The Desolation Wilderness is a 63,690-acre (257.7 km sq) federally protected wilderness area located along the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, just southwest of Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County, California, United States. It is a popular backpacking destination, with much barren rocky terrain at the edge of the tree line: it has extensive areas of bare granite. Lake Aloha is a feature of the wilderness area, with shallow, clear waters sitting in a wide granite basin carved by glaciers in the last ice age. The Crystal Range is within the wilderness with Pyramid Peak as the highest point in the range and in the wilderness at 9,985 feet (3,043 m) in elevation. Among the many waterfalls within the wilderness is Horsetail Falls.
Mule Deer are the largest of the game species found within the wilderness. Black Bears are increasingly common, with individuals being displaced from the Tahoe Basin and lower elevation western slopes into the higher country. More common, yet seldom seen, are the smaller mammals like Coyote, Porcupine, Badger, and Bobcat. Species of special interest that are very rare in the area are the Fisher, Pine Marten, Red Fox, and Wolverine.
Desolation also provides an ideal habitat for numerous Alpine rodents such as the Yellow-bellied Marmot, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel and Douglas Squirrel. Also found is a member of the rabbit and hare family, the Pika. There are also a variety of mountain birds like the Steller's Jay, Clark's Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee, Sooty Grouse, Mountain Bluebird, American Dipper, occasional Golden Eagle, and others.