If “summit a mountain” is on your bucket list, Mt. Rose offers a moderately challenging option for those who want to peak it. Overall, you’ll rise 2,300 feet as you trek to the top (with a flurry of daunting switchbacks near the end) and back. Be wary that elevation sickness could set in, but those gaspy breaths will be worth the final view and the feeling of accomplishment you get after making it to the top of the Lake Tahoe Basin’s second-highest peak.
It’s best to plan this adventure between June and October when most of the snow has melted off. But even in peak summer months, you’re likely to run into some snowpack you’ll need to jump—or climb—over. Tip: Pack a lunch and/or snack to enjoy on the way. A roughly halfway point features a waterfall with big rocks that offer the perfect spot for chowing down before finishing your way to the top—or on the way back after the mission is accomplished. The most epic lunch spot, however, will be the mountain peak after you’ve conquered the summit. Those who want to optimize their workout—and make it back in record time—might enjoy trail running back down.
Be ready for some snow and shallow creeks. Waterproof hiking boots will be your best friend on this easy-to-follow trail.