Hiking Project Logo

blueBlack Ralston Peak

  4.6 ( 15 ) Favorite

Trail

5.8 mile 9.3 kilometer loop
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,617' 798 m
Descent: -2,616' -797 m
High: 9,149' 2,789 m
Low: 6,532' 1,991 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 17% (10°)
Max Grade: 39% (21°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Michael Ahnemann

It's hard to beat the ratio of distance to views on this trail even though the climb is quite tough.

Michael Ahnemann

Features River/Creek · Views

Overview

With less than 3 miles to travel to the top of Ralston Peak, it would be hard to find a better bang for your buck than this trail. The climb is steep, and rises 2,600 feet, but the views are outstanding. It's a route definitely worth checking out if you just have time for one great hike.

Description

There's a small trailhead parking lot on the north side of Rte. 50, right across from the Sacramento campground. Follow the dirt road to the obvious parking, or if that's full, you can park along Rte. 50.

The trail starts climbing right from the trailhead, mellows out a bit at about .75 miles in, and then really kicks up at about 1.5 miles in. You'll start out making your way through a dense forest of fir trees, with plenty of shade. You'll get close to Tamarack Creek for a bit - enjoy the lush vegetation and wildflowers there, but before long, you'll start working to gain the ridge, navigating switchbacks through more open, drier forest.

Around 2.3 miles, look for a junction, with a less-worn trail heading off to the right (northeast) to Ralston Peak. Take this small branch, and finish out the climb through beautiful wildflowers, and then continue over a rocky section. You’ll be rewarded with epic views of the Desolation Wilderness and a far away glimpse of Lake Tahoe.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, History & Background

Contacts

Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In

Check-Ins

Jul 11, 2019
Kathy Williams
Jun 30, 2019
Patrick G
5.8mi — 14h 28m
Jun 30, 2019
Noah E
Jun 28, 2019
Shoshana Goldberg
Jun 9, 2019
Marc Daniel
Hiking with Tim — 8h 43m
Sep 1, 2018
Caryl Rose
Got about a mile in with the kiddo and dog before turning back.
Aug 12, 2018
Nina Catalina
Nice trail, mostly dirt path, fair amount of shade 6mi
Aug 11, 2018
Bee Bee
5.8mi

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 15 votes

#444

Overall
  4.6 from 15 votes
5 Star
60%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Featured Hike Rankings

#77

in California

#444

Overall
374 Views Last Month
5,400 Since Aug 9, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
7%
14%
50%
29%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking