Back to index Little Round Top Ridge to Schneider Cow Camp Hike
Trip Date:  06/25/2017

: 9.5 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1000'

Group Size: 8
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard   Strenuous
LRT Ridge Hike Route
See video of this hike   See video of hike   Download GPXGPX for this trip
LRT Ridge Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 41.803 W 119 59.492     End Coordinates:   N 38 43.538, W 120 02.843  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   Yes Parking Directions:   For the start coordinates take Highway 88 to the parking on the north side of the highway, about a quarter mile from the ranger station parking area across the highway and to the south.  Pay the day use fee (summer only) and find the trailhead just at the west end of the parking lot for the Meiss Meadow trail.
For the end coordinates
take Highway 88 to the turnoff to Schneider Cow Camp Rd on the north side of the road signed "Caples Lake Maintenance Station.   Pass the Caltrans buildings on your right and turn right onto Strawberry Creek Rd.  Continue on this rough, dirt road to the coordinates where there is parking for a few vehicles on your right.
Hazards of Note:   The cross country section to Little Round Top summit has a lot of scree but is easy to navigate.
Depending on conditions the road to Schneider Cow Camp may or not may be open all the way to the coordinates listed.  Closed will add a mile and a half to the trip.

Crowd Factor:   Moderate.  This parking area is an access point for the Tahoe Rim Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.  There will be a number of hikers out, especially on weekends during the summertime.
General Notes:
From the parking area on the road, find the Meiss Meadow trail head and start a climb up to a saddle overlooking the Lake Valley to your north.  From this spot is a small lake (tarn) on the left side of the trail.  Head on to the west toward the ridgeline before you reach this lake, along a fairly obvious use trail which will guide you up the ridge.  For most of the way, unless there is snow, this use trail will lead you directly to the top of Little Round Top peak.  
On the way back retrace your steps to the junction of the trail up out of Schneider Cow Camp which leads to Showers Lake, and take that junction to the west down into the canyon along a number of long zig zags until you reach the trailhead kiosk along the road which comes in from behind the CalTrans station.  Follow this road to the south all the way to Highway 88 if unable to drive back into the area by Schneider Cow Camp.

Heading out from the trailhead at Meiss Meadow parking area.  This first section is along the Pacific Crest Trail. Heading out from the trailhead
Parts of the trail were covered in snow even in June after an abnormally wet winter, but the way is pretty obvious -- head up toward the saddle. First rise
Looking south across Highway 88 from the rise on the trail at 10,300' Round Top Mountain. Round Top Mountain from early on
Mark and Greg B heading up the PCT section of the trail. Heading up the PCT
After the first rise, the trail leaves the PCT and starts up the Little Round Top ridgeline.  Almost immediately, amazing views of Lake Tahoe to the north come in to view. View of Tahoe
Members of the group heading off the PCT and up the ridgeline over a large field of snow.   Over the snow
Once on the ridgeline, there are four rises to head up on the way to the final summit of Little Round Top. First of four rises
A fantastic view of Caples Lake and Kirkwood Ski Resort in the distance. Caples Lake
Looking down toward Schneider Cow Camp, the valley we would head down on our way out after reaching the summit. Views down into Lake Valley
The view of Lake Valley and Freel Peak in the distance from the ridgeline.  Round Lake is visible in the middle of the valley. Lake Valley
Julia and Lisa taking a break and enjoying the amazing views with Red Lake Peak in the distance. Enjoying a break
Mark and Robyn enjoying lunch at the summit of Little Round Top.  Steven's Peak is in the distance. Lunch at the peak
Phil taking in the amazing views all around from the summit. Phil enjoying
The group (minus yours truly the photographer) at the top of the mountain. The group at the summit
Making a quick exit from the peak when thunderclouds started to quickly form above the summit. Heading down as thunderheads form
The group making its way back down the mountain. The group at the summit
Heading cross country down toward Schneider Cow Camp. Heading toward Schneider Cow Camp
GPS Track of the full hike. GPX Track of the hike