We recently hiked Mount Rose on our first smoke-free day. This is a 12 mile there and back with an 1876 elevation gain easily accessible from Northstar, North Lake Tahoe and Truckee. Lassen Peak, Freel Peak, Stampede Reservoir, Reno and Carson City, and of course Lake Tahoe were all in view. (That line of white was smoke lingering far enough away for us to enjoy the blue sky and clean air.) Starting at 8900ft at the Mt Rose Summit Pass parking area, the trailhead is somewhat hidden behind the bathrooms, but once there the signage is very good. Often we will take the southern route toward Radio Tower (near Relay Peak) and loop back along the Tahoe Rim Trail for a high elevation hike. But this day we wanted to summit Mount Rose so we took the most direct route using the Tahoe Rim Trail to the turn off to Mt Rose. At this intersection, we enjoyed Galena Falls and the water cascades down the exposed rock and seeing the brilliant green valley below. From here till the summit, the route is a steep ascent to 10776, but worth the views.
What to Bring
We recommend carrying plenty of water, healthy food, adequate clothing for comfort and protection, sturdy shoes, hiking poles (this hike is not level), a map, a backpack, and a good attitude. My “go-to” summer clothing choices include synthetic shorts and t-shirt, double layer of synthetic socks, broken in hiking shoes or boots, windbreaker, hat with chin tie, wool sweater, and wool hat. The latter two are for emergencies. In my backpack, I carry a first-aid kit, space blanket, compass, map, knife, food, phone, bandana, the wool layers, and car keys in zipped in.
Check the weather and avoid high elevations if there is a chance of lightening. Be sure to tell someone where you will be and when you are expected back. Distance hiking requires more preparation than a stroll around the neighborhood, but when you have your provisions, weather is good and your health allows, the rewards are wonderful. The summit will forever be in your memory each time you look at the mountain.
From North Lake Tahoe, drive up Highway 431 (Mount Rose Highway) from Incline Village past the Lake Tahoe Lookout parking, past the open meadow, past the small parking on the right. At the summit there is a paved parking lot and bathrooms on the left. Park there and the trailhead is just behind the bathrooms.