|Length||9.6 miles round trip|
|+2350, -2350 round trip|
|Navigation||Road and map|
|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.|
From the small summit of Silver Peak, the views are magnificent in all directions. Squaw Valley Ski Resort to the south is only 1.6 miles away but more than 2000 feet below. There are also excellent views of Lake Tahoe from both the ascent route and the summit.
The tour to the summit is for strong skiers who seek either the summit of a windswept peak or excellent telemark terrain. If telemarking is your goal, pick a time when the snow is fresh or spring conditions exist. Due to the elevation and orientation of the final ascent route, the snow near the summit tends to stay good for a considerable time after a new snowfall. However, much of this tour is through avalanche terrain and you must exercise appropriate care.
The tour to Silver Peak follows the Saddle Trail Loop tour for the first 3.6 miles. An interesting variation of a trip to Silver Peak is to return via that loop.
Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 1.9
Elevation change: +650 feet
From the trailhead (1) ascend generally east on the convoluted snow-covered road for 1.9 miles until you reach a road junction (2). The north (right) fork leads to Pole Creek and Bradley Hut. This tour follows the west (let) fork toward Silver Creek.
Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 1.9 - 2.0
Elevation change: +50 feet
Follow the west (left) fork and climb gradually for 0.1 mile until you reach a road junction (3). You may miss this junction if it is not already tracked. The road to the west (right) is part of the Saddle Trail Loop tour.
Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 2.0 - 3.0
Elevation change: +300
Continue on the south (straight) fork, climbing gradually for 0.7 mile and then climbing at a steeper angle for 0.3 mile until you reach an obvious overlook point (4). The excellent views from the overlook include Silver Peak to the west.
Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 3.0 - 3.6
Elevation change: +250 feet
Continue on the road to the northwest for 0.6 mile until you reach an obscure fork in the road (5). The obvious road that continues northwest (straight) is part of the Saddle Trail Loop tour. The Silver Peak tour continues on the obscure road to the south (left).
Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 3.6 - 4.1
Elevation change: +100 feet
Continue on the road to the south (left) for 0.5 mile until you reach the entrance to a bowl (6) that has a rock outcrop high above it on the ridge.
Waypoint 6 to 7
Miles: 4.1 - 4.8
Elevation change: +1000 feet
Leave the road and ski northwest up a broad ridge; when the broad ridge disappears, continue to climb to the northwest and to the summit of Silver Peak (7). For safety, stay in the sparse trees where possible though this is not a guarantee for safety. If the snow near the top is wind-packed, leave your skis near the last trees and hike the final 150 feet of elevation gain to the summit. In any case, as you approach the summit, head for a rock outcrop just to the south of the peak from where you can see the summit. To the south of the actual summit is a wooden cross and the remains of a crashed airplane.
Return to trailhead
Miles: 4.8 - 9.6
Elevation change: -2350 feet
Retrace the route for 4.8 miles back to the trailhead (1). You can shorten the return and enjoy a steeper descent by skiing directly from the summit to mileage point 5. Stay on either flank of the bowl if you are not completely sure that the bowl is avalanche safe.