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Hike of the Week: Martis Peak and Mt. Baldy

August 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Extreme Tahoe

Vistas, Lakes and Wildflowers: Martis Peak and Mt. Baldy

Description: Every Saturday during the summer, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association will feature a hike that highlights an amazing vista, a beautiful alpine lake or a meadow blanketed in beautiful wildflowers. All of the hikes begin at 8am. Please register for all TRTA guided public guided hikes by visiting this link.

Martis Peak and Mt. Baldy: Join us for a hike that will meet at the end of Martis Peak Road, also known as 16N92 or try this hike on your own! Hike 0.7 mile to the Martis Peak Lookout and then head back down to the TRT and travel east toward Mt. Baldy. Please register here.

This hike is all about views, so start it off right with a 0.7 mile hike to the Martis Peak look-out at the end of Martis Peak Road. The look-out is actually a building with walls and windows, or you can stand out on the deck. Many people snowshoe to the look-out in the winter, and it is nice to go inside and get a break from the cold. The look-out stands tall at 8656’ and you are rewarded with 360° panoramic views of the Tahoe Basin, northwest toward Donner Pass, North toward the Sierra Buttes, Northeast toward the Black Rock, and into the high desert of Nevada. It is incredible! Do not forget your camera on this hike.

After your Martis Peak adventure, turn around and follow the road to where it intersects with a dirt road. This is where you turn left, and the Tahoe Rim Trail can be accessed 0.2 mile down the road. The TRT will follow the dusty road for about 0.25 mile north to a fork. Stay to the left and walk hike about 300 yards north to a trailhead that has parking space. This is part of the old Western States Trail, and as Tim Hauserman explains in his Official Guide to the Tahoe Rim Trail, “it is also known as the Capital to Capital Trail because it once linked Carson City to Sacramento.”

The TRT will continue east through the woods, but in 0.5 mile it will reach an open saddle with a northern vista. Take a moment to look around. You are hiking through a forest of red fir, western white pines and even some hemlocks. Here is where the trail will steepen as you traverse 0.3 mile to a ridgeline that has views into a large U-shaped valley; the drainage for Juniper Creek which drains into the Truckee River. The trail will now angle south for 0.4 mile to a road, and then ascends 0.2 mile south to the end of the road.

Back on trail, you will begin a moderate climb to a ridge with nice views (but just wait; the views are going to get better). Just 0.2 mile south you will discover a rock pile west of the trail that has sweeping views to the south, west and east. Then turn yourself to the north and be amazed by beautiful views of Castle Peak, Donner Lake, Truckee and the Boca and Stampede Reservoirs.

Are you ready to step into the state of Nevada? Now, you are on a bi-state hike, as well! Take a moment to notice how you have also traveled into more of an alpine environment with fewer and smaller trees, as you are now above 9,000.’ The trees you see now are the hardy lodgepole pine, western white pine and whitebark pine. The TRT will soon angle north east traversing below Mt. Baldy (9271’). Beyond Mt. Baldy, you enter the Mt. Rose Wilderness. This is a good place to take a break, eat some lunch or snacks and then turn around and hike back to your car.

Distance / Expected Duration: Approximately 6 miles

Difficulty Level: Easy Moderate to Difficult Strenuous Herculean

Starting Elevation: 8,400’ to Mt. Baldy at 9,271’

Fitness Level and/or Special Skills Necessary: This hike is possible for beginners, because at any point you can turn around and head back to the trailhead. Martis Peak is a must.

Water on the Trail: Carry at least 1 liter of water per person on this hike.

Trailhead/s: Just past Brockway Summit, heading north, you will turn right on Martis Peak Road (16N92). Please look at a map before driving to this location, so you know where you are going. Parking is at the end of Martis Peak Road.

From North Lake Tahoe
If driving from Kings Beach, take HWY 267 towards Truckee. Pass the Brockway Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead, and after you reach the summit of the highway travel less than ¼ mile. The Martis Peak access road will be on the right hand side of the HWY, Forest Service Road 16N92. It is closed with a gate in the winter, with limited parking in front of the gate. Carpool if you can!

Hike smart this summer!
• Make sure you carry sufficient water and snacks.
• Dress appropriately for the weather. Bring layers of clothing. The weather changes quickly in the Sierra.
• Wear proper footwear. Take care of your feet to prevent blisters and other foot issues.
• Tell someone where you are going, and when you are expected back.
• Carry a cell phone that you can use to call for help, if you get into trouble.
• Pack a simple first-aid kit in your pack.
• Stay within the limits of your ability and let common sense be your guide before and during your adventure.
• Leave no Trace this summer! Follow the LNT 7 principles. Care for our wild places and trails!

Trail Etiquette
• Cyclists yield to hikers and hikers and cyclists yield to equestrians
• Always travel at a safe, controlled speed and alert other trail users as you approach from behind.
• Never approach or harass wildlife or domestic animals on the trail. Please do not feet wild animals. It negative impacts their health and survival.
• Stay on the trail. It’s there for a reason!
• Please do not pick wildflowers. Let everyone enjoy them. Some wildflowers are protected by law, and you could get fined for picking them.

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