Rising inconspicuously above the east side of Lake Tahoe is the unnamed Peak 8738 – its descriptor on US Geological Survey topographic maps. Rising nearly 600 feet above the saddle it shares with neighboring Snow Valley Peak (9,214’), tremendous views expand the horizon in all directions. Marlette Lake can be seen in its entire splendor directly north. Virtually all views of Lake Tahoe are unobstructed all the way to the Desolation Wilderness to the west and other major West Tahoe peaks further north.
Two major access points reach to the peak – North Canyon Road and the Chimney Beach Trail. Both are accessible by bicycle during warm summer months, and by foot without too much snow between May and November of a typical year. Either way gets you within a quarter mile and 360 feet of the lofty summit. While reaching the summit rocks requires nothing but good lungs and strong legs, the last few feet to the top involve some climbing skills. No ropes mind you, just fortitude, a little daring, and respect of, albeit no fear of heights. If you handled the jungle gym as a grade-schooler, this should not be too challenging a feat.
North Canyon Road | Directions
Getting to North Canyon Road is easy. The road starts at the Spooner Lake Recreation Area. For the most direct route, access the parking area off of Highway 28, just north of the Highway 28/US 50 intersection. The road is quite popular with hikers and bikers, as it is the quickest route to Marlette Lake. Parking costs $10, and bikers or walkers can get in for $2. If you want to avoid paying, just park at Spooner Summit off of US 50, which is free, but it adds about a mile each way.
Take the North Canyon Road to about its highest point. You will pass the turn-off to Snow Valley Peak (on the right) while heading steeply up hill. Not much farther on the left is a sign heading to a trail to Marlette Lake. Take this road and walk steeply uphill for a little over a quarter mile. You will see Peak 8738 rising to your left and some large rocks on the right. To reach Peak 8738, head straight up the slope, which is very steep, and bushwhack up to the top, just a quarter mile away. A safer way is to head up from the right which is less rocky, although heading up from the left is more fun.
Reaching the summit of Peak 8738 is no easy task. It requires some moderate distance and elevation gain, and of course some scrambling at the top. Depending on your ability level, either route will take between 4-6 hours round trip. Why Peak 8738, you may ask? Well, I must admit a sense of adventure that I have for obtaining lesser known summits in the Lake Tahoe area. Many hikers, visitors and locals alike, tend to visit better known summits like Mount Rose, Genoa Peak, Granite Chief, or Mount Tallac. But few take the time to find hidden gems either named, or unnamed, like Peak 8738. Maybe after reading this article folks can come up with a name to give this wonderful peak. Maybe they can call it Chimney Peak, Lakes View Peak, North Canyon Peak, South Marlette Peak, or even Fleischmann’s Peak? Just a thought.
Source: Galena Times