The Red-Blue-Silver Tour
- Mostly moderate hilly terrain with a few somewhat steep sections (30 degrees) late in the trip
- 19 miles in 2 days
- Cumulative gain, loss: +3000', -4200'
- Avg. Relief: 300'/mile
- Topos: Markleeville (15'); Carson Pass, Pacific Valley, Ebbetts Pass (7.5')
This tour starts at Red Lake (Forestdale Creek trailhead), traverses upper and lower Blue Lakes,
and ends at the eastern Highway 4 road closure along Silver Creek, about 7 miles west of the
Hwy. 89 junction. Unless the road isn't open that far, in which case you may have as
much as 5 miles of additional skiing or hiking to wherever the road closure happens to be.
Anyway, this is a fun and scenic late-winter tour, especially the second day. Parking
should not be a problem at either end. The north-to-south direction described is preferred,
due to the north trailhead being about 1000' higher. The tour's average
elevation, 8100', makes this tour suitable for late winter to early spring.
Cathy Bianco at Lower Blue Lake
From the Forestdale Creek trailhead near the east end of Red Lake, ski southward, then west of south, for
about 3 miles to a pass at about 8900'. Contour south from there, and then descend to Upper Blue Lake.
Continue on to the southern end of Lower Blue Lake. From here, you turn eastward to Tamarack Lake (via
groomed snowmobile roads, or more directly over more interesting terrain), and then onward (probably best
to just follow the snowmobile road at this point) eastward to the vicinity of Summit Lake, which might
be a good general area for a campsite.
Next, ski around to the south of the sharp rock-horn of Peak 9700', and pop over the 8900'
pass to the north of Reynolds Pk. From that pass, more or less contour southeast over a ridge into the
Eagle Creek drainage. Then, cross over the drainages of Eagle Creek and Raymond Mdws Creek, and
drop down to the snowed-over Highway 4 (somewhere above where Hwy 4 starts to drop down the canyon).
Cruise Hwy. 4 downhill for a couple of miles to the winter closure.
The final pass, north of Reynolds Peak; photo by Neal Cassidy
An account of our 3/98 Red-Blue-Silver trip, plus more photos.
General info and disclaimer about backcountry skiing
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