Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,925.00 ft (586.74 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
9.80 mi (15.77 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Martis Peak Fire Lookout sits just below the summit of the 8749' Martis Peak on Lake Tahoe's northern edge. The fire lookout, still actively used throughout summer months, has panoramic views of not only Lake Tahoe, but Truckee and Donner Lake, Boca and Stampede Reservoirs and the epic rolling topography of the Sierra Nevada.

The hike to the lookout is a round trip distance of just under 10 miles which includes over 1900' in elevation gain through backcountry single track along the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT). A few spur trails lead to epic viewpoints overlooking the Lake Tahoe landscape along the way, and while the trail is popular and you're likely to encounter a full parking area and a lot of others out on the trail near the trailhead, once you really hit the interior, the crowds tend to drop off and you'll find yourself deep inside the interior of the forests.

The final portion of trail splits from the TRT and follows a forest road for a final steep stretch before it comes to the old wooden fire lookout tower perched quietly on the mountainside. A deck along the tower's exterior lets visitors take in the 270 degree panoramic view. Up here the air is cool and civilization feels distant.

A picnic table sits near the tower, and the summits of the nearby Sierra Nevada roll outward like a wavy topographic blanket.

The total ascent for the trail is just under 2000'. Retracing the route back down will be much easier than the way up!

Owing to its high elevation, much of the trail and area may be under snow throughout the winter and into spring. Alternatively there is a x-country ski/snowshoe route that follows a different course to the lookout as well.

Parking for the trail is along the western shoulder of Highway 267. Be warned that parking is limited and will often fill up during the peak season. There is also no crosswalk to cross the busy highway to the trailhead so be careful here. There are no amenities at the trailhead or along the hike. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Scenic views. Tahoe Rim Trail feels like secluded backcountry.

Cons

Trailhead can be busy. Nearby logging operations sometimes active.

Trailhead Elevation

7,010.00 ft (2,136.65 m)

Highest point

8,655.00 ft (2,638.04 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Horseback riding
Big vistas
Shelters
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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