Caples Lake to Kirkwood


Summary

Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 4.7 miles one-way
Starting
Elevation
7800 feet
Cumulative
Elevation
Change
+850, -850 feet
Navigation Map and compass
Time Half day
Season Late December through April
Snowmobiles Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Caples Lake
Start Dam at west end of Caples Lake on Highway 88. The parking here is minimal at best. As an alternative you can begin this tour at Kirkwood Cross Country and Snowshoe Center at Kirkwood Meadows. Ask at the Center if there is a fee for parking.
End Main Lodge at Kirkwood Ski Resort on Highway 88.


Description

Variety is the keyword in describing this one-way tour, but the distinguishing feature is the final downhill run at Kirkwood Ski Resort.

This tour begins with the first 2.9 miles of the Emigrant Lake tour. It is an additional 0.8 mile and 500 feet of elevation gain to the lake.

The starting point for the Caples-Kirkwood tour is the western-most dam that forms Caples Lake. You will need to ski to here if you begin at Kirkwood Cross Country and Snowshoe Center. There are two ways to do this.

North side of Highway 88
From the Center ski 0.4 mile east along the north side of the highway, gaining 100 feet, until you are opposite the dam and then cross the highway to the dam. Be very careful when crossing the highway. It is not safe to walk this 0.4-mile section of road because the narrow road is often icy and vehicles can lose control as they make the turn at the dam. This alternative is of beginner-intermediate difficulty.

South side of Highway 88
This is the safest route by which to ski from the Center to the dam because it crosses the highway in a straight, level section. However, this route is of intermediate technical difficulty. This route begins by crossing the highway at the Center, climbing and then descending (approximately +200, -100 feet) in 0.4 mile as you ski east to the dam.

Be aware that it is never safe to ski on Caples Lake.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 2.2
Elevation change: Nil

From the dam (1) ski southeast along the shore of Caples Lake for 2.2 miles until you reach the southern tip of the lake (2).

Miles: 2.2 - 2.9
Elevation change: +300 feet

Turn south (right) before crossing the creek and ascend along the west (right) side of the creek for 0.7 mile until you reach a location where a short, moderate slope rises to what appears to be a high point to the west (3).

Miles: 2.9 - 3.0
Elevation change: +100 feet

Turn southwest (right) and climb for 0.1 mile until you reach the clearing at Emigrant Valley (4). The bottoms of chairlifts 3 and 4 of Kirkwood Ski Resort are located in the clearing.

Miles: 3.0 - 3.5
Elevation change: +450 feet

Climb northwest (right) for 0.5 mile to the top of chairlift 3 (5). Do not ski on the groomed slopes as you ascend.

Miles: 3.5 - 4.7
Elevation change: -850 feet

Descend the intermediate and then beginner ski runs for 1.2 miles to the Main Lodge (6) at Kirkwood Ski Resort.

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