Hiking Project Logo

Pyramid Peak - Rocky Canyon Trail

Difficult
 4.8 (28) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An epic trail leading to the summit of iconic Pyramid Peak.


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

6.5

Miles

10.5

KM

Out and Back

9,879' 3,011 m

High

5,964' 1,818 m

Low

3,915' 1,193 m

Up

3,913' 1,193 m

Down

23%

Avg Grade (13°)

64%

Max Grade (33°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Views · Wildflowers

Overview

A monstrous, scenic climb to one of the most prominent peaks in South Lake Tahoe.

Need to Know

Parking and finding the trail can be tricky. Come early to nab one of a few parking spots. Though this is an "unofficial" trail, it still takes you into the Desolation Wilderness where a permit is required. You can get day hike permits at the Pacific Ranger station just east of Fresh Pond on Hwy 50

Description

This unofficial trail starts just east of the creek that flows under Route 50. Look for a path up a steep embankment on the north side of the road. Trail starts a little east of parking area and is a little hard see as there is no trail marker. Look for areas where others have scrambled up the embankment 10 feet or so.

Once you've found the right trail, it will be wide and clear - and remain that way until the summit. The trail is surprisingly steep and unrelenting. There are few to no water sources beyond about the 2 mile mark...it is a steep, exposed and arduous hike as you approach the summit...bring plenty of water!

The last few hundred feet of climbing are a hands-and-feet scramble up a jumbled pile of granite boulders.

The summit offers excellent views of the Crystal Range and Lake Aloha In the heart of the Desolation Wilderness. Once you've admired the views, return to your vehicle by heading down the way that you came.

Flora & Fauna

Ponderosa pine, incense cedar, sugar pine, and white fir thrive at lower elevations. Mountain hemlock, western white pine, lodgepole pine, red fir, and aspen dot the hills higher up. Whitebark pine are found below the summit.

Contacts

Shared By:

Miguel Vieira with improvements by Larry Greene

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 27 votes

#1

in Lake Tahoe

#329

Overall
  4.7 from 27 votes
5 Star
78%
4 Star
19%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Lake Tahoe

#49

in California

#329

Overall
110 Views Last Month
14,593 Since Jan 7, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
72%
28%

Photos

The final scramble up Pyramid Peak is a doozy.
Jan 8, 2017 near South L…, CA
View of Sierra at Tahoe from the top
Nov 13, 2018 near South L…, CA
Spectacular view and you might see two or three others.
Aug 8, 2019 near South L…, CA
The stunning view of the Desolation Wilderness from the summit of Pyramid Peak leaves nothing to be desired.
Jan 8, 2017 near South L…, CA
Elizabeth descends the Pyramid Peak - Rocky Canyon Trail.
Jan 26, 2017 near South L…, CA
Lover's Leap stands as a sentinel in the distance along the Pyramid Peak - Rocky Canyon Trail.
Jan 26, 2017 near South L…, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 14 hours ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Sep 25, 2022
Isabella B
This hike is no joke. There's no warm up - it just goes vertical immediately out the gate. Loved the scramble to the top! 7mi — 5h 00m
Aug 20, 2022
Justin Johnsen
5mi — 2h 30m
Jun 2, 2022
Tom H
May 21, 2022
Private User
Jul 26, 2020
Tim Hussey
Rain and thunderstorms 6.2mi — 5h 00m
Jun 20, 2020
Ivan Vo
Sep 28, 2019
Daniel Rodriguez
Jun 28, 2019
Bruce Emehiser
Lots of snow as you approach the final rock field. Definitely bring long pants and a wind-proof jacket. — 6h 00m