Place Name: Alpine County
Place Description: State: California
Elevation: 9,584 Feet
Prominence: 544 Feet
Elevation Gain: 2,070 Feet
An Obscure Peak Along Ebbett's Pass
Lookout Peak is one of the peaks around Ebbett’s Pass that definitely gets overlooked. With lots of great summits in the area closer to campgrounds and the highway, this one sees little visitation. Don’t let that fool you. This is a really nice hike with lots of options to add on other peaks.
- Beautiful area
- Combo of nice trail and cross country
- Road has a nasty rock area
- Lots of cattle
- So much smoke (on my visit)
Lookout Peak is one of those summits that lies on the Tahoe Ogul List that makes little sense. It’s located very far to the south on Ebbett’s Pass, has no trail to it, and is just obscure, even to that area.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy peak. In fact, Lookout Peak lies in some beautiful country with forested hillsides, large meadows, and big valleys. Unfortunately, the day we visited California was being ravaged by wildfires and it was extremely smoky!
Drive up Highway 4, Ebbett’s Pass Highway where you will turn off on Pacific Valley Rd. This road leads into Pacific Valley Campground and then beyond. Not even one mile past the campground, there is a serious obstacle in the road.
This rock ladder would require the right vehicle and driver to clear. If you can, the road is an easy drive to the trailhead afterwards. If you can’t, you have a mile of road walking in your future.
A very nice trail leads across the creek bed and meadow and starts up into the forest. It appears to be well used and we ran into a couple of bow hunters coming out. There are lots of cows back here and they mostly scurry off when you come across them.
Follow the trail all the way to the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness sign and the start cutting cross country. The terrain was not that difficult with sparse forests and large open hill sides with deer and cattle. Once the first climb is made, it turns into a giant open valley that leads into Willow Flat. Very pretty country!
The final push to the summit is easy enough with some scree and grassy slopes. There is a benchmark and register which shows this peak does not get a ton of action. By this point, the smoke was so thick you could barely even see Peep Sight Peak a couple miles away, definitely not much of a lookout on this day!
We had intentions to head over to Peep Sight, however, with the increasing smoke and my young son on the hike, I didn’t want to breath in anymore of that stuff so we followed our tracks back out.
The Final Word
This is a very pretty area of the Sierras and the wilderness back here doesn’t get a lot of traffic outside of deer season. There are quite a few other peaks including, Peep Sight, Bull Run and Henry that can be linked up to make a full and exciting day. I’ll more than likely be back to tag the rest of these at some point.
If you are chasing Oguls like me, Lookout Peak is a fun day. I just hope you get better conditions than I did!