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Ellis Peak Trail

 2 votes

6.2 Miles 9.9 Kilometers



1,410' 430 m


-1,410' -430 m


8,576' 2,614 m


7,851' 2,393 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (13°)



The Ellis Peak Trail has some of the most spectacular views in the Tahoe Basin.

Steven Ross


Overall the trail is in good condition, but steep and sometimes unrideable in sections. However the trail provides some fantastic scenic views of Lake Tahoe, Loon Lake and the Desolation Wilderness which makes the ride well worth it. Hikers also frequent the trail, so respect and caution should be made while riding here.

Need to Know

The trail is also accessible by motorcycles, so keep an eye and ear out for them. Also a 4x4 access road intersects the trail on the way to Ellis Lake and near Ellis Peak.


Head West on Barker Pass Road from W. Lake Blvd. (Hwy 89) on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. Follow the road to Barker Pass. The Ellis Peak Trailhead will be on the left about 50 feet after the paved road ends. The trail starts with a 1/2 mile of steep switchbacks which are rideable but make for very challenging climb. There are also other steep sections on the trail which may require a hike-a-bike. A 1/2 mile side trip to Ellis Lake is worth the ride. Take a left turn on the first jeep trail you come across.

This ride is mapped as an out and back, which is a fine option. But there's another option as well: From Ellis Peak, there is a jeep trail on the NE side of Ellis Peak that takes you to a fire road on the edge of Homewood ski area. Follow the fire road several miles and look for a singletrack trail on the left which descends 1.5 miles into the Town of Homewood.


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  4.5 from 2 votes


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Getting forecast...

Ellis Peak is one of the amazing hidden gems on the West Shore (it's my neighborhood). Despite the initial 1/2 mile steep uphill grunt, this ride features some amazing views into Desolation Wilderness. Also for those looking at the map and wondering if this trail connects into Homewood (to the Noonchester trail), it does! This trail can be done as a 15-20+ mile loop by dropping from Ellis Peak to the top of the Ellis Chair in Homewood. It's a fun 2000+ vertical foot descent back to the Homewood neighborhood. The trail is clearly shown on the Adventure Maps. Finding the top entrance can be a challenge for non-locals. Motos and OHVs have been a problem here so USFS has dragged sticks and logs across the entrance to discourage motor vehicle use. (Motos consistently destroy the non-motorized use signs here as well). Look for an old road with a bunch of sticks and logs across it on the east side of Ellis Peak (near the top of the Ellis Peak trail). Sep 22, 2016

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