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The Nipple

The Nipple

The Nipple

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.63990°N / 119.9321°W

Object Title: The Nipple

County: Alpine

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 9342 ft / 2847 m


Page By: BCL

Created/Edited: Sep 26, 2010 / Sep 26, 2010

Object ID: 665077

Hits: 8070 

Page Score: 86.85%  - 23 Votes 

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The Nipple is one of several easily accessible peaks located near Blue Lakes road in the Mokelumne Wilderness south of Lake Tahoe. The peak acquired its name as the result of its broad base and small rounded summit block which resemble that of the human body. Its comical name, proximity to multiple campgrounds, and lack of challenging terrain make the peak a popular destination.

The summit offers fantastic views of the Carson, Luther, and Ebbetts pass regions. The Nipple can be combined with nearby Jeff Davis Peak and Markleeville Peak for a full day of peak bagging. The Nipple is on the Tahoe OGUL Peak List

The Nipple
The Nipple

Getting There

The Nipple is best approached from Blue Lakes Road. If coming from the east, follow Highway 88 2.5 miles past the turn off for Luther Pass and turn left onto Blue Lakes Road (38.7513 N, 119.9419 W). If coming from the west, follow Highway 88 6.25 miles past Carson pass and turn right onto Blue Lakes Road (38.7513 N, 119.9419 W). The Nipple will come into view after following Blue Lakes Road south for 7.5 miles (38.6584 N, 119.9172 W). All routes require climbing class 2 climbing. A summary of starting options is listed below.

Trailhead Route Elevation Gain One Way Distance
1 – Blue Lake Road Turn Out Cross Country 1116 ft 1.4 miles
2 - PCT Trail/Cross Country 1171 ft 2.1 miles
3 – Middle Creek Campground Cross Country 1059 ft 1.0 miles

Summer Trailheads

Blue Lakes Road is not plowed in the winter. Parking options during this time include the Sno-Park at Carson Pass, the likely plowed and possibly legal turn out at Red Lake, and the Sno-Park at Hope Valley.

Red Tape

The Nipple is subject to the regulations of the Mokelumne Wilderness. No permit is required for day hiking. Parking in the turn outs on Blue Lakes road is free. During the winter parking at the Carson Pass or Hope Valley Sno-Parks requires a SNO-PARK PASS.


Developed campgrounds can be found at Upper Blue Lake, Middle Creek, Lower Blue Lake, and Hope Valley. Fees and facilites vary.

Summit View
Summit View

When To Climb

Highway 88 and 89 are open year around allowing all season access to peak. While Blue Lakes Road is not plowed in the winter, access is available from the Carson Pass Sno-Park, turn out at Red Lake, and the Sno-Park at Hope Valley. The peak is generally snow free from July through September.

Lake Tahoe is subject to a variety of weather conditions, including summer thunderstorms and heavy snowfall in the winter. Weather forcast can be found HERE.

The avalanche advisory can be found HERE.

External Links

Bob Burd - The Nipple, Jeff Davis Peak, Markleeville Peak - January 13, 2006

The Nipple - September 18, 2010

Summit Register
Summit Register


The NippleSummit ViewUser Profile ImageThe Nipple from the eastThe NippleSummit RegisterTrailheads
View through the rocks from near the summit of The NippleHiking up to the ridge from the Blue Lake Road turn out routeThe Nipple from West NippleSummit blockClimbing down the summit blockApproaching The Nipple from the PCTNear the summit of The Nipple looking west