The Donner Lake Rim Trail features a multi-use trail on the mountains and ridges surrounding Donner Lake. Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians can enjoy stunning views of Donner lake, Mount Rose and the Pacific Crest. Trails run from downtown Truckee to Donner Summit and connect with existing trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail, Warren Lake Trail, Summit Lake Trail, the Hole in the Ground Trail. There are picnic tables near the trailheads so families can enjoy an outdoor meal before or after a great hike, run or ride.
A popular place to start is on the Northwoods Boulevard side heading uphill. To do this, park at the Trout Creek Trail parking on the east side of Northwoods, and then cross back over the road to find the trail. From here, the trail quickly leaves the neighborhood and enters into a mixed conifer forest with large cedar trees, skirting around massive granite boulders left behind by glaciers.
After two miles the trail opens up to dramatic views of Donner Lake and across to the Sierra Crest. While many hikers may already be familiar with the great views of Donner Lake on existing stretches of the trail, the new section offers unique perspectives few have seen before.
As the trail continues to climb the wildflowers start to really pop when conditions are right, with forget-me-nots, mules ear, and even some Washington lilies spotted this summer.
Eventually, the trail links to the viewpoint above Johnson Canyon where there’s a picnic table, and the existing trail continues up toward the Drifter Hut and beyond.
The new section of trail is about 5.5 miles one way, gaining about 1,200 feet of elevation on its way from east to west. (source)
How to get there:
From Donner Pass Road go up Northwoods Boulevard, looking for the Trout Creek Trail parking area on the right (shortly after passing Lamplighter Way on the left). Park in the trailhead parking area, then cross back over Northwoods Boulevard to find the Donner Lake Rim Trail trailhead.
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