Freel Peak Trail

HARD 45 reviews

Freel Peak Trail is a 9.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from July until October.

DISTANCE
9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3763 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

old growth

scramble

snow

no dogs

The hike up to Freel Peak is a hard, primitive, sandy and rocky trail. Located in the Carson Range in the Sierra Nevada near South Lake Tahoe, the hike offers great views of Lake Tahoe, High Meadow, Crystal Range and Desolation Wilderness. To get to the trail you can start at the Fountain Place Trailhead and follow the Armstrong Pass Connector trail to Armstrong Pass, then take a right on the Tahoe Rim Trail to begin the ascent of Freel Peak. There's also an option to start at Stat Lake at the end of Marshall Trail off Pioneer Trail. Freel Peak Trail is part of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Area.

5 months ago

We just completed this hike. The trailhead was slightly confusing and we ended up having to circle back around and park in a designated lot versus along the side of the road. It was raining lightly at the bottom and that quickly turned to snow flurries at 8200 ft. At 9000 ft we made it into the gorge where the wind and snow was being bottlenecked and making this trail feel like K2 rather then Lake Tahoe. Visibility was near zero and when we turned southeast on the last large switchback we made our ascent slowly because the trail was hard to follow with 6 inches on the ground and we didn’t want to lose one another. It took nearly 2 hours to conquer the last 1/2 mile and the wind was blowing hard. We stayed at the summit for lunch but the below freezing temperature and high winds made the choice easy. We made it back to the gorge and the wind and weather calmed down and we were a little surprised to see that most of the snow had melted completely.

Overall an amazing hike! One of my most challenging yet! We left a WHOLE PACK of granola bars in the cache so if you’re the next hiker! You’re welcome!

hiking
5 months ago

If you can't find the trail head for this hike, it's because there really isn't one. Take the Armstrong connector and then follow the gated off fire lane to the left of Armstrong Pass. It's EXTREMELY creepy though. There's a fallen tree that has "Private Property. Turn Back" spray painted on it and a little bit further up a proper "No Trespassing" sign..But we researched it and the land doesn't seem to actually be owned by anyone. As you're making you're way up, past the No Trespassing sign there's a "camp". It has an old woodstove, old fishing poles and some makeshift gated area made out of fallen trees. We knew we were on the trail but looked at the trail map to make sure and it all checked out. Now the trail itself was great. But expect to hike almost vertically up nothing but sand after you make it through the brush. The view was absolutely beautiful and definitely worth it, just bring extra socks, lots of water and go really early because it's a long one. We didn't see a single soul on the trail, or any of the trails surrounding, but keep in mind the parking is really limited when it is busy. If anyone has any other info on this hike or maybe we went the wrong way (even though it all looked right on the map?) feel free to let me know.

6 months ago

We hike this last Saturday. This trail we didn't find it. We took the Armstrong pass trail, it's around 17 mile round Trip hike.
It was a great trail. Alot of people doing mountain biking.

6 months ago

This is probably my new favorite Lake Tahoe Basin peak to bag. All around beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains. We really appreciated the time and care that went into construction of the trail as it meandered through subalpine conifers and large Granite boulders. The only thing I would recommend, is to wear Gators or tall boots to keep all the little tiny Pebbles out of your boots.

8 months ago

Beautiful hike bring plenty of water and snacks allow plenty of time

8 months ago

Monday only had a couple of hikers. Annual hike up Freel Peak was such a challenge. Soggy mud and endless sand. But the last mile up to the peak was its own reward.

Felt so good I went to Job Sister and then realized going back up Freel Peak was even a greater challenge late in afternoon. Glad to be able to check those of my list :)

Smoke from the tragic fires did leave the sky gray and no too good for the air. Be sure to study the sir quality before you meet this challenge

hiking
9 months ago

Not quite sure what AllTrails is doing with this hike. The starting marker is way off. Look elsewhere to figure out how to get to the trailhead. I included two other peaks on a hike it was about 12 1/2 miles and 5000 feet of elevation gain. The two other peaks are Job and Job's sister. This trail affords wonderful views of Lake Tahoe And Nevada. There is lots of old growth. Definitely a lot of the trail is almost Sandy granite. Do you research and you'll have a wonderful experience.

hiking
10 months ago

Definitely a hard, sandy trail. Also, I tracked the hike as being 6.85 miles total. I did this with a buddy in mid-Aug 2016. The first 1.5 miles of the ascent were smooth, but--until we hit the TRT around 9,600 ft.-- the journey upward was a sandy struggle. Having to constantly stop to dump decomposed granite out of my shoes every few mins until we hit TRT, it took us about 3 hours to get to the peak. Conversely, our descent was ONLY a 50 min slide down the same sandy slope. The views are well worth the hellish struggle up to the "saddle."

Be sure to bring at least 2 liters of water and a hat. There's not much tree cover towards the peak.

Note: There's a muddy section of the trail about 1 mile in... I suggest wearing waterproof boots. I made the mistake of wearing running shoes and had to deal with wet shoes (but, I guess, the sandy section of the trail did dry them up quickly).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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.

hiking
Sunday, September 18, 2016

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

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Overall not a super tough hike and it was nice to make it to the highest peak in the Tahoe.

hiking
Thursday, August 25, 2016

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.

hiking
Thursday, July 21, 2016

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.

hiking
Saturday, July 16, 2016

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.

hiking
Tuesday, July 05, 2016

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

hiking
Saturday, June 11, 2016

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.

hiking
Saturday, January 09, 2016

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.

hiking
Sunday, September 27, 2015

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.

hiking
Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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.

hiking
Thursday, August 20, 2015

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.

hiking
Monday, June 09, 2014

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.

hiking
Sunday, August 04, 2013

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.

hiking
Saturday, July 20, 2013

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!

hiking
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

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!

hiking
Saturday, August 20, 2011

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.

hiking
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Freel peak is awesome! Make sure to bring a jacket though, it gets real windy up at the top.

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2 months ago

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