Ralston Peak Trail

HARD 362 reviews
#4 of 95 trails in

Ralston Peak Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Twin Bridges, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 6.6 miles Elevation Gain: 2,791 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

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.

snowshoeing
snow
6 days ago

Hiked/climbed today (1/10/2020). Trail is laden with snow, but was easily passable with snowshoes. we made the climb in 5 hours and descended in 1.5 hours. some pretty hairy portions of the ascent sue to the steepness and the fact we took a wide angle approach to the hike to enjoy more miles and more climbing. An overall fantastic hike and much easier than its neighbor, Pyramid Peak. The summit was extremely cold, but the views were magnificent. Desolation was in it's full snow covered glory. A great day and a great climb!

hiking
1 month ago

we hiked this on 22 November early in the morning, it took us about 3.5 hours round-trip, there was a moderate amount of snow near the top but it was a beautiful hike!

hiking
2 months ago

Moderate hike. If you’re looking for views during the hike this isn’t a good choice, mostly forested and alpine meadows the whole way up, with a BIG payoff and view at the top. First 2 miles are easy but get slightly tougher/steeper last 1.5 to the top. Nothing compared to Pyramid Peak just up the road but still a good workout. I am very much out of shape and got to the top in 1h45mins and down in 1h15mins

hiking
2 months ago

Hardest hike I’ve ever done. Go early

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

This hike is HARD! It is steep straight up with little to no reprieve. The trail is relatively easy to follow. This is a thigh and calf burner. If you are not in shape prepare to feel like you are dying. If you are in shape, prepare to use every ounce of strength you have. Take breaks as needed, drink lots of water, carry electrolytes and food for fuel. You’ll need it. There are a few places where the step ups are high and you will need all fours to navigate, same for the descent. Where good shoes. It gets colder near the top so make sure you have sleeves, maybe a cap and gloves if you do this hike during the Fall as we did. The last 1/4 mile is rocky and almost anticlimactic...but wait for it, once you hit the side of the peak get ready to have your breath taken away with the glorious views provided by Mother Earth. All your strength will come back as you stand in awe of this epic view. There are clear views of at least 8 lakes, Tahoe, Fallen Leaf, Upper and Lower Echo, Saucer, Tamarack, Ralston, Aloha, Pyramid, Lake of the Woods, and Susie! I might be missing a few but if you’re using a GPS all of them will be mapped out. There is a couple of notebook boxes for you to sign. If you read this before you go please take a few sheets of paper or a notepad to leave up there. The ones up there are pretty full and washed out. Prepare to be Fulfilled by Earth’s Majesty! (Hiked with my Bestie Debi Penrod)

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. And yes, it definitely is a thigh burner! This one is not easy, but just keep putting on foot in front of the other, take breaks when you need, stay hydrated and eventually you reach the top. For most of the hike, the trail meanders through the forest. But then at the top, you are rewarded with spectacular views in all directions! Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness, Aloha Lake, Echo Lake. Absolutely stunning!

hiking
2 months ago

Ralston Peaks offers nice views of the prominent lakes of Desolation Wilderness as well as some of Lake Tahoe. It's a steep hike but not overly long or difficult. Portions of the way up are pretty. As nice as the views of this area are at the summit, better ones can be had on Pyramid Peak or Mt Tallac. It was still a nice climb with good views none the less.

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic hike. The climb starts almost immediately and has some very respectable grades as you get to the final 1/3 of the hike. Amazing views. A must do for the avid hiker!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike, steep going up but amazing views of Pyramid Peak, so many lakes including Lake Tahoe, Echo Lakes, Aloha Lake, & Lake of the Woods to name just a few.

hiking
2 months ago

The fall colors are nice along the trail. However, today was cloudy and it started raining near the summit. I was soaked and freezing cold. Can't see any views other than a white background with silhouette of trees. Gonna have to come back another time. Btw, the trail head sign said it's 4.1 miles one-way.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this first weekend of October. Beautiful conditions. Started at 0800 and only a couple of cars in the lot. Ran into about 15 people on the way down. Not difficult, but strenuous because of the altitude and elevation. Trail very well maintained. Fantastic views at the top. Some scrambling over rocks the last 200 yards to the summit, and otherwise trail is easy to follow. Took five hours round trip, maintaining a slow pace and taking a long lunch break.

hiking
3 months ago

I'm a determined 56 yr old in average shape. Very tough hike up. Even tougher hiking back down. But I'm so glad I did it. The 360°view from the summit is surreal!

hiking
3 months ago

First 1.5 is pretty easy. The rest is a decent amount of climbing. Amazing views from the top!

hiking
4 months ago

Very intense climb - especially when not quite prepped for it!

hiking
4 months ago

Really difficult, but worth the views!

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike, came at it from lake of the Woods and loved it. Great views, almost or just as good as the views from pyramid peak. From lake of the woods it took us 2hrs to reach the peak (moderate but meandering pace) and 1hr 45 for the return.

hiking
4 months ago

it's nature's stairmaster for 4+ miles...bring lots of water...did only a bit over 2 because of very late start and water supply (brought 2 litters)..

recorded Ralston Peak Trail

4 months ago

Beautiful hike. The views are gorgeous and mesmerizing at the summit. Must hike trail in Tahoe region.

hiking
4 months ago

Great and difficult trail. Took me a little under 2 hours up and an hour and fifteen back. Bring lots of water, and the views of Tahoe and other alpine lakes from the top are totally worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Did ralston peak to lake aloha and lake of the woods as well since it was in the area. Ralston is very steep with lots of incline but the view is good once you are up there. Lake aloha was beautiful. Lake of the woods is nice too. Bug spray is a must. Trail is somewhat shaded.

hiking
5 months ago

The payoff is amazing. Probably the best view in the Tahoe area from the summit. Do it!

hiking
5 months ago

Perfect day hike. Windy on top but an amazing view of Tahoe and Desolation

hiking
5 months ago

Gorgeous views at the summit. worth the effort.

hiking
5 months ago

Wow! That was tougher than expected, but still a great hike. Did not see any mosquitoes. I must tell you, it has one of the best views from the top. Absolutely beautiful. Day 2 of 5 hikes. Off to Lake Aloha tomorrow, via Echo Lake.

hiking
5 months ago

Great, challenging hike with amazing views of Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe from the peak. We did Pyramid Peak last year and thought the views from the top of Ralston Peak were better. It took us just over 2 hrs to get to the top and about 1.5 hrs to get down. Many previous reviews mentioned issues with bugs, but we had zero problems in that area. If you start early (before 8am), you’ll be shaded much of the way up. Bring enough water because there is nowhere to refill along this trail. I went through 3 liters of water over the course of the 4.5 hours we were out there. Ralston is definitely a calf and glute burner on the way up and a quad burner on the way down. Enjoy!

hiking
5 months ago

I would rate this as difficult unless you're a really experienced hiker. It was a lot of fun and the views at the top were totally worth the exhausting hike! Our border collie enjoyed it too!

hiking
bugs
rocky
5 months ago

Great hike, partial shade, so put on sunscreen. It is a steep climb with little flat, the views at the top are amazing but lots of bugs.

5 months ago

We did this hike last Saturday. it's a tough hike but so worth it when you get to the top.

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