Elevation Gain: 4,083-feet
Distance: 3.15-miles one way (6.3-miles out and back)
From: Highway 50 between Strawberry and Twin Bridges
Location: Desolation Wilderness
Features: Stream, Trees, Brush, Rocks
Suggested Supplies Aside of Clothing: Water, Food, Trekking Poles, Bear Spray/Bear Bell, Maps, First Aid
Time: 10h 6m (Start to finish)
I didn’t start summiting peaks until August 2017 as it was a plan between myself and a hiking friend to summit various peaks throughout Northern California and the Sierras.
The first time I saw this mountain, you can bet I said, “Nope, never gonna do that! That looks too hard!” Well, a week later, guess where I was. That’s right, I was at the top of that mountain!
I utilize my typical app AllTrails in about 90% of my hikes. I track my trails, I plan my routes, and I find my way to the trailhead. I even sometimes remember to turn on my “MapMyHike” app as well so I can GPS map the trails and record time/distance.
On Sunday, September 17th, 2017 at 7 am, I set out from Folsom, CA up Highway 50 (alone) to complete this hike. Yes, you read that right. I did this solo! Now, I will not say this was my finest idea as I have never done a solo hike in major elevation before this and it may not be the safest thing to do. This was a brand new adventure all and of itself that was unintended.
AllTrails’ GPS/Directions will take you to the “trailhead” of this hike. There are no official signs or registration cards, and parking is a little dirt pullout on the right side of the road about a mile out of Strawberry on Highway 50. If you get to Twin Bridges, you’ve gone too far!
While you are led to the trailhead directly by Alltrails, you end up having to cross the highway and walk along the side about 50 yards or so before going upward. Keep an eye out for the rock cairns.
There were only a few times I had to consult my maps to make sure I remained on the right trail headed up. I needed my maps the most on the way back down from the summit. I actually ended up bouldering down about 100 yards off of my intended trail.
The trails at the base of the summit are not very clear, they are barely etched in the ground as they switch back and forth. The ground is quite dusty with plenty of loose rock, so be careful of possible slippage.
For me, the angle of this hike is pretty intense; my feet felt raw and my hammies were tight and sore by the time I got back to my car.
Pyramid Peak taught me quite a few things about being prepared:
- Always bring water; and if you know there are water sources, bring a filter (which I did)
- Don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary items; bring only the bare essentials for a day hike (water, food, first aid); too much weight will slow you down and cause you some pain
- Trekking poles are great for taking the extra load off of your feet and knees; helps to prevent falling from slips; the poles I have definitely have been abused and have held up VERY well
- Bring a wind-proof jacket, lightweight, compact; it wouldn’t hurt to be waterproof too
I feel this is a great hike to train on for some of the more intense hikes. Between the elevation change and Besides being prepared physically for Pyramid Peak, this solo hike taught me even more about myself.
If this is a new experience for you, you will learn about your own fortitude and drive. I personally found out how stubborn I can be when faced with a challenge.
While I am stubborn, I also air on the side of caution more often than not. If it feels sketchy, I will not do it, I will usually find another route.
In summary, I would definitely recommend this hike to those who wish for a challenge. Whether it is to challenge yourself on a physical basis or mentally. I would suggest that you take another person with you when you do go for safety. It is WELL worth the effort getting to the top!