5.8 miles
1,069 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly


1 month ago

Very scenic hike with lots of history. This hike starts at Chair 1 at Kirkwood. Follow hiking/mountain biking trails up the top of the ridge, then go down the other side. This was the first time that the hike became difficult, as there was no clearly defined trail to follow, or if there was, we didn't see it. Once we got down to a dirt road, we went right and made our way to the Sunrise Grill. From that point, we followed the directions that Mike White describes in his "Afoot and Afield Tahoe-Reno" book for Emigrant Pass (Hike #178 in the new edition). Without having his book along, we would have been lost trying to find out how to get up to the top of the pass. The only reason we started from Kirkwood instead of Caples Lake as he does in his hike, is to shave off a few miles. Once you get on the historic emigrant trail, just look for markers on trees and cairns stacked by other hikers. We lost the trail a few times, but always quickly picked it back up. Our total mileage ended up being about 7 miles for the out and back, not the 5.8 listed here. Once we got up to the top, the views of the surrounding peaks and Caples Lake in the distance were beautiful. It was amazing to consider that 50,000 emigrants once traveled that route. I would give this hike 5 stars if there were better marked trails on the back side of Kirkwood ski resort.