Comments: This is a highly recommend trail…one of the best combinations of scenic beauty and wildflower displays in the Tahoe area. There is no description of this hike that would do it justice. At one point you will be standing on a mountain side surrounded by a carpet of yellow, with a panoramic view of the austere Desolation Wilderness. Shortly thereafter you will come to a fork in the trail. To the right are the ups and downs towards Barker Peak which is capped by a fun slag field. On the way to the top is a gorgeous little garden on a flat that follows a windswept ridge that harbors some alpine flowers like Loco Weed. Back at the fork, the middle (straight) path leads to a dark red/rust volcanic plug and another great view of Lake Tahoe. Along the way to the plug is a small stream, or seep, where there are all sorts of color including the perky yellow Monkey Flowers. Following are some steep ridge crossing trails that may test your limit for acrophobia…. Most will find quite benign. Back at the fork, the trail to the left is up to you to explore.
Directions: To find the Barker Pass trail, start at Tahoe City and drive south on Route 89 for four miles carefully looking for a small sign indicating the turn to Blackwood Canyon (there is also a Sno Park sign). Make a right turn and go for about seven miles staying on the paved road, which will make a left turn at one point (you might accidentally go straight here but notice you are suddenly on a dirt road), crossing a dam and climbing up the canyon wall. If you here at the right time of year, you will already be enjoying a beautiful display of color, without even getting out of the car. When the road does go to dirt continue on, ignoring the parking on the left, and turn right when you see the sign for "Barker Pass and the Pacific Crest Trail". Then immediately park on the left in front of the landmark “out house” there.
If you are coming from South Lake Tahoe, the turnoff to Blackwood Canyon is almost 2 miles north of the ski slope in Homewood. Of course, you turn left and follow the directions above.