Back to index Markleeville & Jeff Davis Peaks Hike
Trip Date:  07/06/2014

: 6.5 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1200'

Group Size: 2

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Markleeville & Jeff Davis Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Markleeville & Jeff Davis Peaks Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 38.602  W 119 54.717     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 88 to Blue Lakes Road.  Drive about 7 miles on this paved part of Blue Lakes road and park at the coordinates where the road has a turnout area.  
Hazards of Note:   Significant elevation gain on the road up from the parking area.  
Areas of the way up to Markleeville Peak are loose scree, and good route-finding is necessary to avoid hitting scree on sloped areas.
There are some areas of manzanita brush which we were able to avoid successfully by hiking around them to the east on the way to Markleeville peak.
Crowd Factor:   Negligible.  Both of these peaks are not nearly as as well known hiking destinations as many of the others around the area, and as the routes there are mostly cross-country the chances of running into any others is remote at best.
General Notes:
From the parking area on the road, we crossed over the two-lane highway and walked just a little bit south to head up a gully to the east.  Once you attain the ridge, heading generally NNE, you will find a small trail that leads part of the way toward Markleeville Peak before turning to the SE direction.  There was a pile of rocks (cairn) there which indicated where to leave the trail, and then it is completely cross-country heading up to the peak.  We stayed near the top of the ridgeline south of the peak, and made our way to the summit that way.
After Markleeville Peak, we headed back down and picked up the same trail we had found before, this time heading toward Jeff Davis peak.  About 1/2 mile from the peak there is another rock cairn on the trail indicating where to branch to the left, on a path that is even less distinct than the one you have been on up to this point.  This path will take you all the way to the base of the Jeff Davis peak basalt core, which towers over you with overhangs on almost all sides of the formation.  

Parking spot just off Blue Lakes road.  We crossed and headed up just about the point where the deer sign is in the distance. Parking spot
Views early on to the west and the northwest from the climb. To the west To the west
Tristan on the trail coming up from the road now far below. Tristan on the trail
A good look at our first destination, Markleeville Peak. Markleeville peak
Checking out Jeff Davis peak from the saddle heading up to Markleeville Peak.  We would come back this way and hike a use trail all the way to the base. Looking across at Jeff Davis
Tristan making his way up the cross country section with The Nipple prominent in the background. Looking toward the nipple
Great views from near the to up toward Stephens and Waterhouse peaks, with Hope vally in the distance on the right. Hope Valley
Tristan almost to the top.  Raymond Peak and some of the mountains far to the south toward Ebbetts Pass are also clearly visible. Final ascent to the peak
A toast to making it to the top of Markleeville Peak. On the peak
Myself at the peak with the southern mountains far behind. Setting our sights on the next one
Closeup of our next destination peak, Jeff Davis. Jeff Davis Peak
Tristan enjoying the stop for lunch at the base of Jeff Davis peak's basalt core. Tristan's lunch spot at Jeff Davis
Just a glimpse of Lower Blue Lake out to the west from Jeff Davis peak. Peak views
A look down at Tamarack Lake, and the Indian Springs valley to the south of our area. Tamarack Lake
My mug emblazoned at the top of Jeff Davis peak. Selfie on Davis
Some of the many wildflowers we found on the way.  The pansies were abundant on the actual 'trail' we were on at one point, and that was the only clump of Indian Paintbrush I spotted all day. Wildflowers on the way Wildflowers on the way
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike