Waterhouse Peak

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Waterhouse Peak


  • Quaking aspens near Grass Lake en route to Waterhouse.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Skinning up waterhouse.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Views south toward the central Sierra from Waterhouse Peak.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Snowshoers and canine friends enjoying the solitude of Waterhouse. Stevens Peak (10,059') rises behind. - Waterhouse Peak
  • Views of Lake Tahoe. - Waterhouse Peak
  • Preparation for the down. - Waterhouse Peak
  • Looking north at Pyramid Peak in the Desolation Wilderness.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Many lines to plan for on neighboring Stevens and Red Lake Peaks.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Skiing the trees of Waterhouse Peak.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Riding the well spaced glades on Waterhouse Peak.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Finding some fun among the trees.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Skiing the well spaced glades on Waterhouse Peak.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Aspens near the bottom of Waterhouse Peak.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Skating across Grass Lake on the return to the car.- Waterhouse Peak
  • Waterhouse Peak from Highway 89.- Waterhouse Peak
Overview + Weather
Low avalanche risk. Mellow terrain. Old-growth forest.
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Max slope angle: 
15-30 degrees
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Total Distance: 
3.50 mi (5.63 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,700.00 ft (2,346.96 m)
Vertical descent: 
1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


For a relatively small mountain, Waterhouse Peak has a lot to offer. The north facing slopes are laced with old-growth mountain hemlock and white fir, and these beautiful stands of trees help keep powder fresh during the cold winter months long after storms have passed.

Don't pass up an opportunity to ride Waterhouse during big winter storms. The gentle slopes of Waterhouse's north aspect are almost absent of avalanche terrain, making it a great option for beginning backcountry skiers and storm skiing powderhounds alike. Add to this the peak's close proximity to South Lake Tahoe, and Waterhouse becomes a good choice for all experience levels.

The popularity of Waterhouse means there are typically multiple snowshoe and skin tracks to help lead you to the summit. Whether you're breaking trail or following tracks, the most direct route is to gain the eastern shoulder by skirting around the east end of Grass Lake at the base of the peak. Toward the summit the glades will open up, and on clear days you'll have magnificent views of Mount Stevens and Red Lake Peak to the south. From the summit, descend through the north facing glades down to Grass Lake.

Parking and access for the peak is found at a series of pullouts adjacent to Grass Lake on Highway 89. Park at the fourth or fifth pullout that is closer to the east end of Grass Lake (the first couple of pullouts provide access to the more advanced terrain of Powderhouse Peak).

Make sure to check Sierra Avalanche Center's daily winter avalanche bulletin to help inform safe backcountry decision making before venturing out.


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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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(67 within a 30 mile radius)

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