Guide to climbing, hiking, skiing the peaks and mountains around Lake Tahoe.

Mount Tallac ascent.

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The peaks in and around the Tahoe Basin offer picturesque hiking opportunities in the summer and exhilarating skiing, boarding, and snow-shoeing challenges during the winter. The tallest peak in the basin is Freel Peak at 10,881 feet. The Tahoe peaks are not tall by Central and Southern Sierra standards and include no technical difficulties, however, neither are they trivial or for the out-of-shape. Most of the peaks involve several thousand feet of elevation gain and, in the winter can include rapidly changing weather and avalanche conditions. The effort of hiking, skiing/boarding, or snow-shoeing a peak, however, is well rewarded as all of the peaks include grand views which can include Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, the Crystal Range, the Carson Range, Carson Valley, and views across vast wilderness areas.

The peaks listed below include a subjective star designation. They also carry a designation of Intermediate or Advanced as all require the hiker to be in reasonable shape. However, a motivated child of 8 or 9 given enough time could reach the summit of many of these peaks. The difficulty has more to do with length than any technical challenges. In winter, the descents range from moderate to extreme. Remember to always use good backcountry travel practices (see Tips) especially in the fall, winter, and spring, when a cold night out could prove fatal. The peaks listed in blue have active links to detailed route descriptions and trail maps, while those in black are not yet complete.

South Shore:
Mount Tallac (Intermediate to Advanced): This is Lake Tahoe's most sought after peak. With several variations, excellent views, and killer ski/board descents, Tallac is a "must do" for any serious backcountry traveler.
Ralston Peak (Intermediate): A relatively easy peak with a fine trail in the summer that leads right to the top. Some of the best views from any peak around South Lake Tahoe.
Pyramid Peak (Int. to Advanced): Another classic "must climb" South Shore peak. Longer with more vertical gain than Tallac, this peak is best done either in the summer when all the snow is gone, or in midwinter when there is good snow coverage.
Red Lake Peak (Intermediate): Located along Carson pass, this is a relatively easy peak to climb with good views of the Meiss Meadows area. The last rocky crag, however, is too difficult for most.
Waterhouse Peak (Intermediate): The best kept secret by Tahoe locals for getting fresh powder up to a week after a good storm. A great place to practice those tele turns among the trees.

Stevens Peak (Intermediate): Next door to Red Lake Peak, most people continue on to bag this summit when they climb up Red Lake Peak. The summit from which Lake Tahoe was first spotted by a nonnative American (Capt. Fremont).

Round Top Peak (Intermediate): Another Carson Pass area peak that dominates the southern skyline. Home of the "Moon Couloir" for extreme skiers, the summit of Round Top is well guarded even in summer and requires some bold final moves to reach the top.
Angora Peak (Intermediate): A nice quick workout for South Shore locals, Angora Peak offers fine views of Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Tahoe, Mount Tallac, and Desolation Wilderness.
Freel Peak (Advanced): The tallest peak in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Although it offers no technical barriers, this peak is much less frequently climbed than most due to its long approach and large vertical gain.
West Shore: Top | Home
  Phipps Peak (Intermediate): Located just a few hundred feet above the Phipps Pass trail, this is an easy peak to add to your collection.
  Dicks Peak (Advanced): In the heart of Desolation Wilderness, it is difficult (but not impossible) to attain this peak without spending the night. The final 400 feet is solid class IV scrambling. The summit offers unbeatable Desolation Views all the way around.
  Ellis Peak: The peak just behind Homewood Ski Resort on Lake Tahoe's West Shore. Not too exciting, but not difficult to attain either.
Maggie's Peaks (beginner): Two peaks both with terrific Lake Tahoe views. South Maggie's has an easy trail almost to the summit, while North Maggie's requires some 3rd class scrambling to get to the top.
North Shore Top | Home
  Castle Peak (Intermediate): Perhaps the most dramatic North Shore peak with both good hiking and fine ski/board opportunities. Castle has several steep chutes for advanced ski/boarders.
  Granite Chief (I): A fairly nondescript peak on Tahoe's North Shore between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Resorts.
East Shore Top | Home
  Mt. Rose (Intermediate) The second highest peak in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Mt. Rose is worth the effort to hike or ski. Starting from the highest pass in the Sierra (8900') you can easily cover the 4 miles and 2400 vertical feet to the summit in a day. Nice views of the Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe.
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NOTICE: While the information on this site is thought to be accurate and reliable, it is offered only as a guide and cannot replace sound personal judgement.

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