3 miles
1,228 ft
-503 ft
2 miles
High Point
Trail Supporters, Builders & Maintainers of Ellis Peak (16E16) Trail


  • Riding Area
    Lake Tahoe, California
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
  • Trail Usage
    Biking Primary
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Global Ranking

Ellis Peak Trail has some of the most stunning views on the West Shore. Those views come with a cost. The first 1/2 mile of this trail is steep. Same with the last 1/2 mile. Everything is rideable, but in 15 years I've never been able to clean the entire trail uphill in one shot. After the first 1/2 mile, this trail pops out onto an amazing ridge. On the left, a cliff with gorgeous views of the lake. On the right, 100 mile views into Desolation wilderness. This is backcountry trail with amazing views and physically demanding. Catch it at the right time of year, and the wildflowers up here are amazing too.

Here's the local knowledge hookup- The best way to ride this is as a large (about 16 miles) loop from the bottom. Take Grand Avenue off Highway 89 to Gnome Trail- Take Blackwood Canyon Alternate to actually see the amazing collection of gnomes.- then do the big paved climb up Barker Pass Road. You'll gain most of your elevation on a lightly used paved road that usually has more bike traffic than cars. From the summit, take Ellis Peak Trail. Grunt out the first 1/2 mile till you pop out on the ridge with it's amazing views. Take the 1/2 out and back spur to Ellis Lake for a cool natural alpine lake stop. We skip the Ellis Peak Trail to the top and ride up the jeep road instead. The trail is an old moto trail and nearly unrideable uphill. The jeep road is still a tough climb, but totally rideable. If you haven't been to Ellis Peak, stash your bikes and make the 1/3 mile hike up there. More gorgeous 360 degree views. From the top of Ellis Peak, we drop down the backside into Homewood, following the Ellis-Homewood doubletrack (mostly singletrack in reality). From the Ellis Chair, follow the Noonchester road to Sunrise trail for a singletrack drop back down to the lake. It's still a solid backcountry ride with lots of climbing and a mix of rocks, roots, summer dust, big descents, huge views.

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More Stats for Ellis Peak Trail (16E16) bike trail
  • Altitude change
    725 ft
  • Altitude min
    7,764 ft
  • Altitude start
    7,764 ft
  • Altitude end
    8,490 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    2 miles
  • Distance down
    5,127 ft
  • Distance flat
    380 ft
  • view trail stats
on Nov 17, 2017
Snow Covered
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Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Directions to ellis-peak-trail-16e16 trailhead (39.071845, -120.230786)
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Ellis Peak Trail... Trail Reports

Nov 17, 2017 @ 8:13am
Nov 17, 2017
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Oct 14, 2018 @ 11:49am
Oct 14, 2018
Ellis Peak Trail (16E16)
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Oct 14, 2018 @ 11:46am
Oct 14, 2018
Ellis Peak Trail (16E16)

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