Place Name: El Dorado County
Place Description: State: California
Elevation: 9,497 Feet
Prominence: 1,417 Feet
Elevation Gain: 1,757 Feet
Off Trail Fun!
Waterhouse Peak seems to get more visitation in the winter. This fall day we had the entire mountain to ourselves. Beautiful forested hike, no trails, just pick the path of least resistance and go!
- Off trail hiking
- Nice summit area
- Very steep if you pick the wrong line
- Bush whacking in the lower reaches
- Mountain lion tracks (stay aware)
Finding solitude in California is not as easy as one would like, especially in the Lake Tahoe and Carson Pass region. Despite being located next to two highways, Waterhouse Peak offers hikers just that!
The hike starts right at the Luther Pass sign on Highway 89. We parked where there is a little road that’s blocked off. We followed the road for a short distance and then started cutting towards the peak along a small ridge.
The forest is pretty open through here. Eventually we popped out into a sandy open ridge just south of the summit pile. The climb from here was not difficult and afforded us great views of the surrounding area. The Waterhouse Peak summit was quite enjoyable. Based on the summit register, no one had been here in a month.
Thankfully, the weather was fantastic for November and the smoke from the Camp Fire was just a light haze. It’s gonna be dumping snow here tomorrow which is much needed!
On the descent, we walked the ridge line a bit north and cut down. This area was steep, multiple boulder fields. For the descent it was quite pleasant since we could really start cooking downwards. If you try coming up this way from the bottom, you are going to hate life for a couple hours. It’s way steeper than what we came up to the south.
Lots of deer trails cutting across the mountain, heavily used. Also found mountain lion tracks. No bear sign however.
The hike took us 1:45 up but we were taking a slow pace and stopping to see the surroundings. We clocked 1:30 going down, but we also stopped to enjoy the surroundings. I’m really loving these cross country style hikes. Thank God for the Ogul list, or else I would have never thought to climb up here despite driving past it at least 200 times. This was my 9th completed Ogul.