800’ – 1,300’
6,000’ – 8,400’ (2,400’)
N, E, S, W
Located just north of the hustle and bustle of Palisades Ski Area, lies the deceptively large Silver Peak, one of the Truckee area’s most appealing backcountry destinations. Imagine the Palisade’s terrain and breadth, with far fewer skiers. Silver’s flagship run is its East Bowl, dropping 1,800’ to the drainage below. This aspect should be skied with caution, as frequent wind loading, a convex profile, and complex terrain traps make this a textbook avalanche zone. Silver’s west and north glades, along with its easily navigated ridgelines make it a zone you will want to spend a few days exploring. Avoid skiing down Silver’s main southern drainage back to the resort, as tightly spaced bushes and trees are known to induce survival skiing. A fun routine that I have enjoyed as a passholder is to skin up Silver’s west trees in the pre-dawn hours, just above Olympic Village Inn. A few quality laps can be enjoyed here before the lifts begin loading. And as if all this wasn’t enough, the Bradley Hut is located just a few miles north of Silver Peak in the Pole Creek drainage.
Silver Peak can be accessed one of two ways. The standard approach follows snow-covered Forest Service roads 3 miles to the base of Silver from highway 89. Parking near Olympic Village Inn in Palisade greatly decreases the approach, but is thin during periods of low snowpack, and a bit treacherous. To access Silver Peak from the highway, park in a plowed trailhead on the west side of highway 89, 6.4 miles south of Donner Pass Road in Truckee, or 2.3 miles north of the Olympic Valley road. A basic regional map and trailhead information mark the start to Forest Road 8. Skin up this snow covered road for 1.75 miles until reaching a fork in the road. FR8 continues right toward the Bradley Hut, and access to Silver Peak is to the left through a gate. Skin another 1.25 miles on this road until reaching the base of Silver Peak. From Palisades, start at Olympic Village Inn and skin past the large green water tower to gain the rocky ridge.