Summit Lake Trail

EASY 21 reviews
#16 of 102 trails in

Summit Lake Trail is a 4.7 mile loop trail located near Soda Springs, CA that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

4.7 miles 519 feet Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

camping

hiking

lake

Directions from Truckee: Travel west on Hwy. #80 and take the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge Road exit, which is immediately west of the highway's Donner Summit Roadside Rest Area. On the south side of the highway there is a sign reading: Tahoe National Forest Trailhead Donner Summit Pacific Crest Trail. Follow the directions on the sign turning east for 0.4 miles to the trailhead.

2 months ago

Great half day walk!!! Summit lake is worth the hike!

hiking
2 months ago

This is an easy trail close to town that most ages can do. The scenery is good. There are variations in terrain and good views. A sweet little day hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Ran into coyotes on the way. keep a close eye on your dogs. They were right behind us. beautiful hike otherwise.

3 months ago

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

This was a moderate trail with beautiful wild flowers, gorgeous outlooks, flowing streams and a beautiful lake pay off. We would've like to have gotten in the water but there were limited access points and the ones that were available were taken.

The bugs like to bite and will getcha once you stand still so keep it moving!!

This would be a great trail in the fall/early spring when it's cooler.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful easy hike, with lots to offer, wildflowers (early July), granite, fir and pine, easy creek crossings and a nice alpine lake. For a nice day hike worth a look. We also ran into 2 through hikers on the PCT who were very interesting to visit with. Some mosquitos, deer flies and biting flies but it was bearable. All in all great representation of the best of what it is like to hike in the sierras. One drawback is a bit of car noise from Interstate 80.
Returned for a hike end of October after a rain. Trail was muddy and streams were flowing but still accessible and beautiful.

5 months ago

I rode up the lake on Donner Rim Trail, the lake is so beautiful and i plan to bring my family to hike here next day. Don't forget insect repellent!

hiking
5 months ago

Nice walk, probably too rugged for children under 8 unless they have some experience. Be prepared for swarms of mosquitos at dawn or dusk in spring or early summer.
Beyond that very nice combination of deep forest, meadows bare granite and soaring views to the south east across highway 80. Birds and wildlife abound. I saw juncos, blue birds, butterflies, deer, marmot, snake. Wildflowers and fungi also were there. This is part of the Donner Lake Rim Trail and a. branch off the Pacific Crest Trail.
I began at the westbound Highway 80 rest area which is sometimes crouded with tourists. Within less than a mile I was alone although higway sounds were present almost until the lake. Well marked, rocky, sometimes rugged trail with many small ups and downs.
I will hike again when I can spend more time.
My return trip at a trot (dodging mosquitos) took about 45 minutes. I would guess the distance between 2 and 3 miles one way-- possibly as short as a mile and a half.

hiking
5 months ago

Fun family hike with a few creek crossings from snow melt. Beautiful views & lake. You can hear road noise was only drawback.

hiking
5 months ago

Great short hike that's pretty level

hiking
1 year ago

Great hike for kids. One of the more moderate ones we've taken the kids on. Best part is the granite slabs for the kids. Every time we came across one, the backpacks were thrown to the ground and off they went! Would surmise by the meadows that early summer is the perfect time to see the full beauty of this trail.

hiking
1 year ago

Great hike with easy access and terrain. My 5-year old was able to do all of it. We started at the rest stop off westbound I-80 near West Lakes. The trailhead is right of the rest stop building. We made the mistake of turning left and walking along the north side of West Lakes and made an unncessary 1 mile loop. Walk down along the east side of the lake but then veer right to on PCT to get to on the right path to Summit Lake. We saw a deer along the way and had a nice snack break at the lake before turning around. We started at 10am on a Friday morning and only saw 3 people on the way there. When we headed back, saw few more people, but wasn't crowded at all.

hiking
1 year ago

This is a great hike for all skill levels. Although signage is great there is one fork in the beginning that's a little confusing. After about 200 yards or so you'll come to a sign going left or right saying glacier trail, Go RIGHT. If you don't you'll wind up at the rest stop.

The trail is very easy. Great if you want to pack in lots if food. Although summit lake is more like a pond. No running water when we went so go during the spring. Also, this lake is very popular with day hikers and their dogs. Not recommended for backpackers. However, Warren lake is 5 miles from Summit lake and would be a better alternative for backpackers.

One big complaint is the freeway traffic noise. Easy to hear freeway from summit lake. Not very in tune with nature.

All In all not bad. But as a backpacker I'd choose warren lake instead.

1 year ago

Nice hike, convenient to I-80 for a great stop between Sacramento and Reno. We were there in July, great wildflowers and viewscape, not overly challenging but good variety of terrain, shaded in many parts. Good for dogs.

hiking
2 years ago

10/8/14 1000 am start; Started from PCT trailhead near Boreal along the south side of Hwy 80. Mostly flat first mile with some traffic noise as you pass under Hwy 80 thru two short tunnels. North side of highway begins nice gradual uphill hike through varied terrain; forests, meadows, short granite section marked with cairns and nice views. Summit Lake is a small pretty lake surrounded by forest. Well marked trail.

hiking
2 years ago

Easy walk not too crowded. The lake seemed more like a big pond.

hiking
2 years ago

This is a lovely hike with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains including Castle Peak and ending at a lovely alpine lake. When driving to the trailhead just follow the road around a left corner and the trailhead will be obvious with a large parking lot.

3 years ago

I couldn't find the trailhead. Nothing is marked and the last street leads you to some abandoned buildings. Hiked alongside the mountain in what we thought might be the path and ended up on a golf course. This hike has been added to my hiking fails.

hiking
3 years ago

Still a Little snow around, and had to navigate some small creeks, but not too difficult. The weather was grand, and I had the trail all to myself.