Twin Peaks Trailheads
on Lake Tahoe
Revised Dec 2007 - please send updates to the webmaster
Twin Peak is the highest peak on the west shore of Lake Tahoe (North of Homewood, south of Alpine Meadows). It's not on any list that I know of, but it's a 360-degree view and a pretty good climb also. There are two available trailheads, one of which starts at a Sno-Park and the other of which gets you much closer at the risk of not technically parking in a legal place - but the snowplow guys said it was probably OK if you used good judgement.
The Barker Pass / Blackwood Canyon road (waypoint BLAK89) is gated in winter, but there's an official Sno-Park lot immediately off Hwy 89 (waypoint BLAKSP) where you can crash for the night (legally, with a Sno-Park permit). I didn't climb the peak from here, but I would suggest this as a route. There is a residential development just north of the Sno-Park, and the USGS map shows a dirt road rising from there to the north of Point 7277 where the angle of the ridge lessens considerably. I'm guessing the climbing (on the black line from BLAKSP to STAN04) will be just as easy there as the route we did from Ward Creek, and this is a legal place to start. In summer, you should be able to continue up Blackwood Creek to waypoint BLAKTH and take a trail almost directly to Twin Peak. In winter this trail would pose a severe avalanche threat.
Ward Creek provides an attractive alternative for climbing Twin Peak because you can drive much closer... but there is no technically legal parking anywhere on this road in winter! To reach Ward Creek, leave Hwy 89 in Sunnyside on Pinedale Drive (waypoint WARD89). Take the left fork (waypoint PINTWN) where a sign points left to Ward Valley, then bear right as the main road continues up-canyon and becomes Ward Creek Blvd. Leaving the houses behind, continue about a mile to a large plowed area. This is the snow plow turnaround at the county line. The plow operator told me you wouldn't get towed here, but you might get buried or pushed out of the way if you didn't stay clear of the huge radius they need to turn around! This is the trailhead I used to climb Twin Peak, following GPS route TWIN PEAKS (the red line that connects STANTH to STAN01, STAN02, etc).
Ward Creek Blvd continues climbing the north side of the canyon, ending in a small plowed parking lot (waypoint WARDTH) overlooking the base of a ski lift (the back side of Ward Mountain is served by a lift from Alpine Meadows). A sign in this lot says "Members only. Others will be towed." The snow plow crew parked here, however, told me the lot wasn't normally full and if you didn't leave your car overnight and if it wasn't snowing heavily there probably wouldn't be a problem. This would be the best trailhead if you wanted to bag both Twin and Ward in winter, but some stealth hiking might be involved to get around the ski lift.