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Mount Rose Summit Trail

Reno + East Lake Tahoe Area, Nevada

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Mount Rose Summit Trail

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  • The Mount Rose Summit Trail parking area has bathrooms and informational signs.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • The trail begins behind the bathroom building.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • A map of the area identifies the numerous trails around Mount Rose and the Tahoe Meadows area.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • Climbing to views over Lake Tahoe.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • The first portion of the trail is relatively easy and opens to views of the summit.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • The Mount Rose Trail.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • The Mount Rose Summit towering across a meadow of manzanita.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • Several trails intersect with each other along this hike. This first intersection is the only well-signed junction.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • A waterfall makes a great place to take a break along the hike.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • After leaving the meadow, the trail enters the more rugged and steep portions of the mountain.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • Gentle trail is replaced by steep switchbacks up the mountain.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • The final steep stretch to the top.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • Mount Rose Summit (10,776 ft), with panoramic views over Lake Tahoe and the Reno metro area.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • Views of the summit standing above everything else in the vicinity.- Mount Rose Summit Trail
  • - Mount Rose Summit Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing views. Optional spur trails. Scenic hike.
Cons: 
The summit can be a crowded place in the high season.
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Region:
Reno + East Lake Tahoe Area, NV
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,770.00 ft (539.50 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
10.00 mi (16.09 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
8,915.00 ft (2,717.29 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

At 10,776 feet, the Mount Rose summit dominates the skyline of northern Lake Tahoe, along with the Reno metro area, as the tallest peak along the northern portion of the lake and the third tallest in the Tahoe Basin. Nevada Highway 431 is the highest pass in the Sierra that remains open year round, and the pass between Mount Rose and Tahoe Meadows is a popular area for camping, hiking and winter activities. As such, not only is the summit of Mount Rose prominent over much of the surrounding area, but it is also an accessible and very popular among hikers and snowshoers during the snowy months.

With just under 2,000 feet of elevation gain, the majority of which comes in the second half of the 5-mile trail to the peak, the route to the summit passes several distinct areas. The first is a pine forest on the initial gradual ascent. This route eventually opens up to views of the peak standing above the far end of a meadow filled with manzanita before it reaches a cascading year-round waterfall at about the halfway point of the hike. The waterfall in itself makes a great destination for those not up for powering their way to the summit, and it sits at the fork to several other trails crossing their way through the northern Tahoe mountains, including the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail and the Tamarack Peak Loop Trail.

From the waterfall, the serious uphill begins. After skirting the meadow the trail begins the climb, becoming progressively more steep as it approaches the peak. A series of switchbacks leads to the final push above the tree line and to the initial views of Lake Tahoe shining like an emerald to the southwest. 

Loose rocks mark the last portion of the hike, but the heavy volume of hikers has left a pretty stable trail through them. It's pretty common to find yourself sharing the windy peak with at least a couple others, though a slightly lower false summit sits just a few hundred feet further on the path and typically gets ignored by the folks at the top.

Weather patterns cause this area to be hit with much less snow than most other parts of Tahoe, making the trail doable to those with proper winter gear and abilities. 

The trailhead parking area is typically maintained year round and has a bathroom and trash cans. Be aware that the parking area can also fill up during weekends, when hikers flock to the different trails in the area.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(24 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(110 within a 30 mile radius)

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