SAC MASTERS FREEL PEAK HIKE
TAHOE'S HIGHEST PEAK
Organizer: Kimberly Jorgensen
Guide: Martin Christian
This is a strenuous hike on the Tahoe Rim Trail to either Freel Saddle or Freel Peak, but not one that I would call extreme or technical. Most of the trail has a smooth surface, thanks to decades of mountain biking. However, the optional last mile to Freel Peak is smooth, steep, and sandy. Our goal is to make the spectacular Freel Saddle in a few hours. From there, you can decide if you have the courage to climb Freel Peak, which is an additional 45 minutes.
Most importantly, we plan to depart Natomas Racquet Club at 6am. We need every drop of daylight. DEPARTURE IS 6AM SHARP! ARRIVE EARLY! We are not meeting at 6, we are LEAVING at 6.
High clearance vehicles (like an SUV) only. Just south of Meyers, we'll be taking a dirt road for 3.5 miles. It is not a 4WD road, but you do need high clearance to pick your way though.
Halfway through our morning drive up Hwy 50, we'll make a QUICK stop at the Fresh Pond Store for last minute supplies. They have groceries, snacks, water, etc.
What to bring:
From our parking area, we'll hike one mile uphill to the Tahoe Rim Trail and Armstrong Pass. None of it is strenuous as our parking spot is pretty high. Once at Armstrong Pass, we'll hike three miles along the side of the ridge to Freel Saddle. These three miles are uphill, but not particularly difficult, as decades of mountain biking have "smoothed out" the trail. The last 1/2 mile to the saddle goes through some unfair switchbacks. Remember that word, unfair.
Once at Freel Saddle, we'll take a break and see who wants to go up to Freel Peak. Anyone who doesn't go up can stay in the saddle and explore. The views from the saddle are tremendous, and you'll meet hikers and mountain bikers who are traveling through the area.
For those climbing Freel Peak, it is a one mile hike to the top. The first 1/4 mile is a bit bumpy, and the remainder is (gulp) very steep and sandy. Once on Freel Peak, we'll sign the register, enjoy lunch and the 360 views, then return back to the saddle to reunite with friends.
On this elevation profile, 0 is our start, mile 4 would be the Freel Saddle turnaround, and mile 5 would be the Freel Peak turnaround. The elevation gain from the start to Freel saddle at mile 4 is ONLY 1500 ft ! That is not a huge gain.
On the other hand, the elevation gain from Freel Saddle at mile 4, to Freel Peak at mile 5, is a very big gain, in only one mile. We will make it.