Hiking

Martis Valley Trails

Directions to Trailhead: From Downtown: Proceed east onto Brockway Rd from Donner Pass Road. At the junction with SR 267, turn right. After the airport, watch for "Wildlife viewing area" sign and turn right into the parking area. Description: Over 770 acres of surface area suitable for hike, dog walks, and joggers, many path connections for easily customizing your own trail. Wildlife sightings might include mule deer, coyote, ground squirrels, pocket mouse, chipmunks, raccoons, red tail hawk, mountain quail and Canada Geese. Watson Lake Directions to Trailhead: From Downtown, turn east onto Brockway Rd. At the intersection with SR 267, turn right and head up Brockway Grade. At the summit, turn right and follow the paved road for about 6 miles. This is a beautiful drive through forested land, opening up to views of hillsides and wildflowers. Watch for bicycles and oncoming cars. After 6 miles, watch for a turnoff on the left (sometimes signed) to Watson Lake. After about 1/2 mile, you will reach the lake and a small parking area. Description: There is a nice hiking path around the lake, a small part of which can be soupy until it dries out in August. It is a great spot for a picnic with the kids, and since it meets up with the Tahoe Rim Trail, can also serve as a launching point for a hike onto that trail.

Coldstream Canyon

Coldstream Canyon Directions to Trailhead: From downtown, head west on Donner Pass Road for about 2.5 miles. Here you will reach a single red flashing light. Turn left here. Park on the outside of the white gate. (the gate may be open when you arrive, but the property owners in Coldstream Valley open and close the gate at will. Description: This loop offers a mellow hike or ride offering views of the Sierra Crest, has nice flowers in the spring, and circumnavigates a series of ponds. Proceed down Coldstream Road, which alternates pavement and dirt. After a short climb up the old terminal moraine of the glacier that once filled this valley, you will see the whole valley open up before you. Proceed on this road until you come to private property signs at the last pond. Turn left on the dirt road and return on the east side of the valley. Total mileage--about 6 miles round trip from the gate. This trail offers two options. One could either climb Tinker Knob and return on the same trail or hike 11 miles to the Granite Chief Trailhead in Squaw Valley. The first 1-1/2 mile of the trail is a four-wheel drive road which follows the South Fork of Cold Creek passing ponds that are used for ice skating in winter. The road ends at the Forest Service boundary. From here the trail begins to climb, crossing the South Fork of Cold Creek and several other creeks. After a steady climb for about 2 miles, the trail again becomes a four-wheel drive road for 1/2 mile until it reaches an open ridge. At this point the road veers off to the bit (east) and the actual trail heads south for 1/4 mile to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) junction. Tinker Knob is a short, easy 1/4 mile hike from the junction and offers an impressive 360-degree panoramic view from an elevation of 8950 feet. Hikers taking the trek to Squaw Valley will turn south at the PCT junction and follow the trail along the ridge for 2.5 miles to the Granite Chief Trail junction. (Along the way the trail will pass the Painted Rock Trail.) From the junction, the Granite Chief Trail descends into the Squaw Valley.

Mount Judah Loop

Mount Judah Loop Description: With minimal effort, hikers can reach some of the grandest views available in the northern Tahoe Sierra, via the 4.6-mile Mount Judah Loop. The rugged terrain around Donner Pass is impressive, and the trail affords many excellent vista points along the way to the awe-inspiring view from the summit of Mount Judah. The section of the loop that connects with the Pacific Crest Trail was constructed in the 1990s, but despite its recent origin, the Mount Judah Loop has justifiably become a very popular hike, so donít anticipate a high degree of solitude. Be sure to pack plenty of water, as none is available en route. The trail is generally snow free from mid-July to October, although early in the season lingering snowbanks may cover the forested sections of trail, particularly following winters of heavy snows.

Tahoe Donner Trails

Directions to Trailhead: With so many trailheads and routes, it is best to stop by the Clubhouse, located at the red flashing light on Northwoods Blvd, and pick up a map. From Downtown: Proceed west on Donner Pass Road to the Northwoods Blvd stop light. Turn right here. At the top of the hill, turn right into the clubhouse parking lot, located at the red flashing stoplight. Description: Tahoe Donner is a private neighborhood, with a trail system that is open to public use. The routes often travel the numerous green spaces and cross many roads. This can be confusing, but with some creativity, and a Tahoe Donner Trail Map, the trail user can put together some nice routes. Donít be deceived; this network does not feel as though youíre riding in peopleís backyards. It utilizes the green spaces to offer a nice secludes feel with well-constructed trails.

Waddle Ranch Trail System (WRTS)

Waddle Ranch Trail System (WRTS) Directions to Trailhead: From Downtown, turn east onto Brockway Rd. At the junction with SR 267, turn right. Turn left onto Martis Creek Dam road. Proceed to the parking lot before the second gate. (near the glider port). Park here, and walk/run/ride across the dam. The Waddle ranch access trail begins on the far side of the dam. When the trail forks, make a right turn. At the second fork, turn left onto Rusanoff Road. It is a dirt road, and is currently not signed. Although WRTS can be accessed from SR 267, there is not legal parking. Access is discouraged here, due to the high speed traffic on SR 267. Description: Great for hiking and strolling, there are two roads crossing Waddle Ranch, on an N-S and E-W axis. Rusanoff Road proceeds east to excellent birding and wildlife viewing at the inaptly-named Dry Lake, and junctions with Old Mill Road, which meanders south to SR 267. These roads wind through lovely forests and open meadows. New trails are slated to be built around Beacon Hill, and connecting Beacon Hill to Rusanoff Road.

Commemorative Overland Emigrant Trail

Commemorative Overland Emigrant Trail Directions to Trailhead: From Downtown, proceed northeast on Donner Pass Road. At the roundabout with SR 89N, merge onto SR 89N. Proceed 4.5 miles to the US Forest Service facility called Donner Camp picnic area on the right side of the road. Note 1: the section from Donner Camp to Prosser Creek is often one of the last parts of the trail to dry in the spring. If it is still wet and snowy here, proceed north on SR 89 N another 2.5 miles to the pullout at the Prosser Creek Bridge. Note 2: Later in the year, the trail can be accessed from many pull outs on Alder Creek Drive, which the trail parallels for 3 miles (access by making a Left from Hwy 89 onto Alder Creek Drive after leaving downtown Truckee.) However, in the spring, the Alder Creek crossings may be impassable. Description: This very popular trail offers rolling, not-rocky, wide single-track through high desert scenery. The trail winds through sagebrush, seasonally wet meadows, and Jeffrey Pine forests. The total trail length, from the Tahoe Donner Campground to Stampede Reservoir is over 15 miles, but, as it is an out-and-back, go as far as you want to go! Popular for early season hiking, early season wildflower and deer viewing, running, and mountain biking. Can be hot in mid-summer, but thereís a nice big reservoir in which to swim (Stampede) at the end point of this trai

Donner Lake Rim Trail

Donner Lake Rim Trail Directions to Trailhead: There are currently three: 1. From Downtown proceed west on Donner Pass Road. Turn right on Northwoods Boulevard and proceed straight ahead through the red flashing light at the top of the hill. After a couple of miles, turn right on Fjord, and then left on Alder Creek Road. Take the next left, which is Skislope drive, and head up the hill. Turn right onto Glacier Way, and then make an immediate left into the Tahoe Donner Trailhead parking lot. 2. The Donner Lake Rim Trail can be accessed at Donner Summit: Hikers and equestrians can use the Pacific Crest Trail, and mountain bikers can access the trail via Castle Valley Road. 3. Negro Canyon: From Truckee, proceed west on interstate 80 for about 4 miles, to the Donner Lake Interchange. Proceed down the off ramp, and make a right turn onto a dirt road. The parking lot is on the right, marked with a trail head kiosk. Description: This trail is being built by the Truckee Donner Land Trust with volunteer labor. When complete, the Donner Lake Rim Trail will offer trail users a 23 mile loop through the high country surrounding Donner Lake! Currently 15 miles are complete, with 9 of them open to bicycle use. Here are a few suggested day trips: 1. For Bicyclists: Drop a car at the Soda Springs Trail head for the Hole in the Ground Trail, and begin the Donner Lake Rim Trail from the Glacier Way Trail head in Tahoe Donner. At Castle Valley Road, turn right, and proceed up this road to the junction with the Hole in the Ground Trail. This ride is almost 20 miles (one way) of technical single-track bliss! 2. For hikers: This hike is accessed from the PCT trail head on Donner Summit. A very popular day hike or run is to head north on the PCT until it junctions with the Summit Lake Trail. Proceed East on this trail until it Junctions with the Warren Lake Trail and Donner Lake Rim Trail. Proceed west on the Donner Lake Rim Trail until it junctions with the PCT. Turn left (south) onto the PCT, and head back to the trail head. Physical Challenge: moderate. Distance: 5 miles 3. For all trail users: Often overlooked because of its proximity to I-80, and its appearance as offering little shade, is Negro Canyon. Prepare to be surprised! This canyon has nice shady spots, aspen groves, lots of wildlife, and great sections of the Donner Lake Rim Trail. Negro Canyon is located off the Donner Lake Interchange. The trail begins, and at this point is called Wendin Way, just behind the gate, located about 100 feet behind the Donner Lake Rim Trail kiosk. Turn left on the trail, and begin a gentle climb for about 1.5 miles, to the junction with the actual Donner Lake Rim Trail. A right turn here will take you up a series of switchbacks to Donner Ridge, offering spectacular views as the reward for a very stiff climb. A left turn will take you through often open country with great views, and on to Summit Lake (about 3 Ĺ miles further.)
Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Directions to Trailhead: From Downtown, proceed west on Interstate 80 for 9 miles. Exit at the Castle Peak- Boreal Ridge Road Exit. Turn left off the off ramp, and then left again on Boreal Ridge Road. Follow signs to the Trailhead. Description: This almost 2500 mile trail offers 20 + miles of trail to the Truckee day hiker, runner, and equestrian. Popular routes include: 1. Setting up a car drop at Squaw Valley USA Ski area, and hiking South along the PCT for stunning views on Tinkers Knob and Anderson Ridge, before descending the ski area. Physical Challenge: very strenuous Distance: 20 miles, one way. 2. Proceeding North on the PCT to Round Valley and the Peter Grubb Hut, an historic hut for backcountry camping maintained by the Sierra Club. Physical Challenge: moderate Distance: 8 miles, round trip, with a side trip option to ascend Castle Peak adding another 3 miles and increasing the physical challenge greatly. 3. A very popular running and day hiking route is to proceed south on the PCT until it meets US route 40 and return by heading north, back to the trailhead. Physical Challenge: moderate Distance: 6 miles round trip. 4. Another very popular day hike or run is to head north on the PCT until it junctions with the Summit Lake Trail. Proceed East on this trail until it Junctions with the Warren Lake Trail and Donner Lake Rim Trail. Proceed west on the Donner Lake Rim Trail until it junctions with the PCT. Turn left (south) onto the PCT, and head back to the trail head. Physical Challenge: moderate. Distance: 5 miles.
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