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Frog Lake Overlook Trail

HARD 106 reviews
#28 of 193 trails in

Frog Lake Overlook Trail is a 6.8 mile moderately 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.

Distance: 6.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,561 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

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.

hiking
snow
9 days ago

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.

hiking
29 days ago

I'd reccomend starting early. beautiful views!!

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Great views, not busy at all!

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
snow
2 months ago

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.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months ago

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!!

hiking
3 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months ago

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.

hiking
snow
4 months ago

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.

10 months ago

great hike good workout easy to get to

hiking
11 months ago

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!)

hiking
11 months ago

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.

Saturday, September 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

hiking
Sunday, September 23, 2018

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...

backpacking
Monday, September 03, 2018

Stopped at this overlook on my way to Warren’s lake! Great little spot to take in some beautiful views of Frog Lake and the surrounding areas. Sat on the rocks and ate some lunch. Went about 730am on Saturday. Only person on the trail. Mostly shaded by trees all the way up. Great work out.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Really liked this hike. Easy slope to start and a tougher climb towards the end, but the views at the end are worth it. The trail links up with PCT and Summit lake trails too if you're looking for something a little longer. Only downside was having highway 80 right below you, it can be heard during most of the hike.

hiking
Friday, July 13, 2018

Great trek today. Up and back in four hours. Stopped several times to talk with other hikers.

hiking
Saturday, July 07, 2018

Great hike into the Donner/Castle Peak high country. Beautiful open meadows and views of Granite Chief to the south.Once up at the saddle between the overlook and Castle Peak you are presented with unspoiled Sierra back country. The view of Frog lake is a nice resting area. On my way back down I noticed a single track moving toward Castle peak and decided to try and link up to the traditional Castle Peak trail via this route. The track was hard to follow once in the forest but did take to the base of the peak. Could not find a solid route to Castle Peak Proper but it added a few more miles and more beautiful views. A+

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Awesome completely picturesque hike — tons of scenery and views. I love the start from campground on south side of 80. Frog lake overlook is stunning! (Trail signs don’t say Frog Lake — they say summit and warren). Only ding is noise from 80 as a distant backdrop — but still a solid 5-Star review. I linked up with Castle Peak. As others have said, the trail across the ridge is not easy to follow starting about halfway (no big deal because there’s the ridge-line and the terrain is easy) — but then it disappears at the big rocky step up to the plateau on which the 3 towers sit. That part is absolutely sketchy and dangerous due to scrabbly rock on steep slopes — and no discernible trail. Worse, several bits look “trail-like” that lead to exposed moves which lead to dead ends — and backtracking those same exposed moves. I eventually cleared the first bit (30 mins hunting around, contemplating risky moves, considering going back), then climbed down and under the second set of cliffs and then regained the path by scrambling up through a broad chute. Either go with someone who knows this section or be prepared for a challenge. COULD ONE OF THE TRAIL ASSOCIATIONS PLEASE MARK THIS SECTION BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT? After that — smooth sailing. Great little climbs up the towers (the east tower is climbable on east face (exposed class 4 for 50 feet). Middle tower easily climbed from the center as you face from the south. Great views, exhilarating drops on the back side. Hike down is OK - good views but sun-exposed and loose footling at places near the top.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

+1 beautiful great alpine hike. Wildflowers coming out now, still some patches of snow. Trail is indistinct after crossing creek a bit before coming out of the tree line, just head about 15 degrees to the right of the creek at that point and you’ll be on track. Tried to link up with the trails coming up to Castle Peak from the other side, which looks straightforward on the AllTrails map. However there is no trail that I could find across the peak, and I looked for 45 minutes. Castle peak is a nearly vertical 100’+ rock face with unstable steep scree fields beneath. It appears possible to scramble to where the trail ‘should be’ on the map but you can quickly find yourself in a risky situation if you attempt. That said the hike over to Castle Peak is great and highly recommended, adds about 3 miles out & back. There isn’t really a trail once you get into the wooded portion of the ridgeline but just follow the couloir around, it is straightforward wayfinding and you’ll find other’s boot prints.

hiking
Sunday, June 17, 2018

Moderately difficult. Beautiful hike. And the top is incredible.

hiking
Tuesday, June 05, 2018

As others have talked about, the wind can be quite gusty on top. Was thinking about linking to the Castle Peak trail, but too much snow between the for that. Still a fair amount of snow up top. The drains under the freeway are under a bit of water as of 6/4/18

Monday, October 09, 2017

Fantastic hike! A favorite for sure.

hiking
Sunday, October 08, 2017

Nice hike, lots of uphill! the overlook is beautiful, great views. Keep following the signs for Warren Lake trail until you get to the highest point, then head uphill to the east for the overlook.. Confusing at the beginning, be sure to download the directions below and bring them with

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Nice hike, with some good climbing. if you go to the overlook, follow the signs for Warren Lake. when you get to the saddleback and can see Castle Peak to the left, turn right and go up the hill and get ready for a spectacular view. Total elevation gain is 1880ft and 6.45 miles according to my hiking tracker. I started from the 80W rest area. signs are marked for Warren Lake, Summit Lake, Donner Lake Rim Trail a PCT. but not Frog Lake Over Look. it is well worth it.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Very nice...took amazing pictures

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