Road trip guide: Conquering Barker Pass in CA

Barker Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.372m (7,782ft) above the sea level, located in Placer County, in the U.S. state of California. It is suitable for most stock 4wd drive vehicles.

Barker Pass

Set high in the Tahoe National Forest, the road to the summit is mostly unpaved. Starts paved (is totally doable in 2WD) but gets very interesting later as you climb and a 4x4 vehicle is required to complete the drive. It’s called Barker Pass Road. This road is usually impassable from late October through late June or early July (depending on snow). Snow may persist in spots well into the summer.

The road to the summit is very steep, hitting a 12% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at W Lake Boulevard, the ascent is 11.26km (7.0 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 467 meters. The average gradient is 4.14%. Located high above Lake Tahoe, the road can get busy on the weekends. It often has more bikes than car traffic.
Pic: Paul Andrews