From any viewpoint, Pickett Peak is impressive. It is a rocky tower rising above the forest, and presents an exhilarating, albeit, brief climb.
Despite these features, Pickett Peak is often overlooked. It is overshadowed by its higher, rocky-topped neighbor, Hawkins Peak
10,024’, which shares similar features.
Getting to the summit of Pickett Peak involves scrambling its rocky tower that looks pretty daunting, but isn't really that difficult. It is often hiked in tandem with Hawkins Peak.
Looking back at Pickett Peak on the way to Hawkins Peak
The summit can be reached in about 1.5 to 3 miles one-way if starting from the base of Pickett Peak Road. Hawkins is another 2 1/2 miles further. Views are spectacular with the Sierra Nevada to the north, south, and west.
Red Lake Peak 10,063' and Stevens Peak 10,059' from the summit of Pickett Peak
Pickett Peak can be hiked usually starting in June and can usually be hiked through about early November. If hiking in winter months, you will be snowshoeing up a steep grade.
To get there from Reno, take 395 South until the highway ends in Carson City at Fairview Drive. Take Fairview drive for a little over a mile where it reconnects to 395 South. Follow 395 for 13 miles south to Highway 88, just before reaching the town of Minden. Follow 88 for about 19 miles. There is an offshoot south down Highway 89, but don’t take it. Stay on combined highway 88/89. Burnside Lake Road comes in at one the junction point where 89 goes north. Burnside Lake is a dirt route that leads to the Burnside Lake. About 3 miles up the road is a junction with Pickett Peak Road. Park here. Passenger cars can make it up the road, but SUVs are better if you want to be completely safe.
From the start of Pickett Peak Road, there are three options. If hiking Hawkins Peak, just hike a little less than 1/2 mile up the road and take a right on a steep road. This steep road peters out, but you can continue through the forest up to the base of the rocks. You can also head a little over a mile up the road, and cut up towards Pickett Peak when you see a small opening through the woods. It is less steep than the first option, but a little longer.
Pickett Peak through the trees
If just hiking Pickett Peak, and/or if you want some extra distance, you can take Pickett Peak Road until you see rocky-topped Point 9,003 - the rocky point behind Pickett Peak (or east of it). Take the road just north of Point 9,003. Make sure to keep going up, even if you have to leave the road. You will soon be at the base of Pickett Peak. You want to get around to its south side. An easy class 3 route takes less than 10 minutes up to the summit. This route is about 3 miles one way.
South side of Pickett Peak. The route is in between the rock pinnacles
The elevation gain is about 1,400 feet for either route.
In the winter you need a California Snow-Park pass to park at the Hope Valley Snow Park (Nov-May). The cost for the pass is $5 for a day and $25 for the season. In the summer parking is free. The peak is with National Forest Land and no permits are needed. A map of the Mokelumne Wilderness can be acquired from the Ranger Station at Carson Pass (although Pickett Peak isn’t officially in the Mokelumne Wilderness, the peak is on the map). This information came from Eric L