Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
840.00 ft (256.03 m)
Trail type
3.30 mi (5.31 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.

The route to the Portola "P" follows ORV roads through forest before heading up on a thigh-burner of a climb - with nearly 850 feet in total climbing over the 1.7 mile trek to the top - to reach the "P".

The large white "P", visible on a hillside overlooking the town of Portola, makes the end of a short but challenging hike. Beginning along the forest road signed 14M03, the route follows a very gradual grade along a dirt forested path. This portion is accessible by ORVs, however it's unlikely you'll run into any other vehicles or people if opting to do this hike. At about .75 in, the route leaves the forested path and begins climbing a steep, slippery track up the side of the mountain. There is no shade from this point on, and the climb is steep. Eventually, before hitting the summit of this trail, another path forks to the left leading the last portion to the large pile of painted rocks.

Views across the railroad town of Portola and surrounding mountains and forest are epic. 

From here, you can retrace your route back down to the parking area.

To reach the parking area, follow the main dirt road from the end of the Gulling St pavement at the ballfields. The final half mile on this dirt road generally requires high clearance - those with passenger vehicles can park at the ballfields and tack on the extra distance in walking. While several dirt roads diverge, follow the primary road straight until it reaches a fork with several other roads and wide area suitable for parking. A forest road marker signs the path from here.

There are no amenities of any kind anywhere along the hike. Be prepared for sunny conditions with no shade during the warmer seasons.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Wide views.


No shade on portions.

Trailhead Elevation

4,980.00 ft (1,517.90 m)

Highest point

5,655.00 ft (1,723.64 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California


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