Tamarack Peak may not look too exciting considering its proximity to taller peaks in the area, including Mount Rose and Relay Peak, but this 6-mile loop that encircles the peak is one of the most spectacular hikes in the area. With less than 500 feet of elevation gain throughout the hike, you can rush through the round-trip in two or three hours. However, a slower pace is rewarded with incredible views of both Lake Tahoe, western Nevada, and a magnificent waterfall at the halfway point.
You will begin your hike at the Mount Rose Trailhead parking lot. Follow the trail for about a half mile until you reach the junction. Turn right onto the Tahoe Rim Trail, and continue uphill for another mile. Once you reach the pass, the majority of the uphill is finished. From here you will traverse along the northeastern side of the peak, and you will begin to see the waterfall in the distance. Once you reach the falls, you will meet another trail junction. The path to the right leads to the summit of Mount Rose. Continue following the Tahoe Rim Trail that bends to the left. After a few uphill switchbacks, you will hit another two trail junctions. Turn left at both.
For the next 2 miles you will follow a fire road around the southwestern side of the peak. Here you will be greeted with expansive views of beautiful meadows and the Tahoe Basin. When the route begins to run parallel with the highway, watch for a sign for the Mount Rose Trailhead. Once again you will turn left, then follow the small trail for a half mile back to the parking area. For a slightly more challenging hike, you can summit Tamarack Peak. There is no maintained trail, but the ascent is mostly rocky and without vegetation, which makes for an easy summit.