Fontanillis Lake, Desolation Wilderness, CA

Fontanillis Lake &
Dicks Lake
Backpacking Resources

Desolation Wilderness

Fontanillis Lake

Fontanillis Lake & Dicks Lake Backpacking Trip Resources

Books and Maps

Jeffrey P Schaffer's Desolation Wilderness covers all the trails of the area. Tom Harrison maps have quickly become the favorites of back country travelers. Also consider picking up a copy of Lake Tahoe's Desolation Wilderness Fishing Guide.


Local Forest Service Permit Offices

  • Pacific Ranger Station, 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, (530) 647-5415
  • Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Supervisor's Office, 35 College Dr,, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 543-2600
  • Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Hwy. 89, 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe, (530) 543-2674

Desolation Wilderness Permits

Quotas limit the number of overnight visitors who may enter each day to all of the 45 zones in the Desolation Wilderness. Quotas are in effect Friday before Memorial Day weekend through September 30. Permits for each party are still required at other times of the year. Fontanillis Lake and Dicks Lake are in zone #23 which has a 16 person limit per day, 11 of which may be reserved.

Seventy percent of all overnight permits are available by a computerized reservation system at - Desolation Wilderness Permits. You can make your reservation beginning the third Thursday in April. Then within 14 days of your trip, log back onto your account at and print your permit. Or you may take your reservation to a Forest Service permit office during business hours.

Permit reservations are no longer made by phone or fax and they are not mailed. The overnight wilderness permit fee is $5 per person for the first night and $10 per person for two or more nights up to 14 days (non-refundable).

The other 30 percent of the permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of entry. Some destinations (zones) have very small daily quotas, so check the Desolation Wilderness Quota and Zone Information to see if your group exceeds the entry quota for that zone. Maximum group size is 12.

Backcountry Regulations for the Desolation Wilderness

Bear canisters are not required in the Desolation Wilderness, but they are recommended. Food must be stored in such a manner that bears can not get to it, e.g. bear canisters or the counter-balance method.
Campfires are prohibited in Desolation Wilderness.   Dogs on leash are permitted.