Nov 2, 2019

Trip Length: 2 Hikes
State: CA
Distance: 4.4 mi
Gain: 1,800 ft
Peaks: 3

Tahoe National Forest

Hike 1
Hike 2

Steamboat Mountain

2.6 Miles, 950 Gain

7,347 ft
167 ft
6,860 ft
120 ft

Steamboat Mountain is a relatively obscure peak lying between French Meadows Reservoir and Hell Hole Reservoir in the Tahoe National Forest. I was planning to meet up with family near Loon Lake later in the afternoon on Saturday, but I wanted to try and get a short hike in on the way up. I chose to take the scenic route up Mosquito Ridge Road, enjoying the fall colors in the canyon. By the time I arrived at the turnoff for Forest Service Road 48.14 it was already mid-afternoon. Fortunately the road goes most of the way to Steamboat Mountain. The road was in decent shape, rocky in a few areas, but likely accessible to most high clearance vehicles. I stopped near a large down tree in the road, leaving a short hike through the forest to the summit. There was a nice clearing at the summit overlooking Hell Hole Reservoir.

Rubicon River and McKinstry Peak from the summit of Little Steamboat Mountain.

Little Steamboat Mountain was less than a mile from Steamboat Mountain, so I decided to make a quick detour while I was in the area. I travelled through some dense forest, eventually arriving at the volcanic summit of Little Steamboat, this time overlooking the Rubicon River drainage and the upper end of Hell Hole Reservoir. I returned on mostly the same route, arriving back at the car in time to do one additional short hike. 

Chipmunk Ridge North

1.8 Miles, 850 Gain

7,238 ft
298 ft

After returning to the main road I took Forest Service Road 48.8 leading to the next peak, North Chipmunk Ridge. The road was in good shape, but bush had started to encroach in places, leading to some unavoidable scratching on the side of the car. Most of the approach was in forest, but there was a clearing near the summit with views to Steamboat Mountain. On the way back I stuck to the ridge, finding that to be a better route.