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Ralston Peak Trail

HARD 342 reviews
#4 of 90 trails in

Ralston Peak Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked loop 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: Loop

dog friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

walking

bird watching

running

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
7 days 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
20 days 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
21 days ago

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

hiking
29 days ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

Really difficult, but worth the views!

hiking
1 month 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.

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

1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous views at the summit. worth the effort.

hiking
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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.

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

Headed up to Ralston Peak from Highway 50. The way to the Peak is clear of snow by now, just a steep hike up to the top. On the way back, explored the trail heading north to Lake of the Woods. That trail is covered in snow drifts in parts, and the snow is rapidly melting so punched through to the bottom more than a few times, but at Ralston Peak I had met a family who had come up that way, so the way is clearly traversable even if it takes some bushwacking to get around drifts and/or hunt for the trail. Tried to hike the "triangle" west of Ralston Peak, but found that the trail of the western side came to a meadow-made-marsh by melting snow, and a cliff face that's still covered in snow that I wasn't willing to attempt to climb, so gave up on that. But the way straight to Ralston Peak was clear, and the view from the top was impressive and well worth the effort!

hiking
2 months ago

Grueling on the way up and scenery isn’t the greatest until you reach the peak. It’s absolutely breathtaking at the top. Probably the best panoramic views of the Tahoe basin I’ve seen thus far. Slightly better than Tallac. Perhaps it was a fluke or the time of day (~10a) but the last 1/3 near the peak there were a lot of bugs. Took me about 2 hours to make it up with many short breaks to catch my breath and slightly over 1 hour to get down. Highly recommend this one but be prepared to earn those glorious views at the top.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful view as usual from Mt. Ralston over a lot of lakes and peaks! This is my favorite panoramic hike. Some snow is still left, but it's really a small patch or two and then one or two medium-sized fields that were easy to traverse with the walking sticks someone left for other hikers to use.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
3 months ago

https://youtu.be/R9FF8s1arZg there is only one patch of snow which is easy to maneuver or you can go around it.

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Hiked on 7/519. Around 6.7 miles & 2500' of elevation. Trail is mostly snow free except for a few patches in the last half mile or so leading up to Ralston Peak. Beautiful views of Lake Aloha, Lake Tahoe and Echo Lakes from the top.

hiking
3 months ago

My 14 y/o son and I climbed to Ralston Peak earlier today (6/29). We did the same trek last year but at the end of July and it was completely different. There’s still a good amount of snow for this time of year and when we got to the peak it was really evident how much snow and ice there still is for this time of year (breath taking). We took our time since it was such a nice day and the views were incredible, plus we may have lost the trail once or twice, but that added to the adventure. Needless to say, this is one of our favorites and we definitely recommend it!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike once again on this trail. Still some snow near the peak. Use GPS because you lose the trial while coming down over the snow.

hiking
3 months ago

What an expedition! Charlie, Tele (my 11 yo yellow lab girl) and I climbed Ralston from The PCT along Echo Lakes. It was good we brought snowshoes, crampons and ice axe. Climbing the snow packed ridge to the summit there were several areas that were steep and hard. A must do again from/on this route. About 15 miles round trip.

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Do not forget sunscreen and something to help you keep your balance on the snow at the top. Also, I didn’t see any but definitely heard bears.

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