Ellis Peak & Lake (Lake Tahoe, California) 18-Aug-2020

We were a bit rattled by all the people we encountered on the trail during our first hike at Lake Tahoe. So we we cast around for something a little (actually at lot) less popular and came up with Ellis Lake and Ellis Peak. The trailhead for these is only five miles by paved road from our cabin, so an early start wouldn’t require too much effort.

This trail is open to motorcycles but we didn’t encounter any today. Nor did we encounter many people – a total of nine for the whole day. After 2.5 miles up and down along the trail, The LovedOne and Diane peeled off to go skinny-dipping in Ellis Lake while I continued on to the formidable (not) summit of Ellis. From there I had a view directly down to the lake and of the clothes-free cavorting 😮 that was disturbing the fish. What I also had was a 360 degree view, much of which was becoming obscured by wildfire smoke. The normally sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe were dimmed by a grey and reddish miasma. At the time, none of us realized this smoke was just going to get a lot worse.

The view from near Baxter Pass
The day began to warm
Topping-out on the ridge with a swirl of smoke in the air
A reddish band of smoke to the west
Smoke over Loon Lake to the west
Twin Peaks
The yellow moss starts where the snow line ends
A smoky Lake Tahoe from the summit of Ellis
Twin Peaks and smoke from the summit
Looking south from the summit
Ellis Lake from the summit
Bare Naked Ladies (arrow) tour Ellis Lake
Ellis Lake, with Ellis Peak on the right
Ellis Lake

After tagging the summit, I rejoined the now clothed cavorters at the lake, where we had a snack, and then returned to the trailhead (for a 7.5 mile round-trip hike with about 1,400 feet of gain).

Listening for picas on the way back
The steep, hot climb on the way back
Along the ridge

The guidebook spoke of a stiff climb up from the trailhead but failed to mention the equally stiff one on the way back. Between that and the heat, I was dragging. I was finally forced to acknowledge that hiking in air temperatures over 80°F (26°C) just sucks the life out of me – and the fun out of the hike. Thankfully, the short drive back to the cabin got all of us to beer therapy on the porch in time to make a full recovery. 😀

Our route to and from Ellis Peak and Ellis Lake
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2 comments

  1. So I hope you are saving up for a 600mm lens for the next hike with a lake suitable for skinny dipping.

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