Ralston Peak 17E414

Eldorado National Forest, California

Distance3.0mi
Elevation Gain2,750ft
Trailhead Elevation8,851ft
Top8,852ft
Elevation Min/Max6516/8852ft
Elevation Start/End8851/8851ft
Ralston Peak (17E41.4) is a hiking and horse trail in El Dorado County, California. It is within Eldorado National Forest and Desolation Wilderness. It is three miles long and begins at 8,851 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,750 feet. Along the trail there are meadows. The trail ends near Chapel of Our Lady of the Sierras (elevation 6,496 feet) and another place of worship. This trail connects with the following: Ralston Peak (17E41) and Ralston Peak.

Ralston Peak (17E41.4) Professional Reviews and Guides

"Although the climb is steady and stiff, where else in the Tahoe Basin can you achieve such a lofty view with only a 3-mile hike in? Most hikers seem to favor the route to Ralston Peak from Echo Lakes, which is a mile longer via the water taxi (3.5 miles longer without) but requires 800 less feet of elevation gain. With this being the case, you may not have to share the serenity of the route described below with too many other hikers."

"Although the climb is steady and stiff, where else in the Tahoe Basin can you achieve such a grand view with only a 3-mile hike? Most hikers favor the route to Ralston Peak from Echo Lakes, which is a mile longer via the water taxi (3.5 miles longer without) but requires 800 fewer feet of elevation gain. This being the case, you may not have to share the serenity of the route described below with too many other hikers."

"Incredible views of a dozen glacial lakes and prominent peaks from a vista point 1,100 feet above Desolation Valley are yours to enjoy as you begin ascending the lateral moraine forming Pyramid Creek’s canyon. The trail climbs at a consistent rate for the first third of the hike then tests your lungs and legs for just over a mile before resuming a more reasonable slope to the summit.

A few switchbacks send you traversing through the Jeffrey pines and white firs that shade you at the outset on the flank of this ice-carved chunk of rock. A beautiful vista point lies less than 0.3 mile from the trailhead. As you stand in this open, sandy spot, Pyramid Creek’s canyon spreads out in front of you like a gaping tear in the mountain."

"Ralston Peak rises immediately from the South Fork of the American River canyon. The peak sits on the southern edge of Desolation Valley Wilderness Area with a commanding view of Lake Aloha, Echo Lake, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Peak, Price Peak, Jacks Peak, Dicks Peak, Mount Tallac, and the numerous lakes and peaks in the wilderness area. This is a great intermediate trip in an outstanding setting."

Ralston Peak (17E41.4) Reviews

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7/4/2009
Holy smokes! This hike really kicked our butts. By far the toughest I have done! Our final destination was Lake Aloha, but we spent our first night at Lake of the Woods (that's as far as our rubbery legs would take us!) and I would have been fine staying there as I found Aloha to be too rocky and dead. I loved LOTW because of the beautiful trees, etc. There were a few downsides, however. First, the darn mosquitos! These things laughed at Deet! They bit through our clothes and our hats!We itched, swatted and even inhaled them! Plan on an hour cowering inside your tent for at least an hour in the morning and the evening. Second, quite a few of the most appealing spots to camp are blocked off due to overusage. And last, it seem that parking so close to Hwy 50 makes your car an easy target for thieves. We returned to find our window broken and our vehicle vandalized inside. Bummer!
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Trail Information

Eldorado National Forest
Nearby City
Desolation Wilderness
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Snowboarding
Additional Use
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Jun 2018