Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Donner Peak Trail is a 3.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Norden, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and snowshoeing and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length3.8 miElevation gain882 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyHikingSnowshoeingForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeRocky
Waypoints (4)
Contact
Tips
1
Trailhead
It's just four miles from the Soda Springs exit of Interstate 80 to the head of our trail. Drive past Sugar Bowl ski resort (past both an initial parking lot and main entrance) and turn right at the next cluster of buildings just up the road. An old road behind the buildings leads to the trailhead, and Pacific Crest Trail signs should reassure you that you're on the right track. Begin your hike up a single-track trail, which should be adequately signed from the old road by PCT signs. The route starts climbing immediately, switch-backing up the mountains through pine forest.
39.314594, -120.327309
2
[JCT] Sugar Bowl Junction
Leave the Pacific Coast Trail at this point, heading upward onto the Mt. Judah Loop Trail. If you're taking the full 5½ mile loop trail then this is the point to which you'll be returning to and closing the loop. Since snow cover can make wayfinding difficult, you may want to take note of this place to help you make your way back here.
39.3061, -120.32293
3
[JCT] Donner Peak Trail Junction
Located at the saddle of the two mountains, bear North East to check out the views from Donner Peak before returning and heading up Mount Judah. Mount Judah is the peak on which sits a reflective panel structure (answers on a postcard please to Trailspotting HQ explaining to us what this is for).
39.30701, -120.31471
4
Donner Peak
From Donner Peak enjoy the magnificent views over Donner Lake and Tahoe National Forest. If you're hiking earlier in the season, it might be around this point in the hike that you'd like to decide whether to continue with the loop trail or double-back depending on the snow conditions and the equipment you've brought with you. If snow is making the next segment of the hike and along the ridge-line of Mt Judah too imposing, you can still return to the trailhead having bagged a great summit.
39.308468, -120.311966

Snowshoes can be useful along this route as deep snow can persist here into late spring and beyond.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (685)
Photos (1370)
Recordings (663)
Completed (1388)
View user's profile page
Christina Jow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 28, 2020
HikingSnow

Not my favorite trail. Various man-made structures (ski lifts/slopes, radio towers, buildings, etc.) are visible the whole way, which really detracts from the view, imo. I prefer to get further from civilization.

View user's profile page
Eugene Ingerman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 24, 2020
SnowshoeingSnowWashed out

Went snowshoeing here in November. Fantastic views. Bring good snowshoes. Cell phone reception is very good. There are some parts of the trail that are eroded and challenging, so I'd rate it as hard in the winter.

View Eugene's Recording
View user's profile page
Leo Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2020
Hiking

Challenging 2nd part since we had to break trail in fresh snow.

View Leo's Recording
View user's profile page
Jana Iyengar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 3, 2020
Hiking
View Jana's Recording
View user's profile page
Rebecca Vitale
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 1, 2020
Hiking
View Rebecca's Recording
View user's profile page
Dan M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 1, 2020
Hiking
View Dan's Recording
View user's profile page
Maria A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 30, 2020
Hiking

The trail is very rocky in the beginning. Steady going up to the peak

View Maria's Recording
View user's profile page
Dusty Decker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
Hiking

Great views, simple but technical trail. RelAxing

View Dusty's Recording
View user's profile page
Marc Wetherbee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
Hiking
View Marc's Recording
View user's profile page
Barb Pierce-Jacobson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
Hiking

Morning was amazing, around 11:00am A LOT of people started hiking the trail. I was on my way down so not bad for me. Very nice weather, beautiful.

View Barb's Recording
View user's profile page
Jade Hoff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2020
Hiking
View Jade's Recording
View user's profile page
Cathy O'Malley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2020
Hiking
View Cathy's Recording
View user's profile page
Gunner Kennington
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 23, 2020
Bird watchingGreat!Rocky

Great trail and a sweet treat at the end!

View user's profile page
Kent Emmons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2020
Hiking

Excellent hike. The PCT was it's usual well kept trail. A little tough the last 50 yards up to the top of Mt Lincoln, but the view is fantastic. Took a side trip down over to Mt Judah for a 360 degree view. Then on to Donner Peak and home.

View Kent's Recording
View user's profile page
Rajesh Venkataraman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2020
HikingGreat!

We hiked this trail on June 20th 2020. There was a little bit of snow and ice near the trail but was not on the trail. There were nice views at the summit

View user's profile page
Brian Cook
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2020
Hiking

great hike, look forward to doing this in the spring.

View Brian's Recording
View user's profile page
Darin Peshev
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail.

View Darin's Recording
View user's profile page
Ken Caldeira
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
Hiking
View Ken's Recording
View user's profile page
Kevin Stern
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking
View Kevin 's Recording
View user's profile page
Matt Graves
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking

Enjoyed the hike. Would recommend showing up early to enjoy the peacefulness at the peak

View Matt's Recording
View user's profile page
Sonja Wenzel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 15, 2020
Hiking

Definitely a little chilly & windy today. I’ve done this trail a couple of times. This is the first time heading out in the earlier morning which I highly suggest with taking dogs up. There was A LOT more traffic coming up on our way down around 10/10:30am.

View Sonja's Recording
View user's profile page
Matt Lahmeyer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 14, 2020
Hiking

Great hike. well maintained.

View Matt's Recording
View user's profile page
Randy Trewhella
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020
Hiking

Nice easy trail. Switchbacks so not too steep at all. Next time I’m going for the 13 mile portion.

View Randy's Recording
View user's profile page
Mike Mccool
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
Hiking
View Mike's Recording
View user's profile page
Kent Emmons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
Hiking

It starts out a bit rough over a very rocky path then turns into the PCT pathways you have come to anticipate. Take the side trips to Donner Peak and the top of Sugar Bowl Ski Area's Summit Chair. There are others with great views of Donner Lake. I highly recommend this hike.

View Kent's Recording
View user's profile page
Krishna Vinod
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking
View Krishna's Recording
View user's profile page
Cindy Pants
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingRocky

Nice fall day. Weather was great not too crowded. The views were very nice. A good workout. The dog loved it. No water, so best for cooler days.

View Cindy's Recording
View user's profile page
pinaysoulhiker 00000
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Nature tripsGreat!

Well maintained. One of my favorites. We did the tunnel for 8miles and this for 4miles in one day!

Showing results 1 - 28 of 685