Place Name: Desolation Wilderness
Place Description: State: California
Elevation: 9,975 Feet
Prominence: 535 Feet
Elevation Gain: 3,276 Feet
Lists: Tahoe-Ogul, Western States Climbers, Western States Climbers Emblem Peaks
The Forgotten Gem Of The Crystal Range
When most people think of the Crystal Range in the Desolation Wilderness, the first two peaks that come to mind are Pyramid Peak and the diving board summit of Mount Agassiz. Not much further north along the ridge is Mount Price. If you are traversing the ridge, Price offers an amazing set of slab climbing from Lyons Lake below!
- Views are insane
- Lyons Lake
- Fun slab hiking
- Lyons Lake Trail is long and tedious
- Busy trailhead
- Thunderstorms on summit
If there ever was a forgotten little sister in a mountain range, Mount Price is definitely it! Sitting only a couple miles north of Pyramid Peak in the Crystal Range, Price sees probably 1/4 the traffic of its higher neighbor. The neighbor that is only 8 feet higher.
There is a much longer approach to get to Mount Price, however, the views are absolutely worth it!
The start of the hike is the Lyons Creek Trailhead which can be accessed from Wright’s Lake Rd off of US-50. Wrights Lake Rd. is paved and leads to a large parking area.
The Lyons Creek Trail is very well graded and maintained leading through the forest into the Desolation Wilderness. While the trail follows Lyons Creek for awhile. Around the 4.5 mile mark there will be a fork in the trail. Follow the left fork to Lyons Lake.
The lake is beautiful and the trail skirts around the shoreline.
At that point, leave the trail and start heading up the gully and granite slabs. Although there is a lot boulder hopping and walking on huge granite slabs, it’s mostly simple. None of the terrain I encountered was more than class 2.
Once you get through the large boulders the terrain eases and Price lies straight ahead and Mount Agassiz to the right. Follow this terrain all the way to the summit and reap the rewards of huge views of Lake Aloha and the Desolation Wilderness.
The summit is a large granite slab with a cliff face overlooking Lake Aloha. Needless to say, you are very exposed here. As we sat on the summit, a band of clouds started rolling in and we instantly started hearing humming and buzzing in our ears while all hair on on my arms stood! This was a first for me!
We immediately bounced off the summit and took refuge under some huge slabs just below the summit. It rained for a few minutes and the band passed by.
We had really wanted to summit Agassiz too, although we decided to pass on it as grey clouds were popping up all over the place.
We high tailed it off the open ridges and started to descend back into the drainage. While we were here, we could hear thunder cracking back behind us.
The Final Word
Mount Price is a beautiful destination and one that everyone should check out. The views are phenomenal and the ridge line that makes up the Crystal Range is pretty.
Unfortunately, the lower part of the trail is long and tedious making for what seemed like a long trek back out. The last 2-3 miles seemed to drag on forever.
Lyons Lake was very scenic and if you are into trout fishing, I saw brook trout swimming all over the place. Mount Price is a worthy Tahoe Ogul List Peak and highly recommend it!