Back to index Tell's Peak Hike
Trip Date:  08/05/2012

: 11.6 Miles

Vertical Gain: 2350'

Group Size: 3
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate  Hard   Strenuous
Tells Peak Hike
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Tells Peak Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 55.860   W 120 19.301     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 50 to Ice House Road.  Head north on Ice House for about 17 miles until you reach the turnoff for Van Vleck Bunkhouse (Cheese Camp Road.)  Follow this road for a little over 5 miles until you get to the Van Vleck Trailhead parking area.
Hazards of Note:   Steep dropoffs
Long sections with little shade
Significant early elevation gain
Crowd Factor:   Limited.  Might see a person or two up to Forni Lake, but probably nobody up to the peak.
General Notes:
From the Parking Area head back to the north and then take the Tell's Creek trail
toward Forni Lake.  This first part of the hike is about 5 miles through a long meadow, but as soon as you hit the Desolation Wilderness boundary, the steepness begins in earnest.  There is a climb of about 1/2 mile to Forni Lake, and then skirting around the south shore make your way cross country up to the ridgeline between Tell's Peak to your left and McConnell Peak to your right.  
Spectacular views into Rockbound valley at Highland Lake and beyond await as you attain this ridge.  Finish your trek to the peak to the north for full 360 views around the entire area, including Loon Lake to the north and Lake Tahoe to the east.

Rich and Tristan on the trail through the meadow. Rich and Tristan on the trail
Entering Desolation Wilderness from a new location.
Entering Desolation
Headed up the steep trail toward Forni Lake. Heading up the trail
Tristan headed up to one of the rises on the mountain. Tristan headed up
A look at Forni Lake with Tell's Peak in the distance behind it.
Forni Lake
A look back at Forni lake from near the top. Looking back at Forni
Coming up to the saddle we were greeted with this view of Highland lake.
View at the crest    
Tristan and Rich celebrating being at the peak. Tristan and Rich at the peak
A look toward Loon Lake from the peak. Loon Lake
Me at the summit checking out the amazing views. Me surveying the area
GPX track of the hike. GPX track of the hike