Tour Info

When I first moved to Tahoe, Rubicon was the first place that I skied. Stories of perfect glades and powder that kept for days after the storm lured me here, and these are the same reasons that keep me coming back. Marked by its rocky summit pinnacle, Rubicon makes up the northern end of the large West Shore ridge line shared by Jake’s and Bliss Peaks. With a lot of gladed, simple terrain, Rubicon can be a better choice when hazardous avalanche conditions exist. Although it is not as steep as its West Shore brethren, skiing through old-growth glades with electric-blue Lake Tahoe below you is what Rubicon is all about.  From the summit, the longest, most consistently steep lines are Northeast towards the lake. A slightly shorter version of this is found on the true North aspect ending at the ascent ridge line.

Parking for Rubicon Peak is a bit of a touchy subject. The most convenient parking is located at the top of a second-home community, 600’ higher than the parking on 89. However, homeowners and snow removal personnel have sporadically enforced a no-parking policy at this trailhead, and ticketed skiers due to snow removal concerns. For about 3 years prior to the 2012-2013 season, I parked here without issue. However, during the 12-13 season, rampant ticketing restarted and now it is a total gamble to park there. I have parked here many times without hassle, but be aware that getting a ticket is possible, especially with any fresh snow. If risking a ticket is not worth it to you, then parking on Highway 89 is not a bad alternative, and only adds 500’ of vertical to your ascent.  For more up to date information, please check out the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance and their project work to potentially create a plowed trailhead facility:

Skiing Rubicon PeakViews of Desolation from Rubicon PeakSkinning up Rubicon Peakpow turns on rubicon peakSkinnning through the trees on Rubicon Peak


To reach the higher parking area, drive 13.3 miles south of the “Y” in Tahoe City, or 13.8 miles west from the “Y” in South Lake, and turn west onto Scenic Drive. From here, the road winds steeply up the neighborhood, where you will take a Right onto Woodland, Right onto Brook, Left onto Crest, Right onto Forest View, and Left onto Highview. If snow covers the road signs, or you forget the directions, just drive as high up into the neighborhood as possible. At the end of Highview, a gate blocks a private driveway, and a small, unnamed side road leads up to the right. Park on this dead end road wherever looks to be the least problematic to residents and snow removal personnel.  Begin your ascent at the end of this unnamed road, and follow the obvious ridge past the water tower until Rubicon becomes visible. Ascent navigation on Rubicon is particularly easy, as any uphill navigation will direct you towards the summit. To start from 89…