Red Lake Peak
Red Lake Peak

Place Name: Alpine County

Place Description: State: California
Date: 09/18/2018
Elevation: 10,063 Feet
Prominence: 1,463 Feet
Miles: 3.2
Elevation Gain: 1,543 Feet
Lists: Tahoe-Ogul

  • Difficulty
  • Solitude
  • Kid Friendly
  • Summit Views

Fun Class Three Summit To Cap A Short Hike

Red Lake Peak has a decent use trail from the Highway 88 parking lot. Short hike with solid elevation gain. Once up to the summit block, there is a Class 3 summit block on solid rock with some exposure.



  • Fun class 3 climb
  • Decent use trail
  • Can combine with other peaks


  • Don’t take the “shortcut” I took
  • Took a bit to find the right spot up block
  • Some exposure

Looking for some off-trail fun and a chance to take down two Tahoe-Ogul List peaks? Then you have come to the right place. Red Lake Peak stands at 10,063 feet above sea level.

There are no official trails to Red Lake Peak, however, the cross country route is mostly above the tree line and easy to follow. Basic knowledge of hiking off trail is expected if attempting this hike.

The best place to start this hike is from the parking lot north of Highway 88 where you would access the PCT or Meiss Lake Trail. Some hikers will follow the PCT then head over cross country to the ridge line, however, you can start your ascent directly behind the bathrooms.

There is a small use trail through here and in no time, you will be above the trees and working your way across the open ridge towards the peak. I made a mistake on my ascent and cut across the south face of the peak trying to shave off some distance. I would not recommend this approach as it is very steep and very loose. Would have been a lot faster to follow the ridge top and climb along that.

Some Class 3 Climbing

Once we gained the ridge and reconnected to the main use trail we pushed the final climb to the summit blocks rather easily. I pulled out my phone and started reading reports up there to find the best route up the large volcanic slab. The best way I found was up a little chimney that had some rocks perfectly placed to stand on while going up. I then hit an open area that had two options, up climb and follow the spine to the summit However there was high exposure on both sides. The other option was to down climb through a little crack to ledge about 4 feet wide and follow that.

The start of the climb up the summit block.

As someone that despises exposure, I down climbed to the ledge and followed it to the next area. This started a climb which led me in a counter clockwise direction and up to the summit. There is small area to sit and I found the register in a white plastic tub.

The summit gives you amazing views of the Carson Pass and Ebbett’s Pass area as well as Lake Tahoe further to the north. The hike to the summit was only 1.6 miles.

Make it a 3-peak day

From here, one could simply return  back the way they came or they could cross the high open ridges and summit another Ogul List peak, the 10,059-foot Steven’s Peak just a couple miles away. We decided to push on and tackle the second peak, not knowing that we would also cross over Crater Lake Peak on the way.

Adding on Steven’s Peak will turn this into a wonderful 6.6-mile hike and a 3-peak day!