Grass Lake to Hope Valley
Via Thompson Peak


Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 10.8 miles one-way
7700 feet
+2100, -2350 feet
Navigation Map and compass
Time Full day
Season Late December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Low
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Freel Peak
Start Highway 89, 6.8 miles south of Meyers at the turnout at the west end of Grass Lake. The tour begins on the north side of the road across from the turnout.
End Highway 89, 0.8 mile east of Luther Pass and 1.8 miles north of Picketts Junction (junction of highways 88 and 89). There is a turnout on the south side of the highway.


This is truly one of the best tours in the South Lake Tahoe area. It transforms the tour to Thompson Peak into a one-way journey that anyone who enjoys exploring will love. A circuitous route and varied terrain keep you anticipating what is ahead. Best of all, on this tour you will feel very much alone.

And of course you will be treated to outstanding scenery from Thompson Peak, which juts out like the prow of a ship. Nearby is Hope Valley, but peak after peak to the south are in plain sight. Most obvious are Pickett Peak and Hawkins Peak along with those of the Carson Pass area.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.4
Elevation change: +300 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski west and then north for a total of 0.4 mile until you reach a creek (2).

Miles: 0.4 - 1.7
Elevation change: +800 feet

Climb northeast and parallel to the creek at a steep angle for 1.3 miles until you reach the saddle (3) to the east of Peak 9078. Only attempt this ascent when there is absolutely no avalanche danger. Tucker Flat is just to the northeast of the saddle.

Miles: 1.7 - 2.3
Elevation change: +350 feet

Ski east on a broad ridge and as you approach the head of the creek that lies to the north leave the ridge and continue east for a total of 0.6 mile until you reach the west end of Freel Meadows (4).

Miles: 2.3 - 2.8
Elevation change: +100, -50 feet

Ski southeast for 0.5 mile until you reach the southeast end of Freel Meadows (5). There is a small section of trees that divide the meadow into two.

Miles: 2.8 - 3.1
Elevation change: -100 feet

Descend to the southeast for 0.3 mile until you reach a small drainage (6).

Miles: 3.1 - 3.8
Elevation change: +200, -50 feet

Ski south and away from the drainage for 0.7 mile until you reach the summit of Thompson Peak (7).

Miles: 3.8 - 4.9
Elevation change: +250, -200 feet

Ski north and then northeast for a total of 1.1 miles until you reach the mid-point in an open slope (8) to the southwest of Peak 9587.

Miles: 4.9 - 6.2
Elevation change: Nil

Leave the open area to the east (right) and traverse northeast on a bench for a total of 1.3 miles until you reach flat terrain (9) at the northeast end of a ridge.

Miles: 6.2 - 6.5
Elevation change: -150 feet

Descend north for 0.3 mile until you reach a saddle (10).

Miles: 6.5 - 7.7
Elevation change: -950 feet

Descend a drainage northeast, work your way onto the small ridge that heads east, and finally drop south off the ridge for a total of 1.2 miles until you reach Willow Creek (11).

Miles: 7.7 - 8.8
Elevation change: +100, -150 feet

Ski south along Willow Creek for 1.1 miles until you reach a relatively flat, open area (12).

Miles: 8.8 - 10.8
Elevation change: -700 feet

Ski southwest, picking up a road somewhere along the way, for 2.0 miles until you reach the ending point (13).

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