Armstrong Pass Trail

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California

Elevation Gain1,371ft
Trailhead Elevation7,676ft
Elevation Min/Max7660/8724ft
Elevation Start/End7676/7676ft

Armstrong Pass Trail

Armstrong Pass Trail is a hiking and biking trail in El Dorado County and Alpine County, California. It is within Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It is 3.6 miles long and begins at 7,676 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,371 feet. This trail connects with the following: Willow Creek and Tahoe Rim Trail.

Armstrong Pass Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"After climbing to Armstrong Pass, this trip follows a ridgecrest section of the Tahoe Rim Trail to Hell Hole Viewpoint. Along the way are partial views of Lake Tahoe and full views of Hope Valley and the peaks of the Carson Pass region.

There are no facilities at the trailhead. Undeveloped campsites may be available near Horse Meadows. The trail begins down the closed road."

"Saxon Creek Trail is more commonly known as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Noted for its wild downhill, this is one of the legendary trails in Tahoe. There are several ways to access Mr. Toad’s, but this loop eliminates a shuttle and minimizes the road riding. The first 3.0 miles up the paved Fountain Place Road are on a route that was one man’s dream for the main pass over the mountains. Today the ride from the end of the road to the ridge follows some beautiful and well-graded singletrack that connects to the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) at Armstrong Pass. An out-and-back to Armstrong Pass is a great ride in itself. It’s a bit of a huff along the TRT to Saxon Creek Trail, but the views along the rim are gorgeous. The descent on Mr. Toad’s is extreme: steep, technical, nicely banked turns, concrete lattice trail work, and some impossible drops. Mr. Toad’s is for advanced riders with the good sense to walk the crazy stuff."

"This trip leads to Star Lake, one of the Tahoe basin’s highest lakes. After a mile-long climb to Armstrong Pass, a lightly used section of the Tahoe Rim Trail takes you the rest of the way to the lake. Backdropped by the volcanic slopes of rugged Jobs Sister, the lake’s setting is quite picturesque, luring both dayhikers and backpackers to the serene shores.

The high elevation of Star Lake ensures chilly swimming throughout the season, but the relatively warmer temperatures from mid-July through August will make the possibility of a lake dip seem a bit more palatable. Although cooler temperatures prevail in autumn, you’ll find much less traffic on the trail."

"Freel Peak, at 10,881 feet, is the Tahoe Basin’s highest peak. Maintained trail will get you to within a mile and 1100 feet of the summit, where a boot-beaten use trail can be followed the rest of the way.

The route is straightforward, not requiring any mountaineering skills other than the stamina necessary to complete the ascent (unless lingering snowfields are still present). Successful summiteers will enjoy a far-ranging view on clear days, from Lassen Peak in the north to Yosemite-area peaks in the south. Along with Freel Peak, peak baggers can relatively easily add Jobs Sister (10,823 feet) and Jobs Peak (10,633 feet) to their resumes, the second- and fourth-highest Tahoe peaks respectively. Nearby Star Lake would make an excellent base camp for a weekend or longer adventure."

Armstrong Pass Trail Reviews

5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
There are several ways to complete this ride. The obvious thing is to go North on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. This is a fun ride. it is technical but not overwhelming for most as their are big lapses of difficulty. A rare trail of poluarity as it lives up to the hype. It is a must do in one form or the other.
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
This a good trail for non-technical rides. It is a good cardio workout with nice and varied vegetation as you climb in elevation. The views are limited until you get near the end. We went a little too early and ran into snow at the top of the road, but it was still a nice ride.

Armstrong Pass Trail Photos

Help others discover amazing sights!

Trail Information

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Nearby City
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Local Contacts
USGS Freel Peak
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018