Freel Peak Trail is a 6.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from July until October.
This is a HARD trail - Very primitive. Very sandy, rocky. Difficult to get traction last 2 miles up. About a mile in you hike through some tall dense grasses and shrubs. Trail only 6" wide and very wet. Easy to get stuck and slip. From there it's sandy and pretty soft the rest of the way. Bring bug repellent or don't go! Amazing views and you are walking on snow packs at the top - even in July! Will take you 4-6 hours depending on shape. Would recommend for experienced strong older teens and up. Wear proper boots, pack out plenty of water and make sure you have good walking stick - especially for way down as you are literally sliding back down the sandy paths.
Great hike. Great views. Went in early October and the weather was perfect. The ridge line before the final push is really beautiful. A more scenic spot for a lunch is tough to find. The switch backs next to cliffs after you leave the ridge are beautiful as well. Snow patches an inch or two deep dotted the final ascent. Definitely a great hike. Tahoe is beautiful.
beautiful views from the summit, the hike was challenging but only to where the trail meets the TRT... if you've thought about hiking a steep sandy trail, look no further
Overall not a super tough hike and it was nice to make it to the highest peak in the Tahoe.
We had a very hard time finding the trailhead. We passed it and went into Big Meadows where we asked for help. They had us turn around and we went into an unmarked forest service road on our left hand side driving back towards Luther Pass. After a very rough road, (make sure you have an SUV or truck) we finally found the trailhead. Again, not marked. The trail was difficult, I would say, and we made it to the summit in three hours. Very sandy and rocky, but absolutely stunning. From the top, the view was incredibly breathtaking. From Freel, we then continued on to tackle Job's Sister, where we lost the trail but trudged and rock climbed our way up. From there, we basically sand surfed our way down to the saddle between Job's Sister and Job's Peak. From Job's peak we took the normal trail which eventually led us back to our car. It felt like a real adventure, and fifteen miles and three summits felt like a real accomplishment.
Thankyou hiker Stan! Everything you have stated is absolutely spot on! Trailhead is NOT marked. Look for the service road behind the gate...that's it. Starts out wide and like Stan said...goes narrow. This is by far one of the hardest hikes we have ever done. I will never look at sand the same way ever again! Did this to help train in higher elevations and wow...it worked. My ankles are still mending. Take poles to help. Trail once you hit the TRT is hard to find but we did make it to top. Stan the Squirrel will be there waiting! Came home via the TRT to Armstrong Pass so all in all total hike was 14+ miles! Great view...but will never do again.
Trail was about 7.5 miles from trail head to peak and back. This is a HARD trail - not moderate. Not heavily travelled. I believe some of the reviews here are about another - longer trail that seemed to be more widely travelled. Most of way trail is 65 degrees steep. Very primitive. Very sandy, rocky. Difficult to get traction last 2 miles up. About a mile in you hike through some tall dense grasses and shrubs. Trail only 6" wide and very wet. Easy to get stuck and slip. From there it's sandy and pretty soft the rest of the way. Bring bug repellent or don't do! Amazing views and you are walking on snow packs at the top - even in July! Will take you 4-6 hours depending on shape. Would recommend for experienced strong older teens +. Wear proper boots, pack out plenty of water and make sure you have good walking stick - especially for way down as you are literally sliding back down the sandy paths.
Trail was great!!! Who ever said its only 6 miles is lying it's 8.5 up and 8.5 down... Going down is worse but over all it's beautiful
I didn't complete the Freel Peak Use Trail however I do have some information to add that may aid in helping someone who may want to do the use trail. I didn't allow enough time one evening to complete the hike. It is a steep trail that starts off easy enough and makes you think that it will be easy. Since I always hike in shorts, I attempted this trail in shorts as well. I would not recommend doing this because the trail is not well maintained once you break off of the wide path. In summary, if you want to do this trail, give yourself plenty of time to complete the use trail if you want to go up that way and wear pants. I gave this trail a five star because I am sure the views at the top are worth it.
Did this one the long way, via Armstrong Pass.
Great hike, especially the last few miles under the summit. The trail passes three little steams surrounded by lush vegetation.
The elevation, scree and steepness of the last mile definitely makes you feel like your on a mountain. Watch out for the one sheer drop-off in the stretch.
Hung out with a very friendly squirrel (which had no issue sitting on my shoulder) at the summit. Rain clouds and thunder chased us off the summit. Will be returning to do this one again using the shorter route.
This trail is great. To get to the trail head drive all the way to the end of Oneida. Once there the Armstrong pass trailhead is on your right and the freel use trail on your left. I took the Armstrong pass trail up to the rim trail then connected to the freel use trail. Up to the freel use trail the trail isn't too steep and is a gorgeous hike with plenty of views of the lake and south Lake Tahoe. Once you get to the freel use trail the hike gets a little more difficult however no less gorgeous. There's amazing views all the way to the peak and of course the best view is at the top. Going down I chose to take the freel use trail. Not the same views however it shaves a ton of time off the hike, it isn't difficult to get down however while going down it I could see how it would be pretty strenuous to use this way up the mountain. Overall I feel this was a moderate hike and more than worth it.
Less crowded and better view than Tallac in my opinion. This is the tallest peak in the area with amazing 360 views from 10880 ft. Top is loose gravel so it makes the last bit difficult also around 1700ft gain in the last 2? Miles. I guess there are many different trail heads for this one but the route we took from the bottom of Armstrong pass by trout creek registered 16 miles round trip on the gps and 3,300ft increased elevation. Would plan better to hit jobs right next to it if time allowed but with a late start and extra mileage ran out of time this trip.
Fantastic Peak! Less travelled than Tallac, but equally as spectacular. I took the Freel peak use trail. In hindsight I would rather have done the Armstrong pass route, slightly longer but well worn. The use trail takes you up a sandy couloir that is quite a slog to reach the TRT and the Freel Peak trail and the last mile. Stay on the trails and don't cut the unnecessary looking switchbacks as the endangered Tahoe draba grows here. Marmots up top and don't forget to sign the book.
There is a discrepancy between the NatGeo Trails Illustrated map and the road markers near the Armstrong Pass trail head. The road location and trail head is correct as shown on map, but the map label 51A was not observed in the field. Instead, markers indicating 51A were found at a turnoff about 1/2 mile past the correct location.
The correct trail head parking area is immediately past the second wood bridge over the creek. There is a wide spot in the road, where there are typically other cars parked.
Wonderful Hike! But, go with a 4x4 car. My buddy and I were luck to run across some great samaritans that drove us two miles and back from the highway to the trailhead.
From the trailhead, the hike is wonderful. Clear trails, beautiful views, and a great accomplishment. Bring chapstick and enjoy the last mile of the hike. It will take your breath away (elevation-wise).
We finished the hike in 8 hours--5.5 out and 2.5 back.
I accessed the trail through Armstrong Pass Trail, then connected to the TRT, and finally the 1 mile slog to the top. As others have described it, the last mile is brutal, compounded by the fact that you hike uphill for 6 miles before taking the trail to the top.
Views are 360 spectacular, better than from Tallac in my opinion. Out and back 14 miles with this route. A long, fulfilling day!
Took 7 hours to get to the top, as we stopped for lunch at Star Lake on the way. It only took one hour to get back to the car down the back side!
Be prepared for a tough go the last mile to the summit. Once you get there the views are spectacular, even along the way the scenery and wildlife is great. A very pleasant hike all the way around. I am looking forward to going back.
Freel peak is awesome! Make sure to bring a jacket though, it gets real windy up at the top.