Palisades Tahoe Trail Map
Palisades Tahoe Ski Area
► Palisades Tahoe Ski Area
Palisades Tahoe can look intimidating to beginners due to the steep terrain right out of the village. The High Camp Cable Car, also called the Tram, rises up and over the Tram Face, virtually un-skiable terrain where Palisades Tahoe holds an extreme competition yearly for the world’s elite. But don’t be fooled: there are fantastic beginner runs located at mid-mountain.
Take a leap of faith and ride the tram to High Camp, where four lifts offer mellow groomed beginner and intermediate trails. The payoff is extraordinary lake views as well as the feeling that you are high in the mountains and away from the run-of-the-mill, lower-mountain slopes that most ski resorts provide for newbies.
Palisades Tahoe will never win any awards for its tree skiing - there simply isn’t that much due to the mountain’s vast open expanses - but those who seek a forested environment should head to the Palisades Tahoe and Red Dog lifts as well as the lower sections of Granite Chief.
► High Camp & SnoVentures Activity Zone
High Camp is a mountaintop meadow tucked between high peaks where experts can get an adrenaline fix before meeting up with less skilled family members for lunch. High Camp has a swimming pool and skating rink as well as outdoor seating, providing an inspiring setting for all ability levels.
For young children, the Papoose beginner’s area is on the far eastern side of the parking lot beside the SnoVentures Activity Zone, where you will find mini snowmobiles for kids and snow tubing for all ages. This is the learning ground for first-timers, complete with free hot chocolate.
► Palisades Tahoe Route
For intermediates, Palisades Tahoe offers uncrowded runs and beautiful lake views, with groomers that loop down to the Resort at Palisades Tahoe on the far looker’s left of the resort. Palisades Tahoe offers classic American skiing, with trails cut through the trees—something you don’t get much of in the wide-open expanses of Palisades Tahoe.
Skiers and riders can access upper-mountain intermediate terrain via the Shirley Lake Express, a fast, six-pack chairlift perfect for doing laps. The Gold Coast six-pack lift provides advanced intermediate runs. Round out the day with some laps on the Solitude lift, which drops down from High Camp into groomed and ungroomed intermediate runs, glades and tree islands.
► Granite Peak Trail
For skiers who like to hike, Palisades Tahoe has bountiful options. Granite Peak, accessed via Granite Chief, is the ski resort’s highest point at just over 9,000 feet, so it loads well on powder days and offers lots of secret stashes days after a storm. Hidden Bowl features steep wide-open terrain and tree shots, making this area prime for exploration.
► Palisade Chutes
The Palisades chutes are some of the most infamous “Squallywood” terrain, featured in countless ski films. If you go big here, lots of chairlift riders will be watching and cheering. Access Palisades expert terrain via the Siberia Express, but be prepared to handle a cornice drop. Lesser-seasoned skiers should stick to the easiest of the Palisades chutes, National Chute to looker’s left. Named for Olympian Jonny Mosely, Mosley's Run is a severely steep bump run that Jonny credits with giving him the skills to handle the world’s toughest moguls competitions.
► Palisades Tahoe Beginner Trails
Big Blue is pure bliss for true beginners or for those who need to warm up before hitting it big. The terrain is easy to access using the Aerial Tram up to High Camp. From there, visitors can access the gently sloped terrain of Bailey’s Beach and Gold Coast. The Big Blue area even offers the Belmont terrain park designed to introduce beginner and intermediate skiers to park ski and riding.
Alpine Meadows Ski Area
The terrain on the Alpine Meadows side of the ski resort consists of wide-open bowls, long groomed slopes and abundant natural features within its 2,400 skiable acres. The ski area’s front and backsides boast plenty of beginner, intermediate, and advanced options.
► Pacific Crest North Bowls
Alpine Meadows offers some of the best skiing and riding in Lake Tahoe with the Pacific Crest Bowls, offering backcountry access to expert skiers with the proper equipment. Take the short (or long) hike or traverse out to one of these bowls, and then end up back at a high-speed chairlift. From the summit of Ward Peak, visitors can take in spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Tahoe.
► Alpine Meadows Beginner and Intermediate Ski Trails
Beginner and intermediate skiers have numerous terrain options on both sides of Alpine Meadows ski area. The front side is home to long groomers and some excellent intermediate runs off Roundhouse and Hot Wheels chairlifts. Then, take Rays Rut around to the backside, where you’ll access some of Alpine’s best intermediate/advanced runs.
Palisades Tahoe Valley Tips
The first lifts to open are usually the Red Dog and KT-22 lifts. KT is the most coveted, and people line up at 6:30 a.m. to be the first to reach The Fingers, which encompasses amazing expert terrain when covered in deep snow, but sketchy once skied out. Nose to Fingers is considered one of the best lines on the mountain. Access Nose by skiing looker’s right of the KT-22 lift towers. The Fingers are a band of rocks about midway down the mountain.
To avoid the charge up KT-22, take the Red Dog lift instead. Its terrain is less skied but equally as challenging without the crowds. Poulson's Gully, to skiers right of the lift towers, and Heidi’s Rock are favorite steep and deep runs from Red Dog. Heidi’s Rock requires a short hike and is reached by disembarking toward Red Dog Ridge. If the snow falls all day, head back to KT, which provides so much expert terrain that it hardly matters where you go because there are so many premier lines.
The Funitel (don’t call it a gondola!) will typically open next. Ride it to High Camp and ski down to the Siberia Express lift, which whisks you to the ridgeline and the top of Siberia Bowl. On big snow days, the lifts typically open from looker’s left to right, with Granite Chief often last to open. Granite Chief is located on the far boundary to looker’s right, providing a bevy of unnamed runs and expert terrain where the crowds are often minimal—perfect for an afternoon expedition on a powder day.
Alpine Meadows Tips
The resort is home to some great terrain for the powder lover. When snow is in the forecast, head to the lifts early to make sure you get fresh tracks. Hop in line at the Summit Express, as this is one of the first lifts that will be open. Just off the top of Summit lift, the Ds are a great first choice powder run, named for an old D8 tractor that accidentally slid over the edge while trying to clear a road to the summit.
The Ice Bar is a local’s favorite situated at the base of the Sherwood Bowl. Here, you’ll find quick bites and cold beers in a beach-like setting. Stay ‘till happy hour on the Alpine Sun Deck, and catch some great live music in the spring.
Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
The Nordic Center at the Resort at Palisades Tahoe offers approximately 11 miles of groomed trails that wind through the stunning Palisades Tahoe meadow and surrounding hillside. The trails are 70% beginner, 20% intermediate, and 10% advanced, and nordic equipment rentals are available. All trails originate at the Resort at Palisades Tahoe, just a short (free) shuttle ride from the Palisades Tahoe Parking Lot.