Sierra Nevada hiking a cool pleasure

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

It maybe hot but the hiking in the Sierra Nevada remains a cool pleasure. Once above the 7,000-foot level it cools off nicely. Well, maybe not all that cool.

However, plenty of treks on the agenda.

This Saturday the people at Sporting Rage shop at 4338 S. Carson St. will lead a free group hike up Mt. Rose. This is not a hike for couch potatoes as some steep terrain is involved. But the trip is worth the effort.

Meet at the store at 8 a.m. to sign up and work out car pooling. And maybe you'll want to check out the collection of kayaks on display. Enough to make you get out the checkbook.

The usual gear is suggested: lots of water, sunscreen, a picnic lunch and camera with plenty of film.

Also on Saturday the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest-Carson Ranger District (got all that?) is leading a two-mile walk through the Hope Valley meadow at 10:30 a.m. More than just a hike, this trek will include a discussion of stream dynamics, sheep and shepherds and a look at Basque tree art. This is about a three hour trip so take a lunch and wear hiking shoes. Suitable for ages 8 and up.

Take Highway 88 west past Woodfords and at the junction of Highways 88-89, continue about a mile to the bridge which crosses the Carson River. Park beyond there.

For a guide to bears of the area, head for the Hope Valley campground Saturday at 4 p.m. There the Rangers will tell you most of what you need to know about dealing with bears around the Sierra Nevada. Topics include how to camp safely in bear territory and what to do when you encounter a bear. There are many so-called ways to deal with these furry fellows but not all of them work. Spend 45 minutes at this gathering and come away richer. Be sure and take something to sit on. The campground is in the Hope Valley about 2.5 miles west on Highway 88 from Pickets Junction. Look for a turnoff to the camp. Drive south on this road for 1.5 miles and look for the sign to the campground.

On Sunday join the Rangers at Carson Pass at 11 a.m. for a look at the Gold Rush Trail. This part of the Sierra Nevada was the major route to California for 49ers and traces of their route abound. The Rangers will discuss the pioneers who passed through this area and will point out a pioneer grave, 49er inscriptions and the Devil's Ladder. Figure on an hour and a half for this.

Pick up Highway 88 out of Minden and drive through Woodfords, Hope Valley and Carson Pass. Park on the paved dead end road that heads south off 88 about a tenth of a mile past the Carson Pass Information Center. Parking fee is $3.

It's a bit off but you might want to make plans to join the Tahoe Rim Trail Association as the group celebrates the completion of the 150-mile Rim Trail Sept. 22-23. This is going to be a major event for outdoors folk and will surely be covered by the national media.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., will be the speaker Sept. 22 along with trail founder Glenn Hampton. Site is about 4 miles east of Brockway Summit and Northstar-at-Tahoe and Alpine Meadows will furnish buses. There's to be a gala banquet and auctions at Harrah's South Lake Tahoe Saturday night.

If you've ever worked on a trail of been around when volunteers were creating the Rim Trail you can appreciate the incredible amount of work that has gone into the Rim Trail. It's something Nevadans can take pride in.


Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe is now offering hiking at the top of its new gondola and I thought I'd give it a try. Nice thing is that the gondola lifts you almost 3,000 feet about the Lake and allows riders to hop off at the vista deck before continuing. The view there is simply the best around the lake - 360-degrees. It's camera-land if there ever was one.

From the deck you can hop back on the gondola to ride to the top near the Tamarack six-pack ski lift. Heavenly has recognized that most riders are going to be flatland tourists and has marked out three levels of trails: easy, moderate and strenuous, making the trails with white, blue and black disks. The trails are almost all on utility roads so the going is easy.

I tried a blue trail from the gondola to East Peak where Heavenly has a lodge and an artifical lake used for snowmaking in the winter. Most of the trail going to the peak is downhill but coming back it obviously is uphill. Elevation gain is probably under 1,000 feet so for locals it's a stroll. Distance is 3.8 miles round trip.

Day I was there about 10 people made it to the lake, plus one fisherman who was dutifully fly fishing. (I understand this is a paid fishing lake, fly fishing and release only.)

For me the most interesting aspect of the hike was seeing all those ski runs that I have whizzed down in the past in their summer dress. I now understand why Little Dipper run bumps up so quickly!

Only problem with hiking the gondola is the $20 fee for using the gondola. But if you're a season pass holder at Heavenly you can ride free.

Incidentally, the old tram at California base is in limited operation for weddings and parties. Word is that the tram will have to go eventually under a deal with the Forest Service. Seems a shame to close it down.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment