2 – 5 miles
800’ – 1,800’
6,200’ – 8,500’ (2,300’)
N, E, S
Blackwood Canyon is the West Shore’s most prominent canyon, holding so many zones that one would need a month of exploration to ski it all. From the southern gullies of Stanford Rock, the eastern cliffs and bowls of Barker Pass, the descents off of Homewood’s nearby Ellis Peak, and the north trees of Blackwood Ridge, there is something for everybody in this broad zone. However, what Blackwood Canyon possesses in terrain variety and solitude, it lacks in ease of access. A flat 2 miles of skinning is required to reach the base of the nearest ski descents, and another 1-3 miles to reach Barker Pass or Ellis peak. Snowmobiles are a popular method of cutting off this approach, and are easily staged at the Blackwood Canyon Sno-Park. Descents off Blackwood Ridge provide the best tree skiing option, with great shots through mossy old growth. Ellis Peak is within an easy skin from the Homewood Ski Area backcountry gates, and has short, mellow glades. Stanford Rock’s southern gullies grow great corn, and Barker Pass’s rolling cliffs have harbored many a snowmobile shuttle.
To reach Blackwood Canyon, drive 4.2 miles south of the “Y” in Tahoe City on highway 89, and park at the Blackwood Canyon Sno-Park. A Sno-Park permit is required here. Skin west along the snowmobile trail for 2-5 miles, keeping an eye out on all sides of the road for worthy destinations.