Black Cat Peak - Virginia Lakes

Black Cat Peak - Virginia Lakes

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 38.03724°N / 119.2905°W
Additional Information County: Mono
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Elevation: 11524 ft / 3513 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Black Cat Peak July 24, 2010Black Cat Peak East Face

Black Cat Peak is a small unnamed summit in the Virginia Lakes area of the Hoover Wilderness. It is part of the same intrusion of dark granite as Black Mountain 0.6 miles to the east on the same ridgeline. The peak has two high points. This gives it the appearance of a cat's head with the two ears. The east one has the USGS measured elevation, 11,524'. This is an easy class 2 ascent less than a half mile to the south from the saddle (11,120') of the Summit Lake Trail. The best views are to the south over Lundy Canyon to the Yosemite high Sierra including Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak; and northeast to Dunderberg Peak and the Virginia Lakes area.

Black Cat Peak only has 232' of prominence between it and Excelsior Mountain 12,446' to the southwest, and it can easily be combined with Excelsior Mountain.  It is more difficult to combine Black Cat Peak with Black Mountain (as one can see by viewing the photo of the east face) since the terrain between the two is rocky and steep.

Black Mountain and Black Cat Peak from the west
Black Mountain and Black Cat Peak from the west

Appreciation is owed to Windsor Riley (aka Noondueler) who created this page, and who passed away in 2016.

Getting There

Yosemite high Sierra from  Black Cat Peak Yosemite high Sierra from Black Cat Peak

From the junction of Hwy. 120 go north 12 miles on Hwy. 395 to Conway Summit (8,143'). From Bridgeport go south 13 miles on Hwy 395 to Conway Summit. At Conway Summit take the Virginia Lakes Road 6 miles west to the trailhead at roads end parking lot (9,800').

Take the Summit Lake Trail as it weaves gradually up past the lakes up to the saddle at 2.5 miles (11,120'). Hike southeast 0.4 miles to the peak. The summit is reached by traversing around to the right and scrambling up to the high point.

If hiking Excelsior Peak, Black Cat Peak is great to hike first, because it offers an overview of the route ahead to Excelsior Peak.

Excelsior Mountain from Black Cat Peak
Excelsior Mountain from Black Cat Peak

Red Tape

 Black Cat Peak  northeast pano Northeast pano from Black Cat Peak

No permits are required for day hiking in the Hoover Wilderness. For camping permits in the Hoover Wilderness contact: Humboldt/Toiyabe National Forest Bridgeport Ranger District HCR 1 box 1000 Bridgeport, Ca. 93517 760-932-7070


The only campground is Trumbull Lake (9,745') just northeast of the trailhead.  Many people car camp at the trailhead.