Meiss Lake


Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 7.0 miles round trip
8550 feet
+850, -850 feet
Navigation Map
Time Full day
Season Mid-December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Carson Pass and Caples Lake
Start Meiss Sno-Park, 0.1 mile west of Carson Pass on Highway 88.


Meiss Lake, located in the Upper Truckee River drainage, is a wonderful tour of varying terrain and scenery. You will find the initial climb to a broad saddle moderately steep, the following descent less steep but you are confined to a relatively narrow drainage, and finally a kick and glide across a meadow to the lake.

A ski hut is located in the Upper Truckee River drainage 1.4 miles north of the saddle and 1.1 miles south of Meiss Lake, and is operated by Sierra Ski Touring. Rumors are that it is in need of extensive cleaning.

Meiss Lake is the first stop on more difficult one-way tours to Echo Summit, Big Meadow and Caples Lake.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 1.0
Elevation change: +300, -50 feet

From the Meiss Sno-Park (1) work your way west for 0.5 mile while climbing gradually and then ascend northwest for another 0.5 mile until you reach the obvious broad saddle (2). Early and late in the snow season you may find the south-facing slopes leading to the saddle partially barren. Also, take care to avoid the slopes beneath the southwest ridge of Red Lake Peak, which may be avalanche prone.

Miles: 1.0 - 2.4
Elevation change: -400 feet

Descend north down the gully for 1.4 miles until you reach two old buildings (3) that are operated as the Meiss Ski Hut. You lose nearly all the elevation in the first half of the distance. You will probably find the skiing easiest on the side-slope east (right) of the creek. Once down in the meadow-like terrain you will want to stay on the east (right) side of the creek.

Miles: 2.4 - 3.5
Elevation change:
-100 feet

Continue north through meadow-like terrain for 1.1 miles until you reach Meiss Lake(4).

Miles: 3.5 - 7.0
Elevation change: +550, -300 feet

Retrace the route for 3.5 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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