Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Today, we drove down to Carson City just to hike back up to Tahoe. 😆 Which is a little bit laughable. But it was a great hike. (And also our longest hike of the year so far.)
We drove the Jeep up through Ash Canyon, again, but this time we continued the additional 3 miles and 2,400 feet of elevation gain up to Hobart Reservoir on a recently grated dirt road. At an average of over 20% grade, it's easily the steepest road we've ever driven on. (And check out those views!)
View of Washoe Lake and Carson City from the road to Hobart Reservoir.
When we arrived at the parking area for Hobart, around 10 vehicles were already there – mostly people at the reservoir to fish for trout. The hiking trail started out with a steep descending stretch until you get to the reservoir, and the views were already pretty amazing.
The trail met back up with the road for a bit as we wound past Hobart.
Then we met up with Sunflower Hill Trail, which we climbed until we reached the overlook of Marlette Lake and Lake Tahoe.
The first section of this trail was surrounded by wildflowers.
The trail was incredibly quiet today and we walked through several picturesque wooded areas before we crested.
We even saw six mule deer in separate spots along the trail. The first pair was intently devouring the fresh green grass and couldn't care less that we were nearby.
The second and third pairs were relaxing in the shade.
Honestly, I had reservations about disturbing the deer by walking the trail between them, so we briefly went off trail to avoid their afternoon siesta.
A little while up the trail, after hiking through a few leftover snow mounds, we crested the ridge and got our first views of Lake Tahoe and, a few minutes later, Marlette Lake. While this is not our first time hiking to Marlette Lake or above Marlette Lake, the views certainly don't get old.
Here, at 5 miles, we stopped on some boulders above the trail to have our snack.
Pretty nice view.
And some of the wildflowers at the top.
After our brief snack break, we decided to take a different stretch of trail for part of our return trek. We stopped at an outcropping to take a few more photos of Marlette.
Mostly going downhill, we hustled back to the reservoir and slowly made the final steep climb back up and out to the parking area. About halfway to the top, we crossed paths with an older man toting his fishing and overnight camping gear on his back, descending the steep trail. We stopped and chatted for a little while. He told us he's been coming to fish at Hobart since the 70s and he was hiking down this afternoon to surprise his adult child who was camping at the reservoir overnight.
When we finally got to the top, breathless, we welcomed sitting in the Jeep, then we put it in 4 Low, 2nd gear, and creeped back down the steep dirt road through Ash Canyon.
Along the road, I saw the biggest clusters of Indian paintbrush flowers I've ever seen. And not just one large cluster, but several.
When we arrived back in Carson City, I was very hungry and a little bit exhausted. This over 10-mile hike was very enjoyable today, even though it was a bit tough given the nearly 1,600-foot elevation gain on foot. The trail was quiet, even on this holiday weekend, the views were amazing, and I'd say the weather was perfect, too.