Mount Rose


Difficulty 5 Advanced
Length 10.4 miles round trip
8850 feet
+2550, -2550 round trip
Navigation Road and map
Time Very long day
Season January through early April
Snowmobiles Not permitted on first mile of road or in Galena Creek drainage. Low elsewhere on road. [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Mount Rose
Start Highway 431, 7.8 miles northeast of Highway 28 and 0.3 mile southwest of Mt. Rose Summit. A building and snow-covered road are located on the north side of the highway. Parking is limited; as an alternative start the tour at the parking area located 0.4 mile to the west.


Mount Rose at 10,776 feet is the third highest peak in the Lake Tahoe basin (Freel Peak is the highest and Jobs Sister the second highest). It's prominence beckons hundreds of hikers on a summer weekend to the summit. In contrast, few people attempt to reach the summit in winter due to the long trek, very steep climb, high winds, and poor snow conditions.

Of course the views from the summit are awesome. The peak sits on the Mount Rose Wilderness boundary and to the south, just beyond exquisitely blue Lake Tahoe, lies the other high peaks of the Lake Tahoe basin — Freel Peak, Jobs Sister, Jobs Peak, Mt. Tallac and Pyramid Peak. It has been said that on a crystal clear day you can see Mt. Shasta and Lassen Peak far to the north.

The high winds that are prevalent on the upper reaches of Mount Rose are certainly in part the result of the abrupt face of the peak. The winds in turn scour the snow that is seldom good. But only a mile away is Mount Houghton, only 286 feet lower than Mount Rose but definitely more hospitable. It offers the same breadth-taking vistas, but is much easier to summit, and weather and snow conditions tend to be better.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 2.4
Elevation change: +550 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski west on the snow-covered road, which gradually turns north up the Third Creek drainage, for a total of 2.4 miles until you reach a saddle (2). The saddle separates Third Creek and Galena Creek. The route to the summit of Mount Rose pretty much follows the summer hiking trail from hear though you will not be able to see it.

Miles: 2.4 - 2.9
Elevation change: -200 feet

Descend gradually north for 0.5 mile into the meadow-like area (3) in the headwaters of Galena Creek. There is no landmark here.

Miles: 2.9 - 3.4
Elevation change: -150 feet

Ski northeast for 0.5 mile until you reach the drainage that ascends northwest (4). In this section the slope you traverse becomes more steep and from here on you should be wary of avalanche conditions.

Miles: 3.4 - 4.1
Elevation change: +650 feet

Ascend the drainage to the northwest for 0.7 mile until you reach a saddle (5) on the boundary of the Mount Rose Wilderness.

Miles: 4.1 - 4.6
Elevation change: +300 feet

Ascend the ridge to the northeast for 0.5 mile until you reach a location where the gradient becomes noticeably more steep (6).

Miles: 4.6 - 4.9
Elevation change: +400 feet

Ascend north for 0.3 mile until you reach the ridgetop between Church Peak and Mount Rose (7).

Miles: 4.9 - 5.2
Elevation change: +300 feet

Ascend southeast along the ridge for 0.3 mile to the summit of Mount Rose (8).

Miles: 5.2 - 10.4
Elevation change: +350, -2200 feet

Retrace the route for 5.2 miles back to the trailhead (1).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
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