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Signal Peak: Southeast Face

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Signal Peak: Southeast Face

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  • Singal Peak with Lake Mary in the foreground.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • The hike starts at Fordyce Road or NF Road 85.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • The hike follows Rattlesnake Creek for 1.5 miles before gaining the ridge.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Skinning up to Signal Peak ridge with Cisco Bute in the backround.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • A summer jeep trail is a good ascent option to the ridge.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Skinning up Singal Peak's steep South Face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Aproaching the abondoned Centeral Pacific Railroad Fire Lookout Station.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • The summit area is typically requires some hiking on scree.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • The lookout is a great place to take a break.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • The lookout was built in 1909 and abandoned in 1934.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Hikiing to a drop in point on the summit ridge of Signal Peak.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • The radio towers in the backround on the summit.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Survey marker on the summit.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Droping into the steep south face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Singal Peak's south face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Singal Peak's south face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Singal Peak's south face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Singal Peak's south face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Enoying the view on the lower seciton of Signal Peak.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Singnal Peak's south face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • A look into Woodchuck Flat.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • South face of Signal Peak.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • South face of Signal Peak.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Singal Peak's south face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Singal Peak's south face.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Ride the south face back down to Fordyce Road.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Riding back to the car on Fordyce Road.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
  • Signal Peak's west side seen from I-80.- Signal Peak: Southeast Face
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy access from I-80. Views of the Sierra crest. Easy to navigate.
Cons: 
Low elevation.
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Region:
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Max slope angle: 
15-30 degrees
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Total Distance: 
4.25 mi (6.84 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,650.00 ft (1,722.12 m)
Vertical descent: 
1,500.00 ft (457.20 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

When there is an average snow pack in the Sierra Nevada, Signal Peak is worth a visit. With the summit sitting at 7,641 feet, the low elevation of the peak often leaves it overlooked by backcountry users who focus their efforts higher up on the Sierra Crest. But don't let the elevation fool you: Signal Peak offers great south and north facing backcountry access.

Signal Peak's southeast face can be reached by skinning up Fordyce Road. Skin up the cedar-lined road that follows Rattlesnake Creek for about 0.5 miles and begin ascending the southeast face. A summer jeep trail provides a great skinning route up to the south ridge. Once on the ridge, continue up to the abandoned Central Pacific Railroad Fire Lookout Station that was in use from 1909 to 1934. The stone lookout is a great place to relax or take shelter from the weather. To access out the north bowls, continue skinning past the radio towers on the summit ridge.

The southeast face of Signal Peak is broad and offers many descent options. The longest run is from the summit near the radio towers. The descent is steep with scattered trees, allowing for some great high speed turns. Continue down to Rattlesnake Creek and ride Fordyce Road back out to the car.

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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(22 within a 30 mile radius)

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