Freel Peak from Armstrong Pass

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El Dorado National Forest

Freel Peak from Armstrong Pass is a 9.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Markleeville, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.4 miles Elevation Gain: 2,634 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

bird watching

lake

views

bugs

Traverses the path of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Armstrong Pass and then up the scree to awesome vistas. Traversing the path of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Armstrong Pass to the saddle below Freel Peak is the "moderate" portion of this hike, and the final mile to the summit is only moderately-strenuous; however, the vista is breathtaking. Freel Peak, 10,881 feet above sea level and the highest peak in the Lake Tahoe region, is named for James Freel who squatted on land at the base of the mountain formerly known as "Bald Mountain" and serves as the eastern most summit of the Sierra. If peak bagging is your thing, Job's Sister and Job's Peak are within easy reach of Freel Peak's summit and would make excellent additions to this hike with minimal effort. Possible seasonal road closures limiting vehicle access. Please check the Alerts & Notices page of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest before your trip.

hiking
2 days ago

Nice day hike. Very steep start but then more gradual uphill until the last 1/2 mile and 600 ft elevation. Didn’t finish the hike due to time restraint. On the trail at 9:40. Hiked 4.2 miles and 2000 ft up for lunch at 12:40. Hiked back down starting at 13:00 and back to the car at 15:15. Trail starts to the left of the 2nd bridge as the Forest dirt road reaches a wide circle for parking

6 days ago

Most challenging hike I ever had! Never knew i can go that high! i didn't complete it due to some difficulty of breathing but will come back to sign that book. Gotta work on my lungs!

running
6 days ago

my favorite. good views and wide trail

hiking
great!
7 days ago

Challenging hike with incredible views. You'll really feel the last 500 feet to the peak! Plenty of small stream during June if you have a filter straw and a handful of interesting rock areas.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
snow
27 days ago

I began on the Warr trail, so im not sure how the first section of this hike is, but from Armstrong Pass to Freel is brutal! The TRT goes up the side of a mountain, so it is exposed for most of the hike. It climbs at a steady pace, nothing too difficult but at elevation it certain can get tough. The final push up to Freel is insane, super steep, making your way up a sand dune practically, so each step sinks you back just a bit. The trail was tough to follow as snow covered halfway up the summit, but i was able to find it before the peak. Coming back down was insanely fun!

hiking
off trail
snow
1 month ago

May 16: car to car trip in 11.5 hrs / 17miles. Summit The gate was still closed so that added 7 miles total to the trip. We did bring snow shoes and we used them in a few sections where trail was buried underneath the snow ( 9,000-10,000’+) section. Now, that’s of course will change in a week or even few days so use your judgment. We had summer mountainnering boots and gators. It did take some good route finding. The summit ridge was little windy. Definitely bring layers. No one else was on the mountain that day. We signed a summit book. Summit @2pm. Heading back by 2:30pm, back at the car parked along the 89 @07pm. Hard by epic day.

hiking
muddy
snow
1 month ago

The gate on the forest road off of 89 is still closed as of May 6. This adds about an extra 3.5 miles each way. Snow starts at the cow grate 2 miles in and doesn’t stop. There’s still too much snow to get all the way to Freel.

running
snow
5 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

I hiked this on November 9 with great conditions. The weather was perfect! The dirt road wasn’t that rough and a regular sedan could make it up there with careful driving. I think it took us about 25 mins on the dirt road in a small SUV. Even though it was a Saturday, we didn’t see a ton of people on trail, just some mountain bikers and a few other folks toward the summit. Around 10k feet I started to slow down due to the altitude, but slow and steady is the name of the game to get to the summit. We had clear views at the top and the wind was minimal. Really couldn’t ask for better weather! There were very small amounts of snow and ice on shady parts of the trail, but nothing that was a barrier to continuing the hike. Happy trails!

hiking
8 months ago

We got blessed with the weather god yesterday 10/25/19 with perfect weather probably 5mph wind on the summit.

hiking
8 months ago

Like a walk in the park. Beautiful maintained trail that almost seems manicured in some areas. The trail is pretty gentle until the last mile. The elevation and incline will get your heart rate up here. Just relax take your time and enjoy the beauty around you.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

This is my favorite trail. The wild flowers were amazing. On Monday, as a preview hike for the peak,we continued from the saddle to Star lake. The lake is a gorgeous alpine lake. (12mi). On Thursday we returned and hiked up to Freel Peak..(10 mi)) The earlier in the day,you leave for this hike the cooler and more pleasant it will be. Check the weather for possible thunderstorms in the afternoon. The 3.1 mile road to the trail head is terrible. A high clearance SUV or truck is recommended.

hiking
11 months ago

I agree with other reviewers: spectacular views and only very difficult for the last mile. All the snow is melted from the trail (finally!) and it’s a pretty moderate climb while you’re on the Tahoe Rim Trail - in fact I brought my five year old today, and he made it to the summit (no carrying at all and no whining until the last half mile at the top!). I have done this hike several times now, and my least favorite part by far is the forest road leading to the trailhead. It is extremely bumpy, pitted, and at times, narrow; however, there are always a couple of 2WD sedans that are at the trailhead so it’s not impossible without four wheel drive. Start early as it does get hot, and most of the trail is exposed.

hiking
11 months ago

Hiked to Freels 7/3 with my 20 and 14 yr old daughters , we camped overnight at the summit to witness amazing sunset and sunrise the next morning. Trail is only covered on a small section the last mile of the hike. We have hiked freels before but camping at the summit was a first and recommended if you want to see a great sunset and sunrise . Bring the right gear to stay overnight, wind can get crazy up there , lucky for us there was zero wind. And of course , leave no trace behind, you pack it in, you pack it out!

snowshoeing
snow
Sat Feb 23 2019

Sun Feb 10 2019

views to die for

Sun Dec 23 2018

one of my favorites

Thu Nov 15 2018

PSA: the gate from horse meadows trail head is closed to vehicles for the season.

hiking
Sat Oct 20 2018

Did this for the second time last Monday; the trail itself isn’t very strenuous until the last mile to the peak. I’m sure if you only hike once a year the whole trail will feel strenuous, but for more advanced hikers the last mile will be the hardest part. Beautiful views of the entire lake from the top, so definitely worth the work. Other reviewers have said the trail is hard to follow, but that is really not the case. It’s very straightforward and easy to follow!! (There are also not really any rock cairns so if that’s what you rely on to follow a trail then I could see how it would be hard for you)

Thu Oct 18 2018

Great route to take!

hiking
Thu Oct 11 2018

This hike is becoming one of my favorites. I did it twice this past summer, and the views are simply incredible and worth every ounce of effort you put into it. For me, the most treacherous part of the day was getting to the trailhead on the service road. It is extremely rocky and pothole-y. However, I did see regular sedans and passenger vehicles at the trailhead, so an SUV is not technically required. Much of the hike has no shelter from sun or wind, so be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. The cairns along the way were helpful when the trail was difficult to follow. We decided to traverse over to Job's Sister after summiting Freel. It was worth the extra effort, but I did not bring trekking poles with me and I ended up wishing I had. Much of the trail is full of gravel, scree, and sand. Getting back down, we did lose the trail, but it wasn't too difficult to get back on track. Definitely a five star hike, and I'm looking forward to the next time I can do this one.

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