Beckwourth Peak is the prominent, flat-topped peak dominating Portola to the north and overlooking the expanse of the Sierra Valley to the south. It’s named for the black mountain man and Jim Bridger associate James Beckwourth, who also discovered Beckwourth Pass to the east. Despite its prominence it seems completely ignored by hiking guides. It does offer a pleasant country drive from Truckee and short peak hike in spring when just about every Tahoe peak is still snowbound, especially in a heavy snow year like this one.
Directions: drive north to Portola from Truckee. About one half mile outside of town on county road A15 is USFS forest road 22N15 with a sign announcing “Beckwourth Peak 4 Miles”, actually about 4.5 miles. The first two miles are easily driveable by street vehicles unless boggy from snowmelt. At this point the slope abruptly steepens, so I parked here and hiked the remaining 2.5 miles and 1500′ elevation gain to the summit. My Outback-class vehicle could have easily made it another 1.5 miles to a locked gate, but I needed some exercise.
Due to the flatness of the summit and some forest cover there’s no 360 panoramic view from any one point but the radio tower location does provide a fine view of the Sierra Valley and the Portola/Davis Lake area.