Ellis Peak Trail and Ellis Lake

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Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

Ellis Peak Trail and Ellis Lake is a 11.1 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Homewood, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, road biking, and mountain biking and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.1 km Elevation Gain: 531 m Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

road biking

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

snow

Please note as of Nov 2019, users have reported that the gate on Barker Pass road is closed.

hiking
6 months ago

The gate on Barker Pass road was closed! Came from Davis only to find we had to find a different hike.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail with great views at top! There is a false peak before Ellis Peak and the views of Lake Tahoe from both peaks is awesome.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful views of Lake Tahoe at the top. Starts off with a steep incline but gets better. The hike is well worth the views!

Gorgeous views and great weather. Some steep inclines starting off. Well worth the effort!

hiking
9 months ago

The view at Ellis Peak is amazing. The trail is steep at times but so worth it. Butterflies abound.

hiking
9 months ago

Very pretty and not too crowded. Mosquitoes in the evening. A little dusty, mostly shaded, no snow now.

hiking
bugs
rocky
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

I'm happy to say that my wife and I made it to the top without climbing over any snow. We were able to walk around all snow piles. The first 1/2 mile really gets your heart pumping. After that the trail is pretty moderate. Incredible 360 degree view from the top. Well worth the climb.

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

In late July there was still quite a bit of snow. We, along with several groups were a bit challenged trying to find the trail at times. After an initial steep climb the trail opens to amazing vista of Desolation Wilderness to the west and beautiful wildflowers. Nice mix of forest and open ridge. We did not make the peak as some hikers said it was treacherous (snow). Others did make it. Bring water for your dog.

hiking
10 months ago

Oh my god! The best wildflowers displays I have seen in years. The air perfumed in their fragrance! Lots of snow on trail. Bring poles!

hiking
10 months ago

So awesome, the drive up Barker is cool and lots of snow fields to play in along the hike, flowers and cliffs!

hiking
closed
10 months ago

Five miles from the trail head is a fire gate blocking access 7/17/2019

walking
Mon Nov 05 2018

*bring water for dogs- no water on the trail. *uphill, then downhill, then uphill.....but not hard. *gorgeous panaramas along the hike. *we started late in the afternoon, and had it all to ourselves.( early November). *no mountain bikes to be seen today. *windy at the top- SPECTACULAR VIEWS!

hiking
Sun Nov 04 2018

Beautiful hike, just be ready for a steep ascent right from the beginning. Loved the views, it was a gorgeous day and there were still some fall colors to enjoy. We did get startled by some dirt bikes that came up on us quickly as they crested a hill. We heard them, but had no idea they were so close. We were able to grab our dog before she was run over, but be on the lookout!

hiking
Sun Nov 04 2018

This short(er) hike provided great bang for your buck. At only 6 or so miles, the views were spectacular and we reached the summit quickly. Likely for this reason, there was quite a bit of trail traffic, even given the time of year. After an immediate and somewhat intense climb, the trail opens up along a ridge that provides beautiful views of Desolation Wilderness to the west. On one side there is a cliff/drop off that my overly curious dog would not keep away from - just something to be aware of with children or pets. Once you get to where the peak is in sight, be sure to keep to the smaller and less noticeable trail to the right. On the left side, there is a wider and rockier path that leads to a false peak, and thanks to another hiker we met, we didn’t get stuck up there as some have!

Sun Nov 04 2018

Hiked November 3rd 2018, beautiful calm day, sunny and very light winds. Two of us and small older dog did the trek in under 4 hours with a stop at the top. Several other groups shared the trail but we mostly had the trail to ourselves. Great views of desolation wilderness, Lake Tahoe and beyond. We started late (noon) sun was fabulous, long shadows by return trip. Loon lake was glorious, mirrored reflections of the sky and golden glow everywhere. A must hike!

hiking
Thu Sep 27 2018

This path is beautiful but beware. If you are comfortable with steep climbs then go for it. My family and I love trails but we are from Florida and this was a big challenge for us. I did make it to the top and the pond just perfect.

Wed Sep 26 2018

Very beautiful trail with panoramic views. We loved the trees with bright green moss. Nice trail for the dog too.

hiking
Sun Sep 23 2018

It was a windy September Saturday when we hiked to Ellis Peak. Great trail with truly beautiful views all around. After leaving the peak make sure you look out for the smaller trail leading back to Barker Pass - crossing the Ellis Lake trail. Met a couple of friendly and helpful trail bikers, but it was mostly hikers on the route.

Tue Sep 04 2018

Went for the second time this year, to get back to those incredible panoramic views on the ridge and at Ellis Peak. Glad we did it, and I want to just help everyone be aware of the false summit. I fear that too many get to that point and think that's it. So, I'm posting some photos from the place you might be tempted to go up to you left to the false summit up to the actual summit. Basically, when you see a peak, don't turn left there to go up the side of it. Instead, follow the path straight ahead, as prompted by the two little rows of parallel rocks on the ground which try to coax you to keep going, plus the little stack of rocks just past it. See the first photo I'm posting. The rest of the photos show what it looks like on the short way up to the real summit, and if course the summit itself. There were no dirtbikes or any other bikes; just a fair amount of friendly hikers. It was a great day, and we were so glad to be on the trail by 10:30 or so.

hiking
Sun Aug 19 2018

If you like motorcross this is the hike for you. We were passed by a dozen or so dirt bikes spread out over the whole 3 miles on the way up, only to find a jeep convention at the top of the peak. Besides the motor vehicles it was a beautiful hike.

hiking
Mon Aug 13 2018

Terrific hike with great views from the trail and the summit of Lake Tahoe and Desolation Wilderness peaks. The trail is easy to follow but quite dusty at times. The hike to the peak was easy compared to most Tahoe area peak climbs, but the descent includes a long uphill section that can be tiring. We took our time and still did the entire 6.7 mile hike in under 4 hours.

Thu Aug 09 2018

Beautiful hike with great vistas. Right now they are quite muted by smoke from all the fires. Some pretty steep sections would make me rate this a bit harder. Some sections are very open making it tougher on a warm day. If it’s going to be a hot day, suggest an early start.

Sun Jul 29 2018

Great hike and scenic at the peak. Dusty trail but worth it.

hiking
Sat Jul 28 2018

Nice hike with some gorgeous views. The first and last stretches are pretty steep, and be prepared for a lengthy uphill on the return trip. With the elevation and altitude it felt like an advanced intermediate hike, though the mileage is not too great. I’d definitely recommend this hike. The drive to the trailhead is very pretty as well.

hiking
Wed Jul 18 2018

Did this with my two sons as I was trying to get them outdoors. Beautiful views! They loved it!

backpacking
Thu May 31 2018

The lower and middle gates are closed. I walked the road to the trail head. As of 5/29/18, starting about mile 6 of the 7 mile road there was a ton of snow still on the road. About mile 6 1/2, there was a river from snowmelt going over/through the road damaging the pavement. It will be awhile before the gates are opened. Because of the deep snow, finding the trail right after the trail head was very difficult. I made it halfway along the actual trail and decided not to go any further do to the added work of the 10 foot snow drifts. All and all it was a great day. Ended up just shy of 17 miles with my 35 lbs. pack. I will go again after the snow melts.

hiking
Wed May 30 2018

You can't get here yet, can't drive to the trailhead, the forest roads are still closed. I guess you could bike into the trailhead if you wanted but we were unprepared and turned around.

hiking
Fri Nov 24 2017

Love hiking around Tahoe!

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