Max slope angle
15-30 Degrees
Vertical descent
1,500.00 ft (457.20 m)
4.25 mi (6.84 km)
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When there is an average snow pack in the Sierra Nevada, Signal Peak is worth a visit. With the summit sitting at 7,641 feet, the low elevation of the peak often leaves it overlooked by backcountry users who focus their efforts higher up on the Sierra Crest. But don't let the elevation fool you: Signal Peak offers great south and north facing backcountry access.

Signal Peak's southeast face can be reached by skinning up Fordyce Road. Skin up the cedar-lined road that follows Rattlesnake Creek for about 0.5 miles and begin ascending the southeast face. A summer jeep trail provides a great skinning route up to the south ridge. Once on the ridge, continue up to the abandoned Central Pacific Railroad Fire Lookout Station that was in use from 1909 to 1934. The stone lookout is a great place to relax or take shelter from the weather. To access out the north bowls, continue skinning past the radio towers on the summit ridge.

The southeast face of Signal Peak is broad and offers many descent options. The longest run is from the summit near the radio towers. The descent is steep with scattered trees, allowing for some great high speed turns. Continue down to Rattlesnake Creek and ride Fordyce Road back out to the car.

Logistics + Planning

Parking Pass

Not Required


Easy access from I-80. Views of the Sierra crest. Easy to navigate.


Low elevation.

Trailhead Elevation

5,650.00 ft (1,722.12 m)


Nearby Adventures


Mellow open bowl skiing and nice glades off the top. Best run is eastern slope avoiding the tight lower trees altogether. My trip tracker reports just over 2000 foot ascent on this one.
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