Andesite Peak


Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 4.6 miles round trip
7200 feet
+1000, -1000 round trip
Navigation Road and map
Time Half day
Season December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Low
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Norden
Start The plowed loading zone on the north side of Interstate 80 at the Castle Peak Area and Boreal Ridge exit. Parking is at the Donner Pass Sno-Park located at the east end of the frontage road on the south side of the interstate at the same exit.


Andesite Peak is a dramatic setting for a snack or lunch. The peak is the high point on Andesite Ridge, overlooks Castle Valley to the east, and has a primo panoramic view that includes Castle Peak.

Image of skier on the summit of Andesite Peak on a stormy day with Castle Peak in the background.
On the summit of Andesite Peak on a stormy day with Castle Peak in the background

The tour described here is the easiest route to the summit. More adventurous skiers can follow the more direct Andesite Ridge and Peak tour. This tour can also be turned into a loop as described in the Andesite Ridge Loop tour.

Unlike the nearby Castle Valley tour, which is visited by a couple hundred skiers and snowshoers on a fair-weather weekend day, the tour to Andesite Peak receives much fewer visitors. On the down side, the west side of Andesite Ridge is open to snowmobile use; Castle Valley is not.

Be aware that cornices can form on the east side of the peak — stay clear of them.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.3
Elevation change: +100 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski east on the snow-covered road that parallels the interstate and then northwest for a total of 0.3 mile until you reach a road junction (2). The road continuing northwest (straight) leads to Castle Valley, which is closed to snowmobile use, while this tour follows the road to the west (left).

Miles: 0.3 - 1.0
Elevation change: +200 feet

Turn west (left) and ski west and then northwest on the road for a total of 0.7 mile until you reach a meadow (3). You may see a road junction shortly after beginning this section; take the north (right) fork if you do. Just before reaching the meadow you pass a gently sloping, open area to the northeast (right) that is ideal for playing and practicing techniques.

Miles: 1.0 - 1.9
Elevation change: +350 feet

Ski northwest for 0.9 mile until you reach the west ridge of Andesite Peak (4). Don't expect to see any roads in this area except where they form corridors through trees. Only follow a road if it goes in the correct direction and if you see a road junction always take the north or east (right) fork.

Miles: 1.9 - 2.3
Elevation change: +350

Climb east and then north up the west ridge of Andesite Peak for a total of 0.4 mile until you reach the summit of Andesite Peak (5).

Miles: 2.3 - 4.6
Elevation change: -1000 feet

Retrace the route for 2.3 miles back to the trailhead (1).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour