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 Showers Lake (along the Pacific Crest Trail) to begin the hike.
If the hike occurs in mid July the flowers are splendid, and this is evident from the start. The first ascent (of three) 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 one up to Showers Lake, a pretty little lake perfect for a snack break. (Our new Border Collie, Panda.)
The trail leaves Showers Lake and circles a big bowl filled with wildflowers and views of Lake Tahoe. As we finish the circ (mountain bowl), the trail levels out at an elevation of 8995′. Early in the season lovely, deep pink mountain heather cover the meadows in this area. Our trail leaves the Pacific Crest Trail in one of these meadows as we wind around the shoulder of the mountain to begin our return to the Caples Lake area. Along the way Pyramid Peak in the Desolation Wilderness clearly comes into view.
Once we walked around the shoulder of the mountain, Caples Lake could be seen below with an striking array of color 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. We hiked this hike twice this summer, enjoying a slightly different array of flowers each time.