1,000’ - 1,900’
North Maggie’s: 6,600’ – 8,500’ (1,900’)
South Maggie’s: 6,800’ - 8,700’ (1,900’)
Situated between two of Tahoe’s most popular backcountry zones, Jakes and Tallac, Maggie’s is often overlooked due to its smaller standing. But, for those willing to ski outside the limelight, Maggie’s is always an adventure. Perched above Emerald Bay, the Maggie’s area is actually two separate peaks, North Maggie’s at 8,493’, and South Maggie’s at 8,699’, each with its own unique character. North Maggie’s is most obvious from the highway, characterized by steep, north facing trees peppered with cliffs. This area is fairly safe to ski, but it is recommended to descend close to your skin track until becoming more familiar with the area. If you’re hunting for powder, some descents in this zone are directly north facing, a rarity of sorts in Tahoe, where a lot of powder skiing aspects are off-north. An impressive couloir also runs down North Maggie’s west face, and can be seen from Eagle Lake. This chute takes a large snowpack to fill in, so scout it before hand.
South Maggie’s, is the mean, older sister to North Maggie’s. Many chute options descend South Maggie’s eastern face. Some of these lines are straight forward, and others involve, long, narrow, multi-crux descents with enough exposure to give goose bumps to even the most accomplished skiers. If these chutes tickle your fancy, it is highly recommended to scope them from the bottom first (or from nearby Tallac), by taking a slightly longer approach up Cascade Creek. This is 2.5 miles, versus the standard 2 miles via Granite Lake. This avoids having to guess which one you’re about to drop into, opening the door for dangerous situations and precarious, boot-pack retreats. Of course there are other quality descent options here too. Great glade runs will lead you into either Eagle Lake or Granite Lake. Also, on the south side of North Maggie’s summit, a small grove of trees exists that is likely to be the one of the oldest in the Tahoe Basin. These ancient junipers are reminiscent of those found in the Ancient Bristlecone Forest of the White Mountains near Bishop, CA.
Parking for Maggie’s is found in two locations, at the Bayview Trailhead (6,800’) and the Emerald Bay Trailhead (6,600’). The trailheads are 1 mile apart on Highway 89 at Emerald Bay, and a Sno-Park permit is not required at either. If you plan on ending the day in the Eagle Lake drainage, the Emerald Bay trailhead is recommended, or if ending your day near Cascade or Granite lakes, park at Bayview. To reach the trailheads, drive south on Highway 89, 19 miles from the “Y” in Tahoe City, or 8 miles west on 89 from the “Y” in South Lake. Be sure to check road conditions with CalTrans before heading out to Maggie’s. Highway 89 around Emerald Bay is often closed during and after storms for avalanche danger, closing access to Maggie’s trailheads.
From the Emerald Bay trailhead, switchback directly up the north face of North Maggie’s, aiming for the NE ridgeline. From the Bayview trailhead, walk west on Hwy 89 for 100 yards and find the gate. Beyond this gate is the summer trail for Maggie’s, and there is a nice trail cut through the trees that makes for a good skin track. Halfway up, you will pass Granite Lake, a good landmark for the return descent. Skin up to the saddle between North and South Maggie’s, and pick a peak.