Ralston Peak Trail is a 6.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Twin Bridges, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,775 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

washed out

The thigh-burner of Lake Tahoe, Mt. Ralston rewards intrepid day-hikers with stunning mountain overlooks. There are many sights to wonder over as you snake eastward along US-50 towards Lake Tahoe, but Mt. Ralston isn't one of them despite being situated right next to the road. Not that it's unworthy, but simply because the 9,235ft peak is obscured from view. This route traces a long route up the steep flanks of Mt. Ralston and into the Desolation Wilderness, rewarding the intrepid day-hiker with stunning mountain overlooks.

hiking
4 days ago

Worth the view! but definitely tough. This was 8.2 miles total and pretty steep for most of it. Going back down is easy but I would say this is more hard then Moderate.

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike with a solid amount of elevation gain. The hike is 8 miles round trip with 2800 feet of elevation gain. You start winding your way through beautiful forest and emerge to views of Sierra at Tahoe (a local ski resort). After crawling up a steep section the trees begin to thin and eventually you emerge to unbelievable views. You can see more lakes and mountains than you will know what to do with. Have fun and be safe. This is a nice trail all the way to the top, not too rocky and lots of good footing.

hiking
11 days ago

Great trail, however this is 4.1 miles each way (value from iWatch plus two trail guides) not the 6.5 stated here!

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful hike this time of the year. The weather was great and helped with the steady climb to the top. Enjoyed it a lot ! Short and moderate hike.

hiking
21 days ago

Moderate My Ass!

hiking
1 month ago

Great work out in a short distance.

hiking
1 month ago

One of my faves. Short and sassy!

hiking
1 month ago

Great view at the top...well
worth it! The thing that was hard tho there were no creeks for water. It’s more a fall winter spring hike.Still a great hike tho!!!

My first peak hike. Stunning views at the top.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is fab!!! I went in late June with my cousins, during a very hot time of day. So hear this: Bring at least 3-4 bottles of water and make sure everyone in your party does, too!!!! Just every time you hike, make sure everyone has plenty of water. Although I was prepared, all my cousins only had 1 or 2 bottles, and 1 of them brought nothing. So I shared a lot, and so did my uncle, who just brought a cooler backpack filled with water and tea. There are no water sources or bathrooms at all.

Anyway, as long as your totally hydrated, this is a great hike! The further up the mountain we got, the louder my exclamations were at the lovely view. It's steep for almost all of it, and there are rock scrambles along the way. As you approach the summit, it's all rock- small rocks. So be careful with your footing.

Reaching the peak is simply incredible. All the negativity from being thirsty, hot, and tired evaporated. an immense view of Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness, and so many other lakes and snow surrounded us. Although we saw snow, none was on the trail. At the top of the mountain, there's a small box with a few little notebooks and pencils where past hikers signed in and wrote nice comments. If you go, be sure to bring a small notebook, because when we went, all the notebooks were full. So maybe you'd like to add another and be the first entry.

It was an amazing hike. I totally recommend it!

hiking
2 months ago

Great day hike. The elevation gain is fairly mild for most of the trail. The view from the summit is spectacular. If you want to plan your next backpacking destination in the Desolation Valley, then Ralston Peak provides the best vantage point with less effort than the surrounding peaks.

3 months ago

Fun Trail, Awesome Views!

Had a wonderful hike to Ralston Peak. The views were just spectacular. During the hike, I thought of all the brave firefighters that are battling the many wildfires. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are putting their lives on the line.

hiking
3 months ago

Good solid grind going up. Still hazy but the view is still amazing. Bring water! I brought 3 liters and drank 1.5. Always have more then you think you’ll drink. Having less is horrible

3 months ago

Climbed to the rocky peak without any difficulty. So Smokey at top due to Yosemite fire could barely see the lakes below.
Ran into very large rattle snake on trail. 11 rattles.
Climbed Whitney 2 days later.

hiking
4 months ago

Ralston is without a doubt one of my favorite trails around Tahoe, at least for summit views. The trek up is pretty straight forward starting as a dirt hike across moderate switchbacks before kicking up to a more aggressive mix of loose rock and more dirt as you leave the treeline. Given the consistent exposure and fairly steep upper section, be sure to bring plenty of water (see many people hiking this as if it's a couple city-miles rather than mountain ones.) For the effort, the view up top is all the reviews say and then some with so many lakes, peaks and forest lands to take in at once.

Conditions as of this post: All dirt, no major obstacles, fairly easy to follow the trail though do pay attention on the upper sections as the path can fade out over the boulders. Bring extra water, good shoes for the steeper climb, layers for the exposed summit.

hiking
4 months ago

An excellent trail with great rewards. We took off at 7:30am which was perfect. You start by working your way through the trees and meadows which isn’t too hard. The next stretch is the hardest as you wind through a part of the trail with lots of rocks and loose dirt. The final climb is steep but the ground is solid so it’s easy to keep your footing. The last 1/10 of a mile you need to maneuver over lots of rocks but just take your time. Great views of Echo Lakes, Lake of the Woods, Aloha, Lake, Fallen Leaf and Tahoe. Took us about three hours with a few breaks to enjoy the views.

hiking
4 months ago

If you’re looking for a difficult hike with lots of climbing, this trail is it. This trail was all uphill right from the beginning and gets even more steep when you get to the top, but it was definitely worth it for the need view of the beautiful blue lakes. There were a lot of bugs everywhere, and even more bugs up at the top, so make sure you bring bug spray!

hiking
4 months ago

I thought this trail was difficult due to steepness, but so worth the views at the peak! First 1.5 miles isn't bad but when you get to the fork and turn right, you're looking at a steep climb. Bring poles! They saved us. At the peak, we saw at least 9 lakes. Gorgeous. Great mix of sun and shade throughout the trail. Bring more water than you think you'll need!

hiking
4 months ago

Good work out with payoff of excellent views at the top!
It has a fair amount of sun exposure so bring lots of water and sun screen.

Thigh burner strenous steep hiking. Amazing view from peak

hiking
5 months ago

Perfect day hike. Trail completely open from trailhead to summit now. Wildflowers everywhere especially near summit. Creek is still full and flowing.

Desolation Wilderness is perfection right now, get out there.

5 months ago

No snow. beautiful hike.

5 months ago

snow is all gone did this trail 3 weeks ago an you had 40 minutes of snow to go though as of 6 /2 less tha two minutes to go through great hike so awesome on top great views

6 months ago

Snow starts at mile 2.5 . Beautiful view at the peak as always! Ralston Lake still covered with snow.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike. Snow for about 1/4 of the trip near the summit. Great views!

hiking
6 months ago

Did this hike today. Still lots of snow near the top which makes it a bigger challenge. It was warm for the first half but once you hit the snow we also were smacked with pretty windy conditions. I would prefer it later in the summer when the snow melts but for those looking for a more difficult hike, this could be it.

hiking
6 months ago

Did this trail today with my friends. Steady climb for sure Still a lot of snow Top was very cold but worth the view Good day on Mount Ralston

6 months ago

Packed my snowshoes just because and was glad I did. Still enough snow covering the trail to make it more challenging. Cold and windy at the top with no place to hide. Coming down was fun, the snow was melting a bit and it mage for some slippery going. Love this hike, worth the effort.

hiking
6 months ago

Great run today, no crampons, top third solid snow stayed hard till about 10.. harder run than no snow for sure,

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