You are here

Elevation Gain
1,700.00 ft (518.16 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
10.00 mi (16.09 km)
Warming hut
No
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.

The Pole Creek trail follows Pole Creek Road/Forest Road 08, which typically remains closed to traffic and covered in snow during the winter season. The trail sits just north of the Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows ski areas, and in contrast to those polished resorts, it offers access to backcountry skiing and overnight stays in a backcountry hut for those willing to take on the grueling climb.

Beginning behind a closed gate where Pole Creek Road intersects with Highway 89, the climbing begins immediately. Those sticking to the length of the trail will eventually climb over 1,500 feet on its 5-mile course. Pole Creek itself only comes into view once at a point where the trail crosses from the south to the north side; the rest of the trek is through forested backcountry with occasional views of Silver Peak, which is popular for backcountry skiing, as well as the Big Chief rock formations and Northstar ski slopes in the eastern distance.

During snowy periods, the gate at the forest road entrance remains closed; however, in times with less snow, the gate is open and the auto traffic has a tendency to compact the snow into icy tracks. In icier periods, snowshoes may be more desireable than skis. A popular turnaround point tends to be the Pole Creek crossing at 2.5 miles in, though hikers willing to take on the next 2.5 miles and 1,000 feet in elevation gain will reach the Bradley Backcountry Hut, one of the Sierra Club's network of backcountry huts in the northern Sierra that is open for day use stops and overnight rentals. 

The hut, along with the wide meadow and smaller ski bowls in its vicinity, makes for a great place to stop and then to retrace the hike back down. After 10 miles and just about 1,700 feet in total elevation gain, the parking area at the bottom of the hike will be a welcome site!

No amenities of any kind at the trailhead or along the trail. Be sure to park behind the snowmarkers and completely off of the road.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Pros

Access to other backcountry destinations.

Cons

In low-snow times, road can remain open to car traffic.

Pets allowed

Yes

Trailhead Elevation

6,086.00 ft (1,855.01 m)

Highest point

7,595.00 ft (2,314.96 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,500.00 ft (457.20 m)

Address

River Rd
7255
Truckee, CA 96161
United States

Features

Shelters

Typically multi-day

No

Groomed trail

No

Snowmobiles allowed

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.