Perhaps the most easily accessed part of the Desolation Wilderness, Eagle Falls—both upper and lower—allow the common passersby to see what most people spend hours hiking for. Whether parking on Emerald Bay Road or in the Eagle Falls lot, rushing cascades are just steps away.
To access the lower falls, park on the road and head to the Hwy 89 bridge on foot. On the closer side, you’ll find manicured granite steps that lead down to the lower falls. The time of the season will decide how much open footing there is to exploit, so watch your step. To access the south side of the falls, just climb back on the bridge and descend from the southern aspect.
While the lower cascades are the larger of the two, the upper falls is still amazing. From the inner parking lot, walk towards the interpretive board/trailhead. These trails are a loop so they can be walked in either a clockwise, or counter-clockwise direction. I prefer to head to the falls first (clockwise) and then continue on to the scenic vantage point just up the trail. From here, you can view Emerald Bay as well as the jagged granite topography that surrounds in every direction.
As I mentioned previously, the Eagle Falls area is special because it puts the Desolation Wilderness in an easy-to-reach locale that allows just about anybody to appreciate the raw power and beauty of our local backyard.