Heavenly Trail Map
Heavenly Ski Area
► Alpine Ski Area
First time to Heavenly? These are our suggestions for the best terrain options for every type of skier.
First, lap the Powder Bowl Express lift, hitting the bumps of Waterfall run. Then, take Sky Chair to the summit and swoosh down the fast groomers of Ellie’s and High Five. Now, it’s time for a short hike. Traverse Sky Line trail (due to its width, Heavenly requires some traversing to get from California to Nevada and back) to the bottom of Milky Way Bowl. Unclick just past the sign on Sky Line Trail, and follow the boot pack up to the summit of Monument Peak, which at 10,067 feet is Tahoe’s highest in-bounds terrain. Drop straight down the middle of Milky Way Bowl, or work to skier’s right toward Mott and Killebrew canyons.
If you want to avoid the agro conditions in Mott and Killebrew, but need some off-piste fun, check out the tree runs and pillow drops through Nevada Woods and The Burn - where charred trees from a fire provide starkly beautiful views, and powder stashes await those willing to explore. Wrap up with a finishing run down The Face or a tree run through East Bowl Woods back to the California lodge.
Located right out of the California base, The Face is a double-black mogul run unforgiving in its steepness. It drops 1,700 vertical feet into the equally challenging Gunbarrel and East Bowl moguls. These are the bump runs made famous by former hot-dogger Glen Plake, who holds the annual Gunbarrel 25 event here that challenges skiers to complete 25 thigh-burning laps.
The Milky Way Bowl is the best place to find fresh powder for expert skiers. For amazing tree turns, head to the Pinnacles and take some time to dip into the pines. Intermediates should head to Ridge Run and check out the amazing views of Lake Tahoe.
► Heavenly Mountain Powder Day Strategy
There are two ways to attack the mountain on a powder day, and the choice really depends on Heavenly’s weather and from which side (California or Nevada) you start your ski day. Mild temperatures at Lake Tahoe level can necessitate heading for the top, where snow is lighter. But, if temps are cold down low, then options are bountiful.
California Lodge Route
Setting out from Heavenly Ski Resort’s California Lodge, take Gunbarrel lift, and bag a quick lap through the well-spaced trees of East Bowl Woods. Ride Gunbarrel lift back up and board the mid-mountain Powder Bowl Express, disembarking to the right for Powder Bowl Woods - an often-overlooked tree stash at mid-mountain. When Powder Bowl Woods are skied out, ride Canyon Express to the top and descend beneath the lift to the trees of Ridge Bowl. Take Sky Express back up and drop down the fall line into the trees to skier’s right of Liz’s run.
Heavenly Village Route
If starting from Heavenly Village, take the gondola to mid-mountain and board Tamarack Express, heading skier’s right to access Airies Woods, which drop you out at Dipper Express lift. Ride Dipper to the terminus and ski toward Dipper Woods and Milky Way. By this time, patrol will hopefully have opened the gates to some of Heavenly’s best terrain—Mott Canyon, where skilled skiers can find steep chutes and rock drops. While waiting for Mott to open, hit the Dipper Knob area to skier’s right of Meteor trail. Adjacent to Mott is the equally ferocious Killebrew Canyon, typically the last terrain at Heavenly to open, so be prepared to pounce when it does.
► Groomers & Family Skiing at Heavenly
Heavenly has a large grooming fleet, which means an abundance of groomer options for beginners and intermediates.
From the gondola terminus, take Tamarack Express and do a warm-up lap on California Trail or Sam’s Dream. Go back up Tamarack and drop into Orion and the East Peak area, served by the Dipper and Comet chairlifts. Cruise the Comet trail and take the lift back up. This time, ski down Crossover to the Olympic Express lift, which offers a run through the wide-open glades of The Pines.
If starting on the California side, head to the top of Liz’s run off the Sky Express lift, making sure to look over your shoulder at Lake Tahoe. Take Sky back up and descend Ridge Run, which offers some of the mountain’s most amazing lake views. Stop off to the side and grab a photo.
► Heavenly Mountain Resort for Beginners
If you’re a beginner and want to explore some higher terrain, go to the Enchanted Forest. With shorter runs and gentle slopes, it’s a great place to start.
Beginner skiers and riders can also head for Maggie’s run, served by the Powder Bowl Express lift. Maggie’s run meanders down to the “Snow Beach” area, where a small food shack offers hot chocolate and snacks, and beach chairs provide a relaxed setting for families to meet up while doing laps on different lifts.
Newbies who want beginner trails only should stick to the Boulder Lodge area, a little-trafficked ski area within the resort that features a gentle, wide-open bowl for working on turns and skiing with the kids.
► Heavenly Terrain Park
Heavenly Ski Resort also has multiple terrain parks designed to serve everyone from beginners to go-big huckers.
For first-timers and rookies, the progression park near the gondola offers low boxes and rails that are almost flush with the snow to eliminate the fear factor.
Groove Park is the most popular, offering smaller features for beginners and intermediates, though experienced boarders and jibbers often start here with some warm-up runs or to practice moves. Groove is set up like a skate park, with a lot of features packed into a small area.
Player’s Park (off Ridge Run) and Ante Up Park (beneath Tamarack Express) are classified as medium/intermediate terrain parks in terms of their features. Player’s Park has a line of triple jumps and progressive jibs. Ante Up’s claim to fame is a jib line featuring old water pipes and recycled scrap items that provide a unique vibe.
High Roller is where the fearless go to play, with expert-level hits and gaps that provide a show for people riding the Sky chair. High Roller terrain park has a 55-foot and a 65-foot jump as well as playful touches, such as tire stacks for clearing or tapping on the way by.
►Tubing Park and Snow Play
Heavenly offers tubing… and mini tubing! Located at the top of the gondola, their tubing hill is over 500 feet long and has a convenient magic carpet to take you and your tube back up to the top. Shorter riders and young children can enjoy the mini-tubing hill adjacent to the main hill in Adventure Peak.
►Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
For beautiful views of Lake Tahoe, you’ll want to head toward North of South Lake Tahoe’s “Y” intersection of Highway 50/89. On the lakeside, you’ll find the mostly-flat and short trails at Pope, Kiva, and Baldwin Beaches. West of the “Y,” you’ll find a number of easy-to-moderate trails along Lake Tahoe Boulevard, Tahoe Mountain Road, and North Upper Truckee Road. From the Echo Lakes/Johnson Pass Sno-Park, you can ski through Desolation Wilderness to Echo Lakes and Lake Aloha for some of the most stunning landscapes in the area.
Keep in mind, nearly all cross-country ski and snowshoe trails in South Lake Tahoe are on public lands, meaning they’re not groomed. Fortunately, many people ski at most locations so there are usually established tracks.