Ralston Peak Trail

MODERATE 109 reviews
#6 of 78 trails in

Ralston Peak Trail is a 6.4 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
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3018 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

horseback riding

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. Our Guide 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. Elevation gain: - 2,735ft (from 6,500 - 9,235ft)

2 days ago

My soul is filled with the holy spirit of Mother Earth. Such beauty!

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

17 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

This was a great hike, you have to work hard to get to the top. Early snow for us but nothing unmanageable, glad we brought wind jackets for a quick lunch at the top. Must have been couples day, each group we passed was a couple. Coming down the trail is an equally good workout, my feet felt the downhill.

hiking
23 days ago

Such a good workout with the reward of amazing views at the top!

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This is a very steep, strenuous climb, but the distance is relatively short, and it was much more pleasant than I remember. The trail was still moist and verdant, the wild flowers were blooming once the elevation is gained, and the view from the peak is spectacular. We ran into very few hikers all along, and we were solo at the top of the peak, enjoyed our late lunch, awed in nature. The view was a bit hazy though perhaps due to Yosemite wild fire.
We’ve done the part of this trail several years ago when we hiked to Lake Aloha via this trail, out and back (didn’t make right to the peak, kept going straight to the lakes direction). It was around the same time of a year (early September), but it was in the year of draught, so everything was drier, Lake Aloha was mere puddle, and the whole hike was much longer, so finishing up the long hike with this steep trail left me an impression that this trail was strenuous, relentless, hot and dry. It makes a huge difference if the trail is green with flowers, and offers a panoramic view as a reward.
It’s a great, relatively short, very hard hike with a spectacular view as a reward.

hiking
1 month ago

Totally worth the view recommend having some pretty good cardio and fresh pair of legs as it is a pretty strenuous hike to the top but the view is worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

Steep trail, for sure... but well worth it. Some great views of Desolation, Tahoe and the Valley. The boys (10, 9, and 7) and I summmitted today. Take lots of water and a good hat, as shelter is scarce towards the top.

hiking
1 month ago

My favorite Hike. A great training hike, this will make you work for it.

1 month ago

Great trail. Gorgeous views. Unrelentingly steep to the top but a very manageable length. Did it with my 10 month old on my back and had a great time.

hiking
1 month ago

total butt-kicker. i wouldn't rate this as moderate- really. it's uphill and pretty steep in some sections the entire way. i'm a relatively fit person and i hike all the time and this still kicks my butt every time i do it. that being said if you're a triathlete or a serious athlete, it probably is a moderate hike for you. . but for the rest of us i would rate it as strenuous. it's really lovely though. .i mean the views from the summit are truly mind blowing and the wildflowers as you come out of the manzanita grove on the final ascent are really sweet (especially in AUGUST!) my caveat would be to bring a TON of water and drink it. i have done this hike twice this summer - and many others in between- and i have managed to become dehydrated both times. the first time i drank 96 ounces and this last time i drank 128 and still suffered symptoms.
i would give it 5 stars on a not busy day but there were lots of people at the summit and there is very little room. one woman answered her phone and had a heated conversation right up there with the rest of us trying to enjoy nature. you would think that someone who appreciated nature would have some manners, but no- she didn't even try to move away from the top. just blocked our views and continued her conversation. most people were lovely though.
i wouldn't recommend bringing your dog although many people did. if you are going to bring your dog, carry plenty of water for it and try to hit the trail before 8am. i am constantly dismayed by people hiking up and dragging their dogs in the heat of the day. just because they do it doesn't mean they are fine. dogs do die on trails bc owners don't know how to recognize signs of heat exhaustion and think that just giving them water will be enough. so if you are going to bring your dog - please make sure it is fit enough for the demands of the trail, go early, carry plenty of water and turn around if your dog shows signs of distress like excessive panting, seeking out shade, lying down and not wanting to move.
for us humans, also be sure you are fit. and if you are showing signs of exhaustion you should also turn around. the way down isn't much easier than the way up when your beat.
the trail forks right at the base of the final ascent. To the right it goes up steeply and it's shorter climb to the summit and to the left it meanders around with more switchbacks and is not as steep from what i hear but it is longer ( i also think that's the way you would go to get to lake aloha but am not 100% sure) . i took the right hand option and while it was very steep, it was only took about 30minutes to gain the summit from that junction (and i stopped to take some pictures along the way and chat with people resting on the side of the trail). not sure how long the other way would take.
in any event, it's a really great workout/hike/view and a must do for those who like that sort of thing.

1 month ago

Great hike, easily accessible from highway 50. The trek up is steep at times, but the mileage is fairly short and I made it up in a little under 2 hours. Few water sources, if any, so bring enough with you. The summit has one of the most complete views of Desolation that I've ever seen, amazing! Not much scrambling and the trail is pretty obvious the entire way up.

hiking
2 months ago

It was a rough hike but definitely worth the views. Uphill the whole way, probably should have read more reviews to prepare us. My husband and I did Mt. Tallac last summer and this was comparable in difficulty.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful!
My friend and I are still beginners when it comes to bigger hikes so this one wore us out! The hike up was really steep but the views at the top were definitely worth it. We couldn't believe how breath taking it was up there. It took us 4 hours to get up (but again, we are beginners) and about an hour and a half to get down. A must-do/see for sure.

hiking
2 months ago