Echo Summit

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For the Echo Summit at Johnson Pass in Utah & the Echo Canyon summit in Utah, see Onequi Mountains and Wahsatch, Utah.
Echo Summit
US 50 from Echo Summit towards Lake Tahoe.jpg
View from Echo Summit towards Lake Tahoe.
Elevation 7,382 ft (2,250 m)
Traversed by US 50
Location Eldorado County,
California, U.S.
Range Sierra Nevada
Coordinates 38°48′47″N 120°01′48″W / 38.813°N 120.030°W / 38.813; -120.030Coordinates: 38°48′47″N 120°01′48″W / 38.813°N 120.030°W / 38.813; -120.030
 Echo Summit is located in California
 Echo Summit
 Echo Summit
Location in California

Echo Summit (also known as Johnson Pass) is a mountain pass in the western United States, located in eastern El Dorado County, California. At 7,382 ft (2,250 m) above sea level, it is the highest point on U.S. Route 50 in California, which traverses it at postmile 66.48 between Twin Bridges and Meyers, south of Lake Tahoe.

The "Sierra Nevada Southern Route" (aka the "Pioneer Route") of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the United States, was routed over Echo Summit in 1913. The "Sierra Nevada Northern Route" of the Lincoln Highway goes over Donner Pass.

1968 U.S. Olympic Trials[edit]

Echo Summit is notable for being the location of the high altitude U.S. Olympic Trials and Training Camp in the summer of 1968.[1][2][3] The camp opened in July and the men's track and field trials were held September 6–16, a month before the high altitude 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.[4][5] The picturesque location is on the cover of the July 1968 issue of Track and Field News.[6]

The elevation of the track was 7,377 feet (2,249 m) above sea level, 28 feet (8.5 m) higher than the Olympic venue in Mexico.[2]

Four world records were achieved during the trials on one of the first Tartan tracks, constructed in the middle of the forest solely for this event. The track was built southwest of the summit in the parking lot of a small ski area, and hundreds of Ponderosa pine trees remained in the infield, densest on the north end. The track installation was completed in early July and was designed to be easily dismantled and reinstalled; it was moved the following summer to nearby South Tahoe Middle School, where it survived until 2006. The location became a California Historical Landmark in 2014.[7][8][9]

The ski area, known as Nebelhorn and later Echo Summit, closed in 1988. It is now Adventure Mountain, a snow play area for sledding and tubing.[10][11]


  • YouTube – 1968 U.S. Olympic trials: Men's 1500 m – ABC Sports
  • YouTube – Return to Echo Summit (2014) – U.S. Forest Service


  1. ^ "U.S. begins first work at altitude". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. July 16, 1968. p. 13. 
  2. ^ a b Payne, Bob (August 16, 1968). "Olympic camp's press 'ban' unpopular". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 18. 
  3. ^ "Vanderstock shatters record; Ryun 7th". Eugene-Register Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. September 12, 1968. p. 1B. 
  4. ^ Underwood, John (September 23, 1968). "Triumph at tragedy at Tahoe". Sports Illustrated. p. 18. 
  5. ^ Burns, Bob (July 3, 2000). "Magic Mountain". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Echo Summit" (PDF). State of California. Department of Parks and Recreation, Office of Historic Preservation: Application for Registration, California Historical Landmark. December 20, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ Burns, Bob. "Echo Summit". Pacific Association. division of USA Track and Field. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ Reed, Kathryn (June 28, 2014). "1968 U.S. Olympic track team, Echo Summit training site continue to make history". Lake Tahoe News. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ Reed, Kathryn (March 3, 2014). "Old ski lodge set to open on top of Echo Summit". Lake Tahoe News. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ Kingman, Bill (June 1, 2014). "Then and now: Echo Summit ski resort changes". Lake Tahoe News. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]