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Pyramid Peak

TripAdvisor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
35 College Drive S. Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
+1 (530) 543-2600
Sunrise-sunset (unless camping)

Standing tall over much of the Southern Tahoe area, Pyramid Peak is a local's favorite for summertime day-hike's and wintertime suffer-fests. Visible from many places in South Shore, Pyramid beckons from the heart of the Desolation Wilderness. Surrounded by alpine lakes, this peak can be accessed from a variety of launch points--the easiest and most direct route is the rigorous ascent from Rocky Canyon Trailhead just .9 miles past Strawberry on Hwy 50 (this trail is unmarked and unofficial). While Pyramid can be bagged in a day, the climb also offers up a rewarding overnight or even a 3-day. With dominant views from on high--the Summit of Pyramid has over the years become a local's right of passage.

In essence, there are three main ways to access the Pyramid Peak area. As a day-hike, you'll want to start from Hwy 50 and either climb Horsetail falls, or ascend the un-marked and incredibly steep Elevator Ridge/Rocky Canyon Trailhead (I call it elevator because it goes straight up/down). The hike up Horsetail is also rigorous, but it has less of an established path and much more route-finding. Once you're on the top of Horsetail falls itself, continue through the lake district and begin climbing the grizzly gulch. From the top of the gulch, you can easily gain the upper mountain and use the ridge-top to gain the summit. The top has a cool wind-wall built-into it by generations of industrious hikers piling one rock at a time.

A longer option would be to approach via the Glen Alpine trailhead and turn the trip into a multi-day. This possibility would be particularly attractive in the summer months as camping next to Lake Aloha would offer fun swimming and fishing opportunities. Aloha has many nooks and crannies to explore; I've had more than a few friends recommend bringing a pack-raft in order to do some on-the-water exploration. To get to Pyramid from Aloha, you and your party will need to exit the Glen Alpine Watershed and drop into the Pyramid Creek area. Base camping from Aloha and pushing to the summit and back is a popular option.

Also, whether day-hiking or committing to a multi-day, you'll need a backcountry permit, so make sure to plan accordingly.

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