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Frog Lake Overlook Trail is a 6.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Soda Springs, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 6.8 mi Elevation gain 1,561 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

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 about 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 about 0.7 miles the trail passes under I-80 in a couple of culverts. Continue by climbing slightly to a four-way junction at about 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 about 1.6 miles the Summit Lake Trail junction is reached just after passing a small meadow. 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 (about 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 about 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 about 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 (about 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.

PCT Trailhead Parking Loop.

None

39.33917 N, 120.34295 W (PCT Trailhead). Take exit #176 (Boreal) from I-80 near Donner Pass and turn south to drive to Bunny Hill Drive. Turn left (east) onto Bunny Hill Drive and follow it for ~0.3 miles to the PCT Trailhead parking loop. The trail begins off the southeastern end of the parking loop.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (138)
Photos (532)
Recordings (124)
Completed (206)
Ross Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 09 2020
Hiking

Started around 9:00 and there was still parking. Great views, particularly of wildflowers! Shade was in most places in the morning. Fantastic view from the top. I’d do it again!

My IPhone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 09 2020
Hiking

Lots of wildflowers. First a meadow of corn lilies (not blooming yet) before the turn to Summit Lake. After the climb, a big patch of Mules Ears, and quite some Mariposa Lilies not usually seen on other trails. Frog Lake is on private land, no camping/backpacking there. Highway noise most of the way.

Aurora Santangelo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingMuddyRocky
Doug Hopper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 13 2020
Hiking

steep and fun! rewarding views at the top

View Doug's Recording
Paul Krakow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 05 2020
Hiking

There’s still plenty of snow up top, but the summit is reachable. Beautiful views up top. Keep your eyes peeled for the big Native American grinding stone near the peak.

Jenny Robinson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 02 2020
HikingIcySnow

Unfortunately the parking lot is closed and the trail is all snow. Attempt if your like, putting this info here to save you from a trip if you’re looking for a snow-less hike

JULIA HENDERSON
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Feb 09 2020
Hiking

Hike was very snowy at this time of year making it harder to find of course, but there are markers and signs. It leads to a frozen lake which I walked across, so it’s fine to walk on.

View JULIA's Recording
Trevor Rodgers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Nov 11 2019
Hiking

Great trail on a warm fall day.

View Trevor's Recording
P.T. Koenig
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Nov 10 2019
Hiking

Fun trail, a lot of climbing but the payoff is worth it at the summit. We went in early November and there wasn’t much water in the culverts or on the trail.

Lori M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Oct 05 2019
HikingSnow

Nice trail with good view of Frog Lake and the surrounding mountain range. There was patches of snow and ice on the trail (10/5), I was able to hike in my trail runners tho.

View Lori's Recording
Caitie Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 15 2019
Hiking

I'd reccomend starting early. beautiful views!!

View Caitie's Recording
Chibi Techu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 09 2019
Hiking

One of the best views around! Hopefully, Frog Lake will be open to the public in 2020. We loved this hike.

Jeff Tipton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Aug 27 2019
HikingNo shade

I don't know why this trail is rated 'hard'. It's pretty moderate. The culvert under I-80 west bound has some water in it which you'll have to step through. About 65 to 70% of this trail is exposed with no shade. The views from the cliff overlooking frog lake are nice. Two hours up and an hour and a half back. I met a total of 4 hikers.

Marisa Tsai
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Aug 26 2019
Hiking

Great views, not busy at all!

Jeff Eckert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 25 2019
Hiking

Great August hike. Started from I-80/PCT trailhead at 830. Great shade, wildflowers and water, for the dogs, along trail. Great views.

Craig Ehnisz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Aug 15 2019
Hiking

Did the hike today. No snow on the trail but there are patches off the trail. The mosquitoes are out early so I would recommend bug spray. Lot of beautiful wild flowers.

Stephen Dell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 29 2019
HikingSnow

Fantastic challenging hike. Did the hike about a week ago and there was still some decent snow patches across the trail and had to use app to stay on track. Water under I-80 at beginning of hike wasn’t terrible and just took off our shoes on way out. Fairly mundane for the first half and most of the elevation gain at the end, but totally worth it. Frog Lake overlook has amazing vistas! Definitely recommend this hike.

Manisha R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 27 2019
HikingBugs

Great hike, 3rd time here. About 6" deep water in tunnel under I-80 westbound, enough stepping stones to keep feet dry. Stones a bit precarious - hiking stick definitely helped with balance. Much of trail is in shade. Moderately high insect levels, even some up top, good to have repellent. Only one easy snow traverse, level firm snow. Maybe half a dozen streams to cross, all with stepping stones.

Kim Pierce
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 13 2019
Hiking

Wow what an awesome solo hike! Left at around 9am and didn’t see anybody until I got to the lookout (just how I like it). There is a lot of snow towards the top so had to follow along on this app which worked great. You do have to walk through about 12 inches of water when you go under I-80 but shoes dried pretty quickly so wasn’t bad. Lots of uphill so be prepared. Wouldn’t bring young kids on this one. Registered 7.91 miles round trip on my Apple Watch - super awesome hike though!!

Bryan Brock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 13 2019
Hiking

This was a great hike without snow in the fall.

View Bryan's Recording
Nils Carlson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 10 2019
Hiking

Trekked up to the Overlook yesterday. Water in Culverts is 12 inches deep in spots. I got boots wet but wasn’t a problem. Lots of trees down. There is still snow in spots which makes the trail tricky but doable! I didn’t see anyone on the trail, only four deer running up the hill. I used AllTrails to stay on trail.

Troy Kool
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 01 2019
Hiking

there is still a lot of snow pack. this makes it difficult to find the trail at times. I was not able to complete this hike because when I got within about a mile of the top it was just all snow and hard to navigate and I didn't have cramp ons. The culverts were filled with water up to my knees at the deepest spot...I walked through barefooted (painful on the rocks)...I should have brought lightweight water shoes for this.

View Troy's Recording
Beth Goncalves
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 10 2019
HikingSnow

I knew the trail was going to be snowed out, that was what we were looking for! It was super fun before the culverts - not too hard to navigate. The first culvert didn’t look too bad so we went through...we got drenched going through of freezing water. We debated going through the second, just as strong a water flow and opted to turn around. We’ll be back in a month or so! Going to tackle some other snow hikes before it’s all gone.

Mike Bou
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Dec 11 2018

great hike good workout easy to get to

Dave Hope
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Nov 11 2018
Hiking

Beautiful hike, recommend it. Not that tough, but longer than 6.4. I recorded just over 10 total from PCT trailhead to Overlook and back. ( More to enjoy the way I see it!)

Manda B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Oct 15 2018
Hiking

This hike was 80% inclined. My 12 year old did not complain once on the hike, he enjoyed the view. I am not in the best shape or avid hiker but managed to reach the cliff. This hike was not worth it for me. Not alot of people on the trail. Please make sure to wear hiking boots. A friend decided to wear tennis shoes and slip 3 different time.

david gilbert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 29 2018

fantastic views ..great rock seating on overlook for a lunch or as I did a peacefull place to do yoga and back stretching..nice hat fit testing winds before you split off Warren lake trail coming thru and up a meadow..clear sky views ...would rate it moderate to hard..just if ur doing some selfies at the overlook don't push it..looks like some pretty extensive damage can come ur way ..hit it last saturday..couple people heading to warren lake..nice 1/2 day hike

Yvonne Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 23 2018
Hiking

Beautiful views! A lot of climbing but worth it. Stopped at Summit Lake as well, another lovely lake! Off the try the Castle Peak connection...

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