Back to index TRT - Segment 9 - Barker Pass to Tahoe City
Trip Date:  09/11/2015

: 16.7 Miles

Vertical Gain: 2000'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate   Hard    Strenuous
TRT Segment 9 Trip
Download GPX GPX for this trip
TRT Segment 9 Trail Profile

Start Coordinates:   N 39 04.629, W 120 14.096     End Coordinates:   N 39 10.150, W 120 08.923

Car Shuttle Req'd:   Yes Parking Directions:   To get to the parking area for Barker Pass,  take Highway 89 to Barker Pass Road, which is just north of the town of Tahoe Pines.  Drive about 7.4 miles up Barker Pass road to the parking area on the right for the Pacific Crest Trailhead.  The last half mile or so is unpaved dirt road.
For the parking area at Tahoe City, Take Highway 28 to Tahoe City, and then turn west on West River Road.   Follow this for 2/10 of a mile and then turn right on Fairway drive.  The parking area is at the coordinates just about a quarter mile up the road.  The trailhead is on the west side of the road with a signed marker for the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Hazards of Note:   Sections of this trail are very rocky and need careful attention to not roll an ankle awkwardly. Crowd Factor:   Minimal then Moderate.  The first 6-8 miles are along a lesser used section of the TRT, and you may encounter a few PCT thru hikers or hikers potentially heading up to Twin Peaks about 6 miles along the way from Barker Pass.  After crossing Ward Creek Rd you will probably run into more hikers, bikers and runners in the area of Page Meadows.
General Notes:
The Barker Pass parking area is just off a dirt section of Barker Pass Rd, which heads up Blackwood Canyon from Highway 89 for about 7 miles.  From the parking area head north, past the trail marker signs for both the Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail.  The trail starts upward almost immediately, climbing elevation pretty gradually as it winds around the west side of the rocky topped Barker Peak.  About one mile into the trip there is a junction for a trail off to the right, which actually leads to the top of Barker Peak as a diversion, but it is a little bit out of the way and back the way you started so it was passed on by this day.
After climbing about 600' in elevation, the trail passes by a rocky outcropping with some great views of Tahoe (and straight down the other side.)  This is a quick scenic diversion if interested, and then back on the trail some long switchbacks take you down almost the entire 600' in elevation that you just gained hiking from the trailhead.  After the trail finally stops dropping elevation it then begins another series of long switchbacks as you climb again, which continues on past where you briefly trek through Granite Chief Wilderness area, than turn right at the signed junction for where the PCT and the TRT split, heading right to follow the TRT toward Tahoe City.  Less than a mile from this junction is a small use trail off to the left after you pass by the Twin Peaks above you, and this is a 1/2 mile trail which will lead you to the top of Twin Peaks.
From this point on the trail you begin to drop some serious elevation, losing 2000' feet over the next 3 1/2 miles as you head down into Ward Creek Canyon.  You will see views of the back of Alpine Meadows at one point, but for most of the hike through this area you can't seem much more than the trees you are traipsing through.  There is a small spring on your left as you wind around on the north side of Twin Peaks which can serve as a good water source as needed in this area, and then you will cross over Ward Creek on a wooden bridge and turn to the east for the next mile and a half.  
You will Cross the paved Ward Creek Rd about 11 1/2 miles along the segment, begin a climb once again and then in 1/2 a mile catch an old dirt road which will head up with some significant elevation gain until you reach the Page Meadows area at 13 miles into the day.  This is a good place to rest and enjoy the meadow, with either water and wildflowers in the spring or turning aspen in the fall.  
The last three miles are fairly non-descript, but the excitement of finishing up as we got into Tahoe City knowing that the entire Rim Trail was now completed more than made up for any lack of long distance views.
Some of the information board items at the start of this segment.  It is a major PCT pickup and dropoff area so there is info on local places for food and hotels along with trail info. Kiosk at the start
Just heading out at the start of the segment from Barker Pass.
At the start of the leg 
First mileage sign right near the start with the key destinations of Page Meadow and Tahoe City now tantalizingly close. Mileage Signs 
A little bit more than a mile is a cutoff to Barker Peak, the pointed summit in the foreground here which towers above the trailhead location.   Barker Peak
Much of the early section of trail cuts along rocky areas, with some pretty careful steps necessary to not tweak an ankle on some of the loose footing. Rocky Trail 
Right where the trail takes a hard turn to the north is a rocky outcrop which is worth a few minutes of extra time to scramble over and explore.   The views toward Twin Peaks and Lake Tahoe are pretty great from this high perch. Rocky outcrop
Looking straight down from the top of the rock outcropping has some really amazing views both in the distance and pretty much straight down as well. View down
Looking north from the viewpoint toward Twin Peaks.  The one on the right is the higher, actual summit. Twin Peaks
About 4 1/2 miles into the trail, after a long downhill followed by another long uphill, you reach the Granite Chief Wilderness boundary, and only have about 1/2 a mile left before the TRT splits off the PCT and they both go their separate ways. Granite Chief Wilderness 
The trail split where the PCT goes straight on and the TRT then jogs to the left, heads along the south face of Twin Peaks and then bends north.  Trail Split
From the saddle near the top of Twin Peaks the trail begins a significant downhill run of about 2000' over the next few miles.  There is a large meadow on the north side of the peaks that looks like it would be lush and spectacular in the springtime. Back of Twin Peaks
The trail on the backside of Twin Peaks heads down toward Ward Creek Canyon, and there are some nice views of the backside of Alpine Meadows from various points along the trail. Alpine Meadows 
At one turn in the trail nearly down to where there is a crossing of Ward Creek, a spur waterfall drops down the canyon and provides a source of fresh water along the way. Mt. McConnell
The bridge crossing over Ward Creek signifies the end of the big section of downhill, as much of the next few miles mostly parallel the creek as you close in on Ward Creek Road at the 11 mile mark on the day. Crossing 
Right after the paved Ward Creek Roadway the trail joins an old jeep trail, which heads up a pretty steep incline for about a mile until it levels out at Page Meadow. Jeep Trail
As I was approaching Page Meadows, I found my TRT enablers just about the point where there were only four miles left on the day. Meeting spot 
At Page Meadows is where I met up with my hiking partners and shuttle providers today, who hiked in from the end to meet up with me. Tracey and Mark 
Some of the fall colors in the aspen around Page Meadows starting to show on this early September day. Page Meadow
The last four to five miles are mostly in the forest, but it is very pleasant and shaded for much of the way. Trail marker
Since my ride was parked just on the near side of the road where I started out at the beginning of the trek, I had to wander across a bridge at the very end just to make sure I truly completed the entire loop. Finishing
The path of this last section, from the upper right down to Tahoe City in the lower left. Hike GPX 
The GPX overlay of the entire loop, showing the different segment starts and stops with the small blue arrows on the way.  Tahoe City is at the point in the upper left where the trail is closest to the lake, and was the start and stop points for my navigation around the Tahoe Rim Trail. GPS Track of the entire loop