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Tahoe Pines, California, United States

Blackwood Canyon, Ellis Peak 4x4 Road, California

Fun SUV trip to beautiful high views of Lake Tahoe

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 21 miles / 34 km
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: Explores a beautiful, high area west of Lake Tahoe and is near the east end of the famous Rubicon Trail. Many lakes and viewpoints. Trail may not open until early July due to deer migration. Kaspian Campground and Picnic Area located on Highway 89 where you turn west on Barker Pass Road to reach trail. Trail is located in the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. For trail conditions and opening dates, call (530) 543-2600.


Moderate. Narrow, steep and rough in a few places but suitable for stock, high clearance SUVs. Some tight brush. Be careful when wet.

This trail is one of 100 trails from the book, Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, by Charles Wells & Matt Peterson, and is available at

Tips: Don’t get there too early. Give the snow a little time to melt. Mid July is a safe bet. Go on a clear day to see high views of Lake Tahoe and surrounding mountains. Make sure to take a camera.

Trail conditions can change without notice. FunTreks, Inc. and its owner and employees are not responsible for injury, death, or vehicle damage as a result of using this guide. The content of this guide is the property of FunTreks, Inc. and is made available to the user pursuant to EveryTrail’s Terms of Service (

Points of Interest


Staging Area

Staging area is on the right hidden in the trees. Look for vault toilet.

Baker Pass

Open area at top is Baker Pass. Make a sharp left as you head down.

Turn for Bear Lake

Road on right goes down to Bear Lake.

Turn for Ellis Peak

A left turn here climbs to Ellis Lake and Ellis Peak. Wonderful views of Lake Tahoe and surrounding mountains.

Ellis Peak

Make sure you have a camera.

Rubicon Springs Road

Continue left as you join McKinney-Rubicon Springs Road. Right here goes to the famous Rubicon Trail. (Available as eGuide from FunTreks on EveryTrail.)

Staging Area for Rubicon Trail

You'll find a vault toilet here. Road is paved from here.

Highway 89

Intersect with Highway 89, West Lake Boulevard. Left goes to Tahoe City and Interstate 80.
Pictures in this guide taken by: FunTreks, FunTreks

Blackwood Canyon, Ellis Peak 4x4 Road, California Map

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