|Length||3.7 miles round trip|
|+700, -700 round trip|
|Season||Late December through mid-April|
|Snowmobiles Use||Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]|
|USGS Topo||7.5' series, Tahoe City|
|Start||Highway 89 at the intersection with the Pole Creek road, 6.2 miles south of Interstate 80, 7.5 miles north of Tahoe City, and immediately south of Pole Creek.|
The Pole Creek Loop can be skied by itself or the first 1.3 miles can replace the first 2.4 miles of the Bradley Hut tour. This short, easy-to-follow tour has considerable elevation gain but on the positive side it has easy access, a road to follow, and protection from the wind.
The Pole Creek Loop is described counter-clockwise, which makes the uphill steeper, but the downhill more gradual.
The first 1.3 miles of the tour follows an abandoned section of road. It is the intention of the Forest Service to allow nature to reclaim it. As of the winter of 2001-2002 there was one small washout across the road, several trees had fallen across it and trees were starting to grow in the roadway, but it was still very passable.
Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 0.2
Elevation change: Nil
From the trailhead (1) walk north along the edge of Highway 89 for 0.2 mile until you reach a small snow-covered road (2) on the west (left) side of the highway. Exercise extreme caution when walking along the highway.
Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.2 - 0.4
Elevation change: +150 feet
Ascend south on the snow-covered road for 0.2 mile until you reach the point where the road turns west (right) (3) and becomes less steep. This section of road is very steep and narrow; some people skiing the loop in the reverse direction walk down this section.
You can replace the first 0.4 mile of the tour described above by walking north along the highway from the trailhead to the north side of Pole Creek (approximately 50 yards) and then ascending a very steep slope through trees to the west for 0.1 mile until you reach the point where the snow-covered road described above turns west (3). The trees are dense, but not so dense as to make the skiing difficult.
Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 0.4 - 1.3
Elevation change: +400 feet
Continue west on the road as it climbs steadily for 0.9 mile until you reach road junction (4) just to the north of a bridge across Pole Creek. The road straight ahead leads to Bradley Hut while the Pole Creek Loop tour turns south (left) and crosses the bridge.
Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 1.3 - 1.8
Elevation change: +150, -50 feet
Turn south (left), cross Pole Creek on the bridge, and then ascend on the road to the southeast for a total of 0.5 mile until you reach a road junction (5). The road to the west (right) is part of the Saddle Trail Loop and the Silver Peak tours. The Pole Creek Loop tour continues west on the main road that you have been traveling on.
Waypoint 5 to 1
Miles: 1.8 - 3.7
Elevation change: -650 feet
Descend generally west on the convoluted road for 1.9 miles until you reach the trailhead (1).