Continuing on the theme of nearby 4WD trails you can do with a friend, this month’s focus is on the Frenchman Lake/Lake Davis area 60 miles north of Tahoe Donner. State Route 284 “Frenchman Lake Road” takes you through the scenic Little Last Chance Special Interest Area. Camping, boating and fishing opportunities abound as well as miles of inviting dirt roads. Two highly worthwhile routes are up to the Dixie Mountain Fire Lookout and to Crystal Peak. Dixie Mountain Fire Lookout has an easy dirt road (e.g. “Subaruable”) up to the Lookout which offers spectacular vistas of the surrounding area. Crystal Peak is a unique mountain given the entire top is composed of quartz. A sole Jeffrey Pine on the peak makes for a highly picturesque spot. The views are beautiful. The road to Crystal Peak is easy except for the last mile, where the otherwise tame dirt road becomes a steep rocky trail that will discourage anyone without a high clearance 4WD – but you can always park and hike the rest of the way – it’s worth it!
West of Frenchman Lake is Lake Davis where another Fire Lookout awaits your visit. The Smith Peak Fire Lookout is also Subaruable accessed via easy dirt roads and offers equally spectacular views. In general, manned fire lookouts have good access roads.