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A really great snowshoe hike on a gorgeous winter day. From I-80 (near Kingvale Exit) to Matrimony Ridge, Tahoe National Forest, California, USA.

Take I-80 to the Kingvale exit, then west on Donner Pass Road. There are a few parking spaces at the trailhead/I-80 underpass. Or park on non-school days at the school 0.1 miles to the east (starting point of the GPS track below). There are several intersections, an obscure turnoff, and confusing signs before and after the railroad crossing; it might be best to download and follow the GPS track for the first 1.5 miles. Then just head cross country up the ridge. We went beyond the high point of the ridge (peak 7000 on the USGS topo) to a rocky point to the south for shelter from the cold breeze.

This route is described in “Snowshoe Trails Tahoe” by Mike White. However, the map in the (otherwise excellent) book shows the route bypassing peak 7000, which is definitely the location of the pictured “matrimony tree”, and heading 0.5 miles farther south to a different high point.

There are several other interesting future hiking possibilities in this area: Fisher Lake, Snow Mountain.

Statistics:

5.60 mi (2.39 mi uphill, 2.38 mi downhill, 0.75 mi flat)
970 ft total ascent
4:23:01 total time (3:33:59 moving, 0:49:02 stopped)
0:38:10 pace (1.6 mph average speed, 5.7 mph max speed)
11.2 difficulty, 18.3 effort

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