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Jake’s Peak 9187′

ocation: West Shore – Lake Tahoe, CA
Duration: 1-2 hours
Elevation Change: 2,357′ – from 6,830′ to 9,187
Recommended Map: Emerald Bay, California

Elevation Profile:


Map of General Route:


With some real sweat and skilled skinning, you can wind your way up to a nice view of Tahoe and Desolation Wilderness, in a 2400′ climb above Bliss State Park Headquarters. Half the reason why you’re sweating is to beat the crowds to the top. The ski terrain is only moderately steep, but the skin tracks get icy from high traffic, and set by the local chargers who don’t need a mellow track angle.  The track is also steep to mitigate avalanche danger during the storms and immediately after it stops snowing.  Sometimes locals skin up there when there IS avalanche danger so don’t just follow without knowing where you are going, and why.  There’s a reason why you’ll see missing strips of trees in places. There are some common starting zones you should steer clear from, basically near the top where wind slabs form in most storm cycles.  Jake’s gets skied enough for you to figure it out by just showing up a little late.

For skiing the north and east sides, park near the entrance to Bliss State Park in a long pullout on the east side of the road. Walk across the street and you’ll see the starting skin track. There are a few more pullouts down the road to the south that also work fine.  Wave at CHP and Cal Trans Drivers and say thank you. They are allowing us to park for backcountry skiing. Land managers at TRPA, USFS, and CA State Parks might say positive things about the ski touring scene, but I have never seen them help skiers access public lands. They have only removed highway pullouts and parking opportunities for backcountry skiers in my 30 years here. I’ve been on many steering committees and commented out the wazoo, only to hear BS from them over and over. Backcountry skiing is amazing for the local economy, and it is the reason many of us live here. It is the job of land managers to allow access to public land in the Tahoe Basin  just as much as it is to protect Lake Tahoe water clarity. If I hear the excuse that parking can’t be allowed around Lake Tahoe anymore because of errosion one more time… OK, so thank Cal Trans and CHP please. We actually lost this most important parking pullout in 2016, when TRPA allowed Cal Trans to just wipe it out. We reversed that ridiculous move as a group and got it back.  We are also always one bad parking job away from losing ski access at the Emerald Bay Avalanche Gate. Cal Trans managers ocassionally threaten they are closing it off to skiers, but then they leave and the Cal Trans Drivers leave us alone. Again, this is unofficial parking that CHP and Cal Trans allow. Don’t block the road. Be quick and nice to them. And CARPOOL like your life depends on it. If there is no parking, just leave and go a mile further where you can easily park at Eagle Lake or Bayview Trailheads or Mt. Tallac.

Wow. Everytime I return to edit these West Shore pages, I delete it all and try to be a normal person, and just talk about the ski touring. Then I go off on a rant about parking.  Jake’s is popular because there actually is some parking. And you could also show up at the crack of noon and probably find parking at popular trailheads too. Many other classic and historic ski touring locations in Tahoe have no parking signs down the entire stretch of highway shoulder for no reason. There used to be signs in the 80’s that said “no parking when snow removal conditions exist”. That sounded pretty fair to me. Can’t we get those back? If you ever get a ticket, do not pay it without a fight. If you are not blocking the road or an opportunity for a plow to clear some snow, and you are beyond the snow stakes, CHP has always told me that we can park and go skiing.

OK, I’m relaxed again. Whewwww.

Your jake’s Peak options are many. I’m going to let you figure them out on your own, because this area is crowded enough as it is. Jake’s is pretty close to town, has a great view, and is kind of a fun party. There are ski lines on different aspects wrapping around this mile long ridge up top, so you can find good skiing most any day of the year. It’s almost too easy and good.  I’ll go a few times in early season to test myself and gear and love it. Then I move on to other tours around Tahoe for some variety. But in March and April Tahoe will get amazing backcountry powder conditions, and Jake’s isn’t crowded anymore for some reason.  I guess they start Mt. Biking and Golfing.

We can’t meet up at the Corpus Christie Church anymore to carpool, they put notes on our cars last year. Bummer, its a huge parking lot that no one uses.  The Tahoe City Transit Center parking lot will work going forward.


And please help www.tahoebackcountryalliance.org with donations or your professional expertise. This is our local organization to speak on our behalf.




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