Hiking Project Logo

Ralston Peak

Difficult
 4.6 (18) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

5.8

Miles

9.3

KM

Loop

9,149' 2,789 m

High

6,532' 1,991 m

Low

2,617' 798 m

Up

2,616' 797 m

Down

17%

Avg Grade (10°)

39%

Max Grade (21°)

Dogs Leashed

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Michael Ahnemann

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 18 votes

#467

Overall
  4.6 from 18 votes
5 Star
56%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#82

in California

#467

Overall
415 Views Last Month
8,147 Since Aug 9, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
19%
0%
81%
0%

Photos

Love Mt. Ralston, 90% dirt trail, lots of shade, well marked and maintained route. Lots of back for the buck on this hike a  surprisingly spectacular view. You won't be disappointed.
Aug 18, 2019 near South L…, CA
Ralston, Tamarack, and Echo Lakes from Ralston Peak summit.
Aug 31, 2016 near South L…, CA
Looking across at Pyramid Peak w/ Lake Aloha & Lake of the Woods on the right.
Oct 21, 2017 near South L…, CA
Ralston and Tamarack Lakes taken from the summit of Ralston Peak. Looking east at Lake Tahoe.
Sep 10, 2017 near South L…, CA
Toward Lake Aloha from Ralston Peak summit.
Aug 16, 2016 near South L…, CA
Great views of Lovers Leap on the way down. Make sure you stop and look.
Oct 21, 2017 near South L…, CA

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 50 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Oct 19, 2019
Jennifer H
Great hike. It was sleeting and windy at the top so we missed the beautiful views. Would recommend. — 3h 48m
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