of this terrific hike, two miles up the maintenance road at Caples Lake. Then, drive to the trailhead at Carson Pass’s Showers Lake (along the Pacific Crest Trail) to begin the hike.
In mid July the flowers are splendid and this is evident from the start. The first (of three) ascents zigzags up the hill and ends in a beautiful meadow filled with iris and providing a fabulous view of Round Top. In the distance, Lake Tahoe is barely visible.
Soon the trail descends into Meiss Meadow which is a real treat to behold. The old Meiss homestead and barn are still in the meadow and an interesting history board has been placed in front of the structures.
The second and most rigorous ascent takes us up to Showers Lake, a pretty little lake perfect for a snack break. (Our new Border Collie, Panda.)
The trail left Showers Lake to circle a large bowl filled with wildflowers and views of Lake Tahoe. As we finished the cirque (mountain bowl), the trail leveled out at an elevation of 8995′. Early in the season lovely, deep pink mountain heather covers the meadows in this area. Our trail left the Pacific Crest Trail in one of these meadows, winding around the shoulder of the mountain to begin the return to the Caples Lake area. Along the way Pyramid Peak in the Desolation Wilderness clearly came into view.
Once we walked around the shoulder of the mountain, Caples Lake could be seen below with a striking combination of colors on the mountainside, setting off the lake as only nature can do!
Soon we were back in the car for a two mile (and rather rough) ride back to Highway 88 and home to the cabin. We hiked this trail twice this summer, enjoying a slightly different array of flowers each time.