Marlette Lake & Peak

  On Marlette Peak
Cathy and Bob on the summit of Marlette Peak
We skied this one in late December 2001. It's a half-and-half tour; the first half is on the groomed trails of Spooner XC, and the second half is true backcountry (the only ski tracks that we encountered were our own Incline Ridge tour tracks from the previous day). Like that tour to the north, this is a good wintertime tour; you'll lose some coverage low down past early March. And, like that tour, this one is a beauty, with superb views of both the Lake Tahoe and the desert. Also, we encountered no snowmobile traffic or tracks, an increasingly rare pleasure. Average tour elevation is 7700'. Other tour options would be to do just the southern half (staying on resort trails and turning back at the base of Marlette Peak), or to do an all-backcountry tour to Marlette Peak using just the northern trailhead.

That northern trailhead (where we finished) is at Tunnel Creek, which meets the highway on the north side of where the highway crosses the actual Tunnel Creek (not 1 mile north of there as the old 15' map indicates). To get there, take highway 28 to 2 miles southeast of the Country Club Drive intersection in Incline Village (or, 1 mile southeast of Ponderosa Ranch). There is no parking right at Tunnel Creek, but there may be some roadside parking about 1/3 mile to the north, or maybe 1/3 mile or so north of that. Be sure to park off of the pavement and watch for "no parking here" signs; also note that the scenic overlook to the south is not OK for ski parking.

  Cathy Bianco
Cathy Bianco descending from Marlette Peak area towards Tunnel Creek
Start at the Spooner Lake Cross Country resort, which is on the east side of Lake Tahoe, highway 28, less than a mile north of the highway 50 junction. There is a charge to use the resort's groomed trails. Follow the resort trails northward, gaining over 1000', to Marlette Lake. Then at the lake, follow another trail ("Red" something) that takes you northeast for about another mile.

Leave resort trails there, near the southeastern base of Marlette Peak. Cross the meadow to Marlette Peak and ascend to its summit. From there, follow the ridgeline west of northward to a saddle just west of peak 8706'. Then, drop north down a moderate gulley to the 7900' Twin Lakes. After that, continue west of north for about a mile to Tunnel Creek road, which follows the north side of the actual Tunnel Creek. Ski down Tunnel Creek road, pausing for breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, down to the highway.

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