Back to index TRT - Segment 2 - Brockway Summit to Tahoe Meadows
Trip Date:  06/30/2015

: 22.1 Miles

Vertical Gain: 3200'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate   Hard    Strenuous
TRT Segment 2 Trip
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TRT Segment 2Trail Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 39 15.508, W 120 03.869     End Coordinates:   N 39 18.777, W 119 53.853

Car Shuttle Req'd:   Yes Parking Directions:   For the parking area on Brockway Summit, take Highway 28 to Tahoe Vista, and then turn north on Highway 267, North Shore Road.  Follow this highway 2 3/4 miles to the parking area on the left (east) side of the road.   There is also a smaller parking area on the other side of the road, but it may be difficult to see right away up a dirt trail about 200 yards near the TRT kiosk.
For the parking area for Tahoe Meadows, follow the Mt. Rose Highway (431) north toward the Mt. Rose Summit and park at the large lot on the west side of the highway.  This is where you will end up at the end if travelling this segment clockwise.
Hazards of Note:   The first 15 miles are a constant uphill, with about 800 feet of elevation gain the last 3/4 of a mile before Relay Peak.  Much of the middle section is unshaded. Crowd Factor:   Moderate.  The middle section of this trail is in Mt. Rose Wilderness area and bicyclists are not allowed along this stretch.
General Notes:
From the parking at Brockway Summit the trail starts off at a TRT kiosk and immediately starts the gradual climb from 7020' feet that will eventually take you to Relay Peak, 15 miles away and at over 10,300' in elevation.  The first few miles are through forested area, parallelling the Mardis Peak road on your left for much of this time, at some points only a couple hundred feet away.  Eventually the trail starts to climb at a higher grade, and a few nice views of Lake Tahoe to the south soon appear, as well as views to the west toward Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley now far in the distance.  There are three or four large meadows that you will walk through, dominated by Mule Ear plants but including Indian Paintbrush, Pansies and Lupine as well.
There is a section that takes you to the top of the current spine of the mountain you are climbing which offers some nice views to the north into Nevada, but then the trail turns back to the south and as you pass into Nevada and the Mt. Rose Wilderness area, the forested area opens up to low brush and plants, offering spectacular vistas toward the lake and toward Incline Village and the Nevada side of the lake as you continue to climb to the east.  Just south of Rifle Peak is a small rocky outcropping that can climbed using a use trail just past it that winds up around it to the northeast, with the payoff of an amazing view of Crystal Bay 3000' below.
The trail continues to climb up and around Rose Knob, and then between miles 14 and 15 the trail climbs another 800 feet via 6 long switchbacks that are brutal and seem to never end.  Once at the top of Relay Peak, however, Mt. Houghton and Mt. Rose are in view, and the communications tower offers two choices for continuing on the TRT, one that is a mile shorter than the other.  The shorter section heads down to Frog Pond, where you can then turn north at the TRT sign to head another 3/4 mile to reach the refreshing Galena Falls, a year round water source fed by a natural springs.  From here it is 2 1/2 miles to the end at the Mt. Rose parking area and the conclusion of the hike.

Looking back at the west side parking area as you first head up the trail.  There is parking at the kiosk just a few hundred feet past this as well. The trail start
The official trail start for this segment, with parking on dirt for a few cars just outside of this picture and to the right.
Trailhead sign 
Lots of cleared brush along the first mile of this trail.  Lots of work has been done here recently. Cleared brush 
There are a number of pretty amazing Mule Ear meadows the trail passes through over the first 3-4 miles. Mule Ear Meadows Mule Ear Meadows
Mule Ear Meadows
At one point past the meadows the trail popped up just high enough to see Alpine Meadows ski area to the west, as well as the Donner Range which the Pacific Crest Trail passes along the top of. Alpine Meadows 
Most of the signs on the trip are pretty straightforward, but this section has some really interesting ones.  This one required paying attention to so as to not get off on the wrong trail. Pay close attention
Just before crossing into Nevada, the trail offered some nice vistas to the north, toward Truckee and the area east of there. Looking North
The last view of California and Agate Bay before the trail crosses over into Nevada and the Mt. Rose Wilderness area. Last California View Mt. Rose Wilderness
This great section of trail climbed up through wildflowers on both sides to then present this vista of Tahoe far below. Wildflower view 
A close look at Crystal Bay and Incline Village, a mere 2500' feet below the trail. Incline Village
Into the Nevada side the trail opened up from the forested area, and this rocky outcropping just south of Rifle Peak offered an amazing lunchtime viewpoint. Exposed section
The vista from where I stopped for a lunch break, and offered a toast to my late father on his 87th birthday. Lunch spot Lunch spot
Just when you thought the trail couldn't possibly keep going up it does, around the southeast tip of Rose Knob and then further up to Relay Peak. Rose Knob Trail going up
Looking down at the peninsula that separates Crystal Bay from Agate Bay and Nevada from California. View down 
Some have been known to access this section of the TRT from down below here, a good 2500' feet below. Far down
The first, and least enticing water sources along this section of trail is here at Mud Lake.   Mud Lake 
Even at this altitude of almost 9600' feet the wildflower display just doesn't quit. More Wildflowers
At each switchback spot there is a tease as to where you need to get, the communications equipment just over the other side of the actual Relay Peak (off to the right.) Relay Peak equipment Relay Peak equipment
Having survived the grueling switchbacks on the south side of Relay Peak, I can be seen trudging down the trail in search of a source of water to replenish the 3+ liters I had already gone through on this day. Relay Peak
After that climb, there was no question as to which way I was going to head from here, cutting a mile off from the longer route. Decisions...
Near Frog Pond, this sign wasn't very helpful pointing out many ways to continue, but heading the lower path is the one to take to get to Galena Falls and a great source of year-round water. Helpful?
There are no words to describe how good it felt to hear and then see this falls right where it needed to be to make sure I was able to replenish my empty water bladder.  Whew! Saved!
About a mile from the end, I could see Tahoe Meadows, where the next section of the TRT passes through on the way to Spooner Summit many miles further to the south.  Tahoe Meadows
If I were to ever do this section of hike again, which is enticing for the fantastic views, I would start at this side and hike counter-clockwise.  A few miles of uphill followed by 15 miles of downhill would be a better choice on a warm summer day. Other way
GPS track of the hike starting in the upper left and heading to the right.  Almost all of the way is up, and this is the highest section of the entire TRT passing well over 10K feet in elevation near Relay Peak. GPS Track of the hike