Place Name: Sierra County
Place Description: State: California
Elevation: 8,373 Feet
Prominence: 1,253 Feet
Elevation Gain: 2,471 Feet
Lists: Tahoe-Ogul, Western States Climbers Emblem, Sierra Peaks Section
No Trails, No Problem
English Mountain is a remote peak in the Tahoe National Forest that sits on 3 major peak lists and attracts peak baggers from all over the region. No trails anywhere near this peak, but that’s the fun part!
- Access roads are in good shape
- Fun rock scrambling
- Multiple lakes in area
- Long drive from the highway
- Lots of brush if you take a bad line
- Wildfire smoke on the day we went
For being the biggest mountain in the area, English Mountain remains relatively hidden from the thousands that drive over Interstate 80 and Highway 89 daily.
Don’t let that discourage you. This is a great peak with easy access roads and it’s also a coveted Tahoe Ogul and Sierra Peaks Section Peak.
Accessing English Mountain starts from Highway 89 by following Henness Pass Road into Jackson Meadows Reservoir. The paved road runs for 15 miles just past the dam before it turns to dirt.
After another 2 miles, turn left onto Meadow Lake Road. The turnoff is just before Catfish Lake. This road was in good shape up to the parking spot. Basically, park anywhere and find the best path up the mountain.
Trails are non-existent on this mountain. This is one of those choose your own adventure kind of hike. After taking off Meadow Lake Road, we walked up through sparse forest and low brush. It’s easy walking but does gain elevation.
Climbing higher up, we found a gully that led up towards some granite outcroppings. These are easy to skirt around before needing to climb a few. On the way up, we went up and over the rocky ridge that leads to the summit ridge. On the return, we found easier walking by dropping down to the left of the rocks.
To gain the summit, some scrambling is involved Most is class 2+ and if you find yourself in any terrain that is class 3+, you are making it harder than it needs to be.
Once on the summit, there is a very large area to hang out. There is an antenna that is solar powered. The register is in the box. Unfortunately, our views were crushed by smoke from the Dixie Fire. I’d assume the views from here are very nice. We did make out Black Buttes, Old Man Mountain, and Signal Peak.
The Final Word
I really enjoyed English Mountain. The drive in is long, about 25 minutes, however its easy. The off trail hiking is a welcome change of pace from some of the other peaks in the area.
It took us just under 4 hours of hiking and was a great 1/2 day of fun in the Sierras.