I was heading to the East Side of the Sierra to pick up a small handful of
summits in Alpine County with Kristine, who lives just across the border in
Nevada. My route would take me along the length of SR88 across the Sierra.
On my way from San Jose, I spent the day
on the west side of the range Jeeping around and picking up a large
collection of minor summits, most of them forgettable, and none of them
requiring more than a mile roundtrip from where I parked. This was mostly a
Jeeping exercise, exploring an area of the Eldorado National Forest mixed with
lands owned by the Sierra Pacific logging company. The weather today was heavy
overcast with 60% chance of rain that only left a few sprinkles, but muted views
This is a small hill in the southeast corner of Jackson, surrounded by a mix of
residential and industrial development. I on the undeveloped
Nevill Ct on and walked up from there, on
and some cross-country. There is at the end
of a dirt road coming up from the north (the route Julie Ann Gregg used on PB),
marking the summit. Jackson Butte can be seen prominently a few miles to
, other views are mostly flat. Just over ten minutes for the
Though it has less than 400ft of prominence, it was the most prominent
summit of the day. It is located south of SR88 and the community of Pine Grove,
and the centerpiece of the diminuitive . There is
a small network of trails through the area. The park entrance is from the north
off SR88, conveniently named Mt. Zion Rd. It is a very short hike from the
parking lot to the top that is crowned by originally
constructed in the 1930's, currently maintained by CAL FIRE. There is also a
small shaded nearby built as an Eagle Scout project
more recently. are limited due to trees.
This is the top of Meadow Vista Dr in Buckthorn, a drive-up, or rather,
. The lamest of the day's summits.
This summit lies on a private parcel on the divide between Tiger Creek and
North Fork Mokelumne River, surrounded on three sides by the Eldorado NF. Access
is from Buckthorn at SR88, taking paved Tiger Creek Rd to the PG&E powerhouse
at the base of the peak's SW Ridge at the east end of Tiger Creek Reservoir. A
well-graded road climbs 1,300ft from to
that feeds the penstock dropping to the powerhouse. This
would get most vehicles within about half a mile of the summit on its north
side. A lesser road not shown on the topo map leads around the mountain to get
one closer. I parked on the east side and went up , through
moderate brush, helped some by , taking about 10min to
reach . No views.
After returning to the Jeep, I spent the next hour and change driving back out
to SR88 and then higher into the Eldorado NF. All of the remaining peaks are
most easily accessed from SR88 via paved Mormon Emigrant Trail (also called
Forest Rte 5). The entire area was badly burned in the 2021 Caldor Fire that
threatened South Lake Tahoe and was one of the biggest Sierra fires on record.
From Mormon Emigrant Trail, Forest Rd 9N68 passes within a few hundred feet of
Anderson Ridge's summit on . It took only a few minutes to
reach the flat , shrouded in fog now that I was in the cloud
Leek Spring Hill
The on Leek Spring Hill is easy to reach via well-graded
Forest Rte 54, a few miles west of Mormon Emigrant Trail. A microwave repeater
installation can be found adjacent to it. Plummer Ridge, upon which both
structures lie, forms the southern boundary of the Caldor Fire.
No views on this drive-up today.
This is of volcanic rock along Mormon Emigrant Trail. One
can park within about 10yds of the summit and do the
in less than a minute.
Iron Mountain Ridge
A short distance further along Mormon Emigrant Trail from Brown Rock,
of Iron Mtn Ridge can be found just off the pavement. Crews
have been working to remove burned trees from near the roadway to keep it clear
when they inevitably start falling. It's with charred
snags and fog, the buckthorn growing back with a vengeance.
This summit is located a few miles west of Mormon Emigrant Rd along Forest Rte
52. The road passes just below the summit on , making
for a quick hike to the top. A couple of modest boulders lie at
These last four are on the east side of Mormon Emigrant Trail. Pave Silver Fork
Rd (Forest Rte 7) heads east and north off Mormon Emigrant Trail to Kyburz on
US50, passing around the south side of . A
climbs halfway up the west side of the peak. Moderate
brush is growing quickly in the , but no serious
bushwhacking yet. There are two summits of similar height to this one, the
northern being the highest according to LoJ and PB, but I doubt they've been
carefully surveyed. I went to and back
in about 20min.
These last three summits are all located north of Alder Ridge, accessed via
lesser Forest roads where high-clearance is recommended. It's easy to get lost
in the maze of roads that service both logging and recreational activities, so
best to know where you're going - there are no road signs to help you out once
away from the pavement. Decently-graded Forest Rd 10N68 forks north off paved
Silver Fork Rd, wrapping around the east side of Peak 6,340ft. Much rougher
10N28C then climbs to the summit from the north, making this
. The summit lies on
the boundary between USFS and Sierra Pacific parcels.
Leaving the decent 10N28 north of the previous peak, rougher roads took me
northwest to Peak 6,660ft in a few well-earned miles. The summit area has been
very and it appears they are still not done. On a
Saturday, I could drive the various roads to get close, the highest not shown
on the topo map. I in a mix of mud and shredded branches that
served as a road to reach within 1/6mi of the summit on its north side. A
short walk through the allows one to feel the
incredible power of modern logging techniques. No tree is too tall, big, or
dense that it cannot be reduced to toothpicks with relative ease.
is a rock outcrop that provides the best-defined summit
of the day.
Another 30min of driving on Forest roads led me to of
Peak 6,740ft. The steep slope leading to was the
of the day, taking about 20min for the roundtrip. The Caldor
Fire had done a similar number on this peak as the previous 5-6, leaving few
trees alive, none untouched. After returning, I attempted to continue southeast
on the road I'd parked along, but soon found it blocked by
I could not move. After several such blockages, I ended up driving partway back
out before finding 10N29 that would lead me back to 10N28, Silver Fork Rd,
Mormon Emigrant Trail, and finally to SR88.
It was close to 4p by the time I had showered and returned to the highway.
I would continued driving SR88 over Carson Pass and into Gardnerville,
NV, where I had dinner with Kristine at the Overland Restaurant. Afterwards, I
would find a quiet place along the East Fork Carson River on the edge of town
to spend the night.