Ready to tackle some of the best peak climbs in the Lake Tahoe region? Check out this hiker’s bucket list for some serious adventure inspiration!
If you’re an avid hiker looking for a new challenge, the Lake Tahoe region offers some of the best peak climbs in the country. From the stunning views of Mount Tallac to the rugged terrain of Freel Peak, there’s no shortage of adventure to be had. Summer is the perfect time to explore the beautiful peaks surrounding Lake Tahoe. Although Lake Tahoe does not boast any hyped 14’ers in the basin the multiple 10,000 plus peaks with plenty of elevation gain will give you a great workout and exciting panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe Basin. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, there are plenty of trails to choose from.
Check out this hiker’s bucket list for some serious inspiration on where to start your next climb.
Mount Tallac is one of the most iconic peaks in the Lake Tahoe region, offering stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The trail is 9.6 miles round trip and offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The hike is challenging, with a 3,500-foot elevation gain, but the reward is well worth it. At the top, you’ll have a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding peaks. The hike to the summit is challenging, with steep inclines and rocky terrain. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as the hike can take several hours.
Take time to make stops at Cathedral Lakes or Floating Island Lakes. Both lakes are great locations to hang a hammock on the trip down and enjoy an evening in the Sierra. For more backcountry experience, hikers can also hike down into Gilmore Lake and enjoy the refreshingly cool and clear waters of one of desolations most popular back country lakes.
Freel Peak is the highest peak in the Lake Tahoe Basin, standing at 10,881 feet. The hike to the summit is a challenging 11-mile round trip, with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. However, the stunning views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains make it well worth the effort. The trailhead can be accessed from the Armstrong Pass Trailhead or the Big Meadow Trailhead, both of which require a high-clearance vehicle to reach. Be sure to bring plenty of water and warm layers, as the temperature can drop significantly at the summit.
A popular challenge is to hit Freel, Jobs sister and Jobs peak on the same loop. This trail set is very sandy but the reward of doing all three peaks is t-shirt worthy. The views down into the Caron Valley and Hope valley are some of our favorites. Backpackers will use Star lake off the Tahoe rim trail as a two night excursion when taking on these peaks.
Mount Rose is a popular peak climb in the Lake Tahoe region, standing at 10,776 feet. The hike to the summit is a challenging 10-mile round trip, with an elevation gain of over 2,300 feet. The trailhead can be accessed from the Mount Rose Summit Trailhead, located off Highway 431 just minutes from Reno or Incline Village. The hike includes rocky terrain, steep switchbacks, and stunning views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. Mount rose often is in line with the most snow depth in the Tahoe basin, so climbing season is typically pretty short. Wildflowers can be spectacular on this hike once the snow passes however. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and proper gear for the changing weather conditions, as the summit can be windy and cold.
Pyramid Peak is another challenging peak climb in the Lake Tahoe region, standing at 9,983 feet. The hike to the summit is a strenuous 7.5-mile round trip, with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. The trailhead can be accessed from the Pyramid Creek Trailhead, located off Highway 50 near Twin Bridges. The hike includes steep switchbacks, rocky terrain, and a scramble to the summit, but the panoramic views of the Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe make it a must-do for experienced hikers. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and proper gear for the changing weather conditions.
This trail is a bit more User based then actual marked trail experience. Many climbers will also get an overnight permit for desolation wilderness at either Ropi lake or Lake Aloha and grab this peak from the Eastside granite. Overnight permits are required in Desolation wilderness as well as bear cans, so consider using camp as a base camp, because that is a lot of un-needed gear to climb with on this peak.
Dicks Peak is a must-do for any experienced hiker looking for a challenge. Standing at 9,974 feet, the peak offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. The hike to the summit is a strenuous 12-mile round trip, with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. The trailhead can be accessed from the Bayview Trailhead, located off Highway 89. Backpacking permits for Desolation wilderness to Dicks Lake or Gilmore Lake are popular for this peak.
The hike includes steep switchbacks, rocky terrain, and a scramble to the summit. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and proper gear for the changing weather conditions, as the summit can be windy and cold.
For beginner peak baggers, Maggies Peak provides a stunning view of Lake Tahoe basin at 8699′ it might not rank on serious peak bagger highlights, but as a local hiker, Maggie’s is one of our favorite spots in the basin. At 4.1 mile round trip and a robust climb on the Bayview trail. Follow the Bayview trail up above Granite Lake to the saddle and proceed up the well-used path to the top of the peak. Large Granite boulders perched on top make for a great afternoon staring at Lake Tahoe, Cascade Lake, Lake Azure, The Velmas and more.
Standing a 9235′ at the edge of Desolation Wilderness, Ralston Peak is sort of a Locals peak. It used to be well hidden off Highway 50 just above Horsetail Falls, but the Tamarack fire of 2021 scorched the forest around this trail, changing its nature and characteristics just a bit. Ralston Peak now features a challenging climb through a burnt landscape, but the views from the top are nothing less than spiritual. Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness, the Central Valley etc, can be seen from this underrated peak
Additional Desolation Wilderness Peaks for your consideration :
Mount Price, 9975
Mount Agassiz, 9967
Jacks Peak, 9856, 376, 137
Check out the complete list of Desolation Peaks at Peakbagger.com
Tips for Hiking Near Lake Tahoe
- Always bring plenty of water and snacks.
- Wear sturdy hiking boots with good traction.
- Check the weather before you go and bring appropriate clothing.
- Start early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
- Leave no trace and pack out all trash.
Lake Tahoe is surrounded by beautiful peaks that offer some of the best hiking in the country. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, there’s a trail for you. So, grab your hiking boots and hit the trails for an unforgettable summer adventure.