Snowshoe enthusiasts have to go high into the mountains right now for good snowshoe conditions. The area around Echo Summit is a good place to go if you want to walk on the snow.
Echo Summit is 7382 feet in elevation. The snow there is still relatively deep. While it would be good to have about twice the amount that is there right now, it is in good condition for snow shoes and xc skiing.
Just short of the summit if you are coming from the west is Johnson Pass Road. Take this road and drive 1/2 mile to the Snow Park. You will need a snow park permit to park here.
You can buy a snow park day permit, $5, or a $25 season permit, at the Ranger Station in Pollock Pines, 7887 Hwy 50, not far past the Sly Park exit on the highway, phone 530.644.2349, or at the Kyburz Mini-Mart on the south side of the highway in Kyburz.
The snow park permit is enforced. Chance it and you will likely return to an expensive ticket on your car. Once you've parked and gotten your gear together, go across the road to the Echo Lake road. It is easily recognizable.
The road is snow covered and well used. Put on the snow shoes and start towards the lake, which be will be slightly uphill. You have a couple of choices here.
If you are a newcomer to snowshoes, trekking down to the lake and exploring the area around the lake will be ideal for you. The only steepish part is right as you get to the lake. It's not weird, just a bit more steep.
When you reach the lake you will be able to find several areas to snowshoe in. You can simply follow the other snowshoe tracks and have a great day at lakeside.
The other possibility here is to head up to Becker Ridge, and if you are a bit nuts, up to Becker Peak.
Becker Ridge is on the south side, or Highway 50 side, of the lake. There are several ways to get up to the ridge. The safest thing to do is to go with someone who knows how to get there.
As you trek on the road to the lake, about the time you can see the lake, look up hill. The cabins will have snowshoe tracks going past them. Take one of these existing tracks, and head uphill past the cabins .
The climb is a bit steepish, but it is short. You will know when you've reached the ridge. Turn to the west and follow the tracks along the wide ridge. Echo Lake will be on your right, Highway 50 and the American River Canyon on your left.
You'll reach a spot that is open, and to the south you'll see Sierra-at-Tahoe. Look carefully and you'll find the Grand View Lodge.
Ahead is Becker Peak--it's all those rocks that stick up out of the snow, reaching for the sky. This is a good place to stop. Have lunch, or a good snack, work your camera out a bit.
Going up into the rocks should be done with caution. If you aren't used to the altitude, or you are new to the back country, stay away from attempting the peak.
On the way back you will follow the beaten path in the snow. Head downhill toward the cabins, back to the road, and the snow park.
If you go back a couple of times you will find alternate routes to the ridge top.
As always when going into the back country, go prepared. Check the avalanche conditions before you go, always go with a buddy or two, and have enough food and water with you to stay fueled and hydrated for the duration of your day, plus a bit more just in case your day becomes extended.