Dardanelles Lake


Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 6.0 miles round trip
7250 feet
+1600, -1600 feet
Navigation Map and compass
Time Full day
Season Mid-December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Low
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Echo Peak, Freel Peak
Start Highway 89, 5.0 miles south of Meyers. There is a turnout on the north side of the road.


The tour to Dardanelles Lake offers the remoteness of its sister tour to Round Lake, but is more difficult to find because it is situated among trees in a rugged area. Navigating by map and compass is a major challenge in this tour and weeds out most skiers. Both Round Lake and Dardanelles Lake are located in the Upper Truckee River drainage.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.4
Elevation change: +300, -50 feet

Begin by locating the trailhead on the south side of the highway and 50 yards east (uphill) from where Big Meadow Creek crosses the highway. From the trailhead (1) ski south along the east (left) side of Big Meadow Creek for 0.4 mile until you reach Big Meadow (2). Stay far enough to the left of the creek to avoid the brush.

Miles: 0.4 - 1.7
Elevation change: +600 feet

Ski south across the meadow and then climb gradually south for a total of 1.3 miles until you reach a saddle (3). You parallel a creek to the east (left) and traverse a ridge to the west (right) as you climb. When you are 0.7 mile south of Big Meadow (there is no landmark), veer slightly west (right) for the remaining 0.3 mile to the saddle. To the west of the saddle is the Upper Truckee River drainage.

Miles: 1.7 - 1.9
Elevation change: -300 feet

Descend directly down the west side of the saddle for 0.2 mile until the terrain levels and you reach a creek (4).

Miles: 1.9 - 2.2
Elevation change: +50, -100 feet

Ski west for 0.3 mile until you reach another creek (5). You are just south of the route shown on the map if you intersect a frozen pond in this section.

Miles: 2.2 - 2.6
Elevation change: -100 feet

Descend along the northeast (right) side of the creek for 0.4 mile until you reach the location where you cross the creek (6). There is no landmark here. Don't be tempted to cross and ski along the southwest side of the creek; the skiing is much more difficult on that side.

Miles: 2.6 - 3.0
Elevation change: +100 feet

Cross the creek and climb south for 0.4 mile until you reach Dardanelles Lake (7).

Miles: 3.0 - 6.0
Elevation change: +550, -1050 feet

Retrace the route for 3.0 miles back to the trailhead (1).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour