Freel Peak, Lake Tahoe

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Freel Peak (3317m) is the highest peak of the Lake Tahoe region (3,316m). If it is a clear day, you'll see Lake Tahoe in the distance, but the views are not that great. The reason to hike this peak is only that it is the highest in the region.

From South Lake Tahoe take Highway 50 towards Nevada (Myers) and then turn left on Highway 89 south to Luther Pass (about 15 kms). Go down on the other side about 1 km and, just past the sign announcing the change of county, turn left into the very first road. As of 2017, there was absolutely no sign. Once you turn into it, there should be a gate (closed in winter) and then a sign that announces road 31051. Drive this unpaved road and do not turn right or left into any of the side roads. It is about 6 kms to the wide parking lot of what apparently is called Horse Meadow (again, there is absolutely no sign). To your left there are three peaks, of very similar heights. There is a ridge that runs gently starting a little further north from Horse Meadow to the top of the middle peak. That's the route, and that's Freel Peak.

See the pictures of this hike.

The peak to the right is Job's Sister. The peak to the left is unnamed. When this road is closed, you have to walk it. Even when it is open, low-clearance vehicles might have to stop before the first bridge. In these cases, walk to the first bridge and then you can leave the road and start ascending in the general northeast direction, gradually leaving the road behind. Scramble on very steep sandy slopes for the unnamed left of the three peaks. This peak connects to Freel (the middle peak). Start the traverse on the right side passing the tall rocky formations (the closer you stay to them the easier), then switch over to the other side, the Lake Tahoe side: most likely you will see the trail that comes up from the Rim Trail. No need to descend to this trail though: keep walking along the ridge. It takes about two hours from the first bridge to the summit of the unnamed peak, and 30 minutes to Freel Peak. Coming down the slope is so steep that you can get back to the bridge in one hour. If your car makes it to Horse Meadow, the time is even shorter. You can also summit Freel Peak from the Rim Trail, following a proper, well-marked trail.

Video from the top of Freel Peak (take 1)

Video from the top of Freel Peak (take 2)

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