Freel Peak
Given the physical beating I took on Boundary Peak and Montgomery Peak, I needed a few days to relax and heal up.  After staying in a nice motel in Hawthorne, Nevada (NV), I migrated to the slightly more luxurious Boomtown Casino Resort on the western outskirts of Reno, NV where I checked in for a three-night stay.  A day of golfing seemed to loosen up some stiffness in my injured left leg, and I felt strong enough on 14 August 2013 to go out again for a hike.  I had always wanted to visit nearby Lake Tahoe, and after doing a bit of research, I learned that Freel Peak at the south end of the lake was the highest mountain in the area and also a relatively easy ascent. describes several different approaches for Freel Peak, and I chose one of the more direct routes via Trout Creek.

Anticipating a relatively short day, I left my hotel somewhat late in the morning, but the drive to the trailhead along the western shore of Lake Tahoe turned out to be longer than expected due to heavy traffic and multiple construction delays.  To make matters worse, the route description from contains an error (there is an addendum, but I had missed it on my initial read), and as a result, I wasted about an hour hiking up the "wrong" trail.  Actually, this was the trail to Armstrong Pass, and though it is entirely feasible to climb Freel Peak from the pass, this route adds considerable extra distance to the hike (this trail is popular with mountain bikers, and some of them probably climb Freel Peak as a bike and hike using this route).  The actual Trout Creek approach forgoes the trail and continues instead along the main access road beyond a locked gate.  There are some "no trespassing" signs here which can be cause for confusion.  The road actually goes across private property, but according to the author from, the owner is apparently okay with hikers passing through as long as no one camps in the area.

Regardless of the veracity of the previous statement, I hiked up the road anyway to a point where it turns northeast up a tributary of Trout Creek and disappears amidst some deadfall and bushes.  With some persistence, I found a faint, overgrown path which eventually strengthened into a decent trail climbing steeply alongside the tributary.  Some sandy sections higher up were somewhat challenging to hike because of the poor traction they afford, but I eventually grinded my way up to a high saddle where the route intersects the Tahoe Rim Trail.  From here, a signed side trail branches off to the southeast and leads to the summit of Freel Peak.  The trail is heavily braided on the lower part of the ridge, but most paths converge higher up into a single clear route to the top.  I saw a handful of people on this upper section, but it looked as though most of them, especially those that wore cycling gear, had come up via other approaches.

I spent about half an hour at the summit before retracing my steps down the mountain.  The sandy sections that had given me trouble on my ascent proved to be advantageous on descent as I could easily plunge-step through them and lose elevation quickly.  After an uneventful hike back to my car, I drove out and followed the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe before turning east to head for Reno via Carson City.  It was a shame that I did not have time to explore more of the beautiful Lake Tahoe Basin, but I am confident that I will return in the near future.
Maybe I'll go power boating instead today... Freel Peak (right of centre) is visible from the west side of Lake Tahoe.
Don't worry. There aren't any cannibalistic mutants here...I think... This forbidding gate marks the start of the Trout Creek approach.
Don't lose hope! It's only like this for a short stretch. The trail can be difficult to follow in places.
Not much else to see, so keep climbing! Some breaks in the trees grant this view of Freel Peak's west face.
Bad going up, good coming down! Much of the trail higher up is nothing but loose sand.
A good place for a break after the stiff climb out of the valley. At the saddle is the junction between the Tahoe Rim Trail and the trail to Freel Peak.  The summit of Freel Peak is visible at left.
Lotsa multiple trails here...if in doubt, keep going upwards! Some impressive cliffs can still be found on this generally innocuous-looking mountain.
This would be cool to ski in the winter. Gentle slopes and a good trail provide easy access to the summit.
Highest point in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Carson Range, and El Dorado County! Sonny stands on the 3294-metre summit of Freel Peak (the official elevation is closer to 3317 metres).

That's a lot of water!

Lake Tahoe captures all the attention to the northwest.

Had I not wasted so much time at the start, I think I would have gone over to tag this peak. Jobs Sister to the east is only about 17 metres lower than Freel Peak.
A short trip but still fraught with pitfalls! Total Distance:  15.5 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  5 hours 27 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  943 metres