Tragedy Spring to Silver Lake
Via Ridge and Option 2


Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 3.8 miles one-way
7950 feet
+250, -950 feet
Navigation Road, marked trail, map and compass
Time Half day
Season Early December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Low use
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Tragedy Spring and Caples Lake
Start On the north side of Highway 88 at Tragedy Spring, 9.0 miles east of Peddler Hill Maintenance Station and 2.9 miles west of the Silver Lake dam.
End West end of Silver Lake dam on Highway 88. Park in the plowed area at the east end of the dam.


Like the spectacular Shealor Lakes and Silver Fork Ridge tour, this one-way tour follows the ridge that separates Shealor Lakes and the Silver Fork of the American River. However, unlike that tour you end this tour by descending to Silver Lake instead of retracing the ridge back to Tragedy Spring.

Image of Thunder Mountain
Scenery along ridge

This is also a variation of the Tragedy Spring to Silver Lake Via Ridge and Option 1 tour, which entails more difficult navigation. This tour also offers a gradual 0.5 mile downhill run from the ridge before beginning the final haul to Silver Lake.

Image of ice on pine needles
Ice on pine needles

The route along the ridge is filled with a succession of small high points that you traverse, rock outcroppings, weathered trees and magnificent views. On one side of the ridge you look down into the Shealor Lakes drainage and on the other out at the red cliffs of Thunder Mountain that contrast with the snow. Pyramid Peak becomes larger and larger as you ski north.

Image of Thunder Mountain
Thunder Mountain (center) and Martin Point (left). Courtesy of D. Vaughn.

Although the tour described here does not go to Peak 7620 and the end of the ridge, you can easily add the additional 1.6 miles round trip and complete the tour in a day. Details are provided in the Shealor Lakes and Silver Fork Ridge tour.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.4
Elevation change: +50, -100 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski east and then north on a snow-covered road for 0.4 mile until you reach a large, flat and open area (2) that is a quarry in summer.

Miles: 0.4 - 1.3
Elevation change: +50, -200 feet

Locate and follow the ridge north for 0.9 miles until you reach Peak 7752 (3).

Miles: 1.3 - 2.2
Elevation change: +50, -250 feet

Ski north on the ridge for 0.9 mile until your reach a point to the east of Peak 7681 (4) from which you can clearly see the route north below you. In this section you ski on the ridge until you reach a saddle and then you traverse and climb around the east (right) side of Peak 7681.

Image of skiers on ridge
Easy skiing along ridge

Miles: 2.2 - 2.4
Elevation change: -100 feet

Descend north on the ridge for 0.2 mile until you reach a broad saddle (5).

Miles: 2.4 - 2.9
Elevation change: -300 feet

Descend gradually northeast through fairly open terrain for 0.5 mile until you reach the 7200-foot level (6) in a small drainage.

Miles: 2.9 - 3.8
Elevation change: +100 feet

Traverse generally east and then southeast for a total of 0.9 mile until you reach Highway 88 at the west end of the Silver Lake dam (7). Do not descend at two small tricky sections that you will likely encounter early on in this section. Climb up them and continue your traverse.

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