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