SNOW VALLEY PEAK (9,214') CLASS 1
Location: 6 miles W of Carson City, NV, or 4 miles W of Spooner Summit (U.S. 50)
Drive: Take U.S. 50 to a sign "Spooner Summit Trailhead" marking the Tahoe Rim Trail North and "Spooner Summit elev. 7,146." This is 9.5 miles west from the junction of U.S. 50 and U.S. 395 or 0.7 miles east from Spooner Junction (junction of U.S. 50 and Highway 28). Park in the paved lot, where there is room for about 10 cars. There are no facilities here (June, 2012). Somewhat across and down the highway is the Tahoe Rim Trail south trailhead, which does have an outhouse.
Climb: Take the Tahoe Rim Trail north and past the signs. A side trail goes left to Spooner Lake with a $1 trail fee to be paid for that. There is no fee for the Tahoe Rim Trail. In the first 3 miles, you will pass 3 signed "vista(s)" which are all worthwhile, short, side trips. In the first few miles, too, ignore the blocked off spur trails or dirt tracks. The Rim Trail is well marked. After 4 miles, come to a small saddle and a trail junction. Follow the signed TRT to the right. After about 5.5 miles from the start, come to a dirt road on an open ridge. Follow this road right and back south and up to the summit. An antenna and two buildings are near the top.
Drive: Take Highway 28 north from Spooner Junction (junction of U.S. 50 and Highway 28) 0.6 mile to the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park entrance signed, "Spooner Lake" and "Wildlife Viewing Area." Turn right (east) to come to the entrance station where the standard vehicle fee is $5.00 per car (1997). Park at the large, paved, parking area as directed.
Climb: Follow the signs to "North Canyon," and shortly come to a four-way dirt road junction. Go left (north), following the signs to "North Canyon." After a short way, come to a display board, and continue up the dirt, North Canyon road. Pass a historic cabin, and come, after 1.5 miles from the start, to a junction with a trail going right to the TRT. There is an outhouse here. Continue straight ahead on the North Canyon road, and, after another mile, come to a junction signed, "Snow Valley Peak (1.2)" and "Rim Trail (0.9)." Another sign reads, "Dead End Road" and "Snow Valley Peak 1 1/2." Take this gated road right and climb up the hill, switchbacking a few times, and come to a road junction near the top of the ridge. Go right, following the main road, which crosses the unsigned TRT, and continue south and up on the road the short distance to the summit.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: Route A or B will suffice. Spooner Lake is a popular cross-country ski area.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 2,100-2,200 feet gain, 6 miles one way, Route B, 2,300 feet gain, 6+ miles one way; winter ski ascent, same as for both routes.
Notes: From the four-way
junction on Route B just southwest of Spooner Lake, one can make
a loop using both routes by following the well-signed "Spooner
Lake Loop." On the far southeast side of the lake, a junction
marked by a post "Tahoe Rim Trail" indicates the trail
that leads south, then east, shortly back to the Route A parking
at Spooner Summit.
Marlette Lake, which is north of the major saddle uphill from the road junction at the head of North Canyon on Route B, is the water supply for Carson City. It is a good destination for a cross-country ski trip. It is marked as an advanced tour. Route B is especially scenic in the fall, with the lower portion lined with aspen groves.