Kirkwood Mountain Resort is one of three mountains accessible on the same ski pass. Which means, when you come to visit South Lake Tahoe, you don’t have to just ski one mountain! Make it your goal to try and take some turns at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Northstar California Resort and Heavenly Mountain Resort. Each mountain has something different to offer, and Kirkwood is one of our favorites.
Kirkwood Mountain Statistics
- 15 Lifts
- 72+ Designated Trails
- 2,300 Skiable Acres
- 7,776ft Elevation at The Base
- 9,800ft Elevation at The Top
- 2,100ft Vertical Rise
- Terrain is 15% Beginner, 50% Intermediate, 20% Advance and 15% Expert
- Open 9am to 4pm Between November and April
If you are vacationing in South Lake Tahoe, you are in for a beautiful drive if the weather is clear! From the center of South Lake Tahoe, the drive is about 50 minutes (that is, if you don’t stop for too many photo opportunities). From Meyers, you will take CA-89 S through a gorgeous mountain pass. Once you start descending down, you will see Hope Valley. At the intersection in Hope Valley, turn right onto CA-88 W. This road snakes through Hope Valley, and starts climbing around Red Lakes area before reaching Caples Lake and then Kirkwood Mountain Resort. After 34 miles of driving, you will arrive at your destination.
Once you pass the Kirkwood sign, continue past the houses and condos. There is a beginner area, the Timber Creek Base Area. For families with small children and beginners, this can be a good place to set up for the day. Otherwise, continue driving and you will start seeing people parking on the left side of road. Everything is first-come-first-serve. For $20 per day, you can park in one of two lots right close to the Mountain Village. For free parking, continue to the large free lot past the Community Rec Center. There are free shuttles to take you closer to the Mountain Village if you don’t want to shlep your gear yourself. If you know you are going to ski Kirkwood, we recommend purchasing your lift tickets in advance. Otherwise, tickets can be purchased in the Mountain Village.
The Mountain – The Backside
Depending on your ability, there are a few lifts you might want avoid. Assuming that you are an intermediate to advance skier, we love heading over to the backside in the morning. The Chair 4 (the Sunrise Chair) is in the sun first, and during Spring skiing conditions will be softer. There are a mix of intermediate to advance trails, some groomed some with bumps. If you need a break, there is a small little bar/restaurant to grab a beer and a bite to eat. There is a rope tow at the top of Chair 4, that will take you across the ridge line to access more terrain. Kirkwood also has a T-bar at the top of Chairs 3 and 2, to bring you across Lookout Vista and drop in to the Devil’s Corral.
The Mountain – The Frontside
No matter what your skiing itinerary looks like, Kirkwood Mountain will always leave your quads sore, and a smile from ear-to-ear on your face. As always, ride safely and responsibly and always be aware of your surroundings and others around you.