Frog Lake Overlook is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Norden, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
A fantastic viewpoint of the Donner Pass region awaits at the top of Peak 8653 and the edge of Frog Lake Cliff in the proposed Castle Peak Wilderness. Multiple viewpoints of Castle Peak and Mule's Ear are other highlights of this moderate climb to the viewpoint. The hike begins in a forest of white firs and lodgepole and western white pines. Stay right at the two junctions with the Glacier Meadow Loop. At ~0.4 miles a shallow pond is passed before reaching a junction of the PCT near a meadow. Turn left (north) and follow the PCT along the western end of the meadow toward I-80. At ~0.7 miles the trail passes under I-80 in a couple of culverts. Continue by climbing slightly to a four-way junction at ~0.9 miles. Turn right (for Summit and Warren Lakes) and follow the trail as it climbs at a moderate slope through patches of mixed forest and open areas of granite to the northeast. At ~1.6 miles the Summit Lake Trail junction is reached just after passing a small meadow. We recommend saving Summit Lake for after the climb up to the overlook. Staying left at the junction, the Warren Lake/Frog Lake Overlook trail climbs steeply up through the mixed forest to a volcanic ridge immediately west of Peak 7888. Take a short side-trip to this peak for some great views of the surroundings. The trail continues to climb steeply from here and passes in and out of a few treed and meadow stretches before leveling out temporarily to cross a tributary of South Fork Prosser Creek. At the crossing, monkeyflowers and alpine lilies can be found. The steep climb continues after the creek crossing as the trail makes its way up to a saddle immediately west of Peak 8653. Below the saddle is a beautiful open area with loads of arrowleaf balsamroot and Mule's Ear as well as views to the south and Castle Peak to the west. At the saddle is a four-way junction (~3.0 miles). Use-trails lead to the left and right. The left trail leads along the ridge towards Castle Peak and the right leads to the top of Peak 8653 and the edge of Frog Lake Cliff. The right trail leads to the fantastic overlook in ~0.1 miles. Sit down and enjoy the view over privately-owned Frog Lake and in just about any other direction for that matter. Castle Peak is directly west and Northstar is visible to the southeast. Once you are ready to leave the views get back on the main trail and retrace your steps down to the Summit Lake Trail junction. For those looking for more miles, continue northwest on the main trail for ~3.5 miles from the four-way junction and reach Warren Lake. Back at the Summit Lake Trail junction, follow Summit Lake Trail east through some open sections before descending back into the forest to the southern shore of Summit Lake (~0.55 miles from the trail intersection). Summit Lake isn't terribly scenic, but it is pretty. Once you are ready, retrace your steps to the trail junction and then the trailhead.
Fun half day or less trail with a great view
Nice trail. Definitely is a 4/5 in terms of difficulty. It's almost a constant climb beyond the Summit Lake junction. Bring hiking poles. Wish I had come in the last half of July. The flowers would have been outstanding. They were starting to fade when I went. Almost got lost after crossing the last stream, but I remembered that some of the rocks had orange painted on them. Those helped me stay on the trail. Saw lots of friendly dogs on the trail. I don't recall a sign pointing the way to Frog Lake Overlook. You just have to remember its on the way to Warren Lake.
it was ok. good for beginners wanting to try an incline. very busy trail
Really nice hike! We completed it in July on a cooler summer day. Fair warning it can be pretty windy up at the top (like takes your hat gusts) later in the afternoon - but the overlook is fully protected from this wind. We started at the PCT head by Boreal, the first part of the trail is shared with many other trails and is much busier. You'll see groups, dogs and lots of kids here. Until you pass under Interstate 80 it's busy and kinda noisy - although it's pretty. The trail is actually marked as Warren Lake Trail. The signs are easy to follow. Beyond the PCT split and Donner Rim Trail split we only saw a few other couples. The hike is a steady climb up to the top, lots of flat/low inclines mixed in with some stepped inclines. Suitable for an athletic type person who is a bit out of shape and needs a workout! LOL You'll travel through meadows, forest, small creek crossings and by areas with some snow on the side! The overlook is gorgeous - although if you want to hang out for a nice lunch I recommend bringing a decently padded layer to fold up and sit on. We enjoyed a nice lunch of cheese, nuts and wine before heading back down. Before the overlook was a nice alpine swath of snow to slide around on in July! The hike down was easy - all downhill although if you've got bad knees you might want a walking stick to soften the walk. The trail was very dog friendly, well marked and easy to stand off to the side for oncoming hikers. Lots of stream water available for your dog to cool off in, or sip on. (Do need to bring some water for at the top) The rocks are not too tough on the pads. Mixed debris in the forest areas - we only had one spot where we had to stop and clean his pads out. We used the AllTrails Recorder for a total of 7.39 miles.
First mile or so, you will hear hwy 80 unfortunately, but doesn't take away from the beauty of the granite, view of castle peak, the smells of pine! We parked at Castle Valley, across from Boreal and up through the gate. Headed through the castle Valley and met up to the PCT, then to Summit trail, then to Warren, then at the intersection take a right up to the peak to overlook Frog Lake. It's gorgeous! Coming back down we took the Donner rim trail which we enjoyed more! We got 8.2 on gps.