Pyramid Peak via Lyons Creek Trail

HARD 25 reviews
#12 of 38 trails in

Pyramid Peak via Lyons Creek Trail is a 11.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pollock Pines, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is best used from June until October.

11.8 miles
3,257 feet
Out & Back







wild flowers





no dogs

Most people do this route as an overnighter, camping at either Lyons and Sylvia Lakes. Although it involves a long day, this trip can easily be done as a day hike for strong parties. The one-way distance is about 5.7 miles, with about 3,300' of elevation gain. Located at the southern end of the Crystal Range, at 9,983 feet Pyramid Peak is the alpha peak in Californias Desolation Wilderness Area. Named after its unmistakable shape, from a distance it looks like a huge granite pyramid. Pyramid Peak is a prominent Tahoe landmark, which can be seen from as far away as the Coastal Range, and on clear days it can be clearly seen from Sacramento, almost 100 miles away.

26 days ago

This trail was HARD. The way up to the base of the peak was easy, but up to the peak was hard. I’ll preface by saying I shouldn’t have done this because I was just getting over food poisoning and the entire hike still had bad stomach cramps. So do this in good health. We were a group of 4 and only 1 of us made it to the summit. We didn’t find the trail some people had mentioned (I should have read the reviews and followed people’s advice and directions). We just picked one side and tried to scramble to the top. Many loose boulders and steep sections. It took us ages just to get about halfway. The beating sun and scrambling really drained us. I had to stop because I had no energy left to continue and one person stayed behind with me. 2 kept going, but one returned after about 10-15 min because they reached a point that was completely vertical and he felt unsafe. The other guy kept going and was the only one to summit. It took him an additional 1hr 10min and he was going at a face pace, without the rest of us to slow him down. Going down was HARD as well and you must do this carefully. Loose boulders and gravel had me slipping a few times. I would rate this a 5 star but I took off a star because it was hard to find any trail up to the peak. Bring lots of water; another problem we had was not enough water. I’m 5’2”, 120lbs and 3 liters wasn’t enough for me. I’ll go back one day, find the better way up and conquer the peak!!!

Summary: trail to lake was gorgeous with wildflowers (very easy), need to go carefully up peak (difficulty more than hard), bring LOTS of water and sunscreen and lastly, don’t do it if you have stomach cramps. Total time taken and distance: ~7 hrs, ~13 miles for guy who finished)

It turned out I had a kidney infection, so if you’re in top shape it’s definitely your peak to bag!

1 month ago

Great trip to pyramid peak this weekend. Trail from lake sylvia to the ridge was in and out. Once we got to ridge heading to pyramid peak we also lost trail in and out due to rock scrambling. This trail was no joke, but led to beautiful views. Following instructions to look for notch at SSE side of sylvia and staying on ridge to pyramid peak were our guiding forces to make it even without consistent trail. Wild flowers are out, but sun is intense once you hike past sylvia; lots of sunscreen and water. Water filter is great from sylvia to lyons trailhead since the creek follows trail, not much to access up toward pyramid.

2 months ago

Long day hike. Still quite a bit of snow as of 6/3 with some post holing around deeper rock patches but most of it is walkable/not frozen. Definitely no need for snowshoes or any traction really for vast majority... extra weight not worth it for where it could help.

11 months ago

Pyramid Peak has been a goal of mine for several years, and since we moved to Tahoe last year we decided to finally tackle it last week. We did this as an overnighter, camping at Lyons Lake. The trail up to the lake is an easy 5 miles or so, with plenty of magnificent wildflowers along the way. The half mile or so from the Sylvia cutoff is a bit steep but nothing crazy. Lyons lake is a great alternative to Sylvia; less buggy, less people, and a truly stunning view of the southern ridge of Mt Agassiz.

The next day we were on the trail by 7am and in a short time had ditched our packs and began up the scree field toward the southwestern ridge of Pyramid. The scree field is a bit taxing going up, and gets steeper toward the top, it was the toughest bit of the entire hike. Once at the top, head up the ridge along a vaguely defined path toward the summit. I'd often wondered what the summit view would look like and it blew me away, absolutely breathtaking...I didn't want to come down!

The trek back was long, as the descent requires care and the scree field especially was time consuming. I'll be back on one of the other routes next year, an amazing mountain!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

This hike is hard. Most people find their own way up to the west ridge which can be very hard. That's what my group did and was fine until we got hailed on! We continued after the clouds went away and scrambled up the rocks to the summit! Very rewarding! On our way back down the thunderstorms started up again! And had to take shelter from the rain and hail. Eventually it stopped and on our way back down we found a trail that goes up the west ridge! The start is right across lake Sylvia as you reach it. There's usually a small snow bank on the other side of the lake and once you scramble up a bit you can find a trail that'll take you up to the west ridge! I wish we had known that earlier! You'll follow the ridge to the base of he summit where you scramble up the boulders.

This small and hidden trail can make a huge difference!

Bringing a jacket and extra(or wool) socks is highly recommended even if it's sunny outside, better to be prepared than to be soaking wet.

Friday, August 11, 2017

nice trail! I have done it half a dozen times! best time to do is winter with snowshoes!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Let me preface this by saying this is NOT a hike for the timid. After 5.25-mi hike to Sylvia, there's just 1-mi separating you from the summit, but about another 2,000' of elevation to gain.
The trail peters out after Sylvia, and from that point on you're on your own to find a way up to the summit. SummitPost has the scramble up the West Ridge rated as Class 2. I will say that this is one of the longer, and steeper scrambles that I've ever done in the Tahoe area.
After topping out on the West Ridge, there is a faint trail leading up to the final scramble to the summit. The view from the summit is highly rewarding and definitely worth the effort, but be mindful that the descent is equally as challenging as the ascent.
In total the hike took about 7 hours.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Great views, did it in one day, took 7 hours. once you get past lake Sylvia there isn't much of a trail and much scrambling up the mountain. Hard is right.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Backpacked to Lake Sylvia and spent the night. Next morning summited Pyramid Peak. Very difficult rocky climb, scrambling up boulders all the way. 50+ mph winds at the top. Outrageous view of Lake Tahoe and Aloha Lakes. Descent equally as tough.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Great weather! 4th of July weekend so it was busy.
I got started on the trail by 5:45am and reached the summit of Pyramid by 11:00 with plenty of breaks on the way.
Creek crossings were a little full from snow runoff but overall a beautiful trail.

Monday, June 22, 2015

I did this hike with my daughters on Fathers Day. We had an early start by 6:30 and made the summit at around noon. The first 4 1/2 miles are easy with the trail passing thru woods with a lot of wild flowers and coming along side Lyons Creek several times during the hike. It was at Sylvia Lake that the trail got a bit confusing for us with no markers to show the way. We scrambled up the ridge behind the lake and made our way to the summit. It was a steep climb followed by a climb over large boulders to reach the top, but well worth the effort. The view made you forget about the hard climb to get there. You can see forever, but be careful, we had winds in excess of 60 mph. The round trip took us about ten hours to complete.

1 month ago

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016