Summit Lake Trail

MODERATE 113 reviews
#12 of 188 trails in

Summit Lake Trail is a 4.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Soda Springs, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
442 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

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.

3 days ago

Too much snow to shoe to the lake. There were no tracks going north from the intersection of Donner trail and PCT. we just went up to Azalea lake. Snow was up to 5’ deep and Donner is getting up to 3’ more next week.

2 months ago

Great trail!

hiking
4 months ago

Unleashed Dogs... Nice Dogs... Barking Dogs... Growling Dogs... Attacking Dogs... Unleashed Dogs everywhere with ignorant owners in tow. "Oh don't worry... Spike won't bite you"... As he's charging me at full speed with his teeth bared, hackles up and gutteral growl going.

Trail is beautiful. Lake is great. Views from the rims are wonderful. Hike is easy with a couple moderate tenth mile stretches.

Did I mention the Unleashed Dogs!

4 months ago

* peaceful if you ignore highway 80.
* level. shady.
* can go all around the lake trail, very nice.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike! Nice and shady and the views of the lake were great! Pretty easy, not much elevation gain. Will do it again in the future.

hiking
4 months ago

A lovely hike, although I could hear the traffic from I80 most of the time. I missed the turn off at the intersection with Warren Lake Trail to go back down, so continued on Donner Lake Rim Trail until it connected with PCT. That made it an enjoyable 7.5 miles RT

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike! Went with my small dog in mid August, but wish we would have gone a month or two earlier so that we could have seen more wildflowers. It was still one of the best hikes we have ever done. Plenty of gorgeous trees, granite rocks, lakes and wildflowers to look at. Loved how the first part of the hike was part of the PCT and then went under Highway 80 and the second part of the hike was totally different. The lake at the end is perfect! Highly recommended.

4 months ago

Nice, well maintained, not too steep, and lots of shade. The lake is great for a cooling dip and there's water in streams along the way.

5 months ago

One of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever been on! We had a little trouble finding the trailhead as well. You have to go down the PCT for a bit and then the trail will take a sharp left and there is a sign.

hiking
6 months ago

This hike was awesome. Easy enough for a beginner but with some climbing and challenges. The view 3/4 way up is totally worth it, and right now in June there are wild flowers in bloom and green meadows all over! So beautiful. a fair warning, this trail head was hard for me to find as it's not clearly marked; head towards the PCT; then when you are close to the freeway, just before you reach a sudden meadow of beautiful light green brush on the left, instead of continuing onto the trail as it feels like you're meant to, turn left and hop over the little creek that's there, and you'll see the trail that will take you north under the freeway. It took me three passes to even notice it--albeit I'm a noob, I ended up pretty far south on the PCT before realizing I was walking away from summit lake! Doesn't matter as it's all so beautiful, made a lovely and unexpected 8 mile hike instead! Would love to add the glacier meadow loop next time. Also, if hiking after 4 pm, if you are prone to mosquitos take precautions!! *scritch scritch*

6 months ago

Lovely trail with our nature lover dog. Wildflowers were in abundance. We had a nice swim as did the dog, with few people around. You can hear a slight bit of highway traffic noise. But considering the proximity, it’s a wonderful spot to hike to. Obviously, lots of options to diverge from this loop.

hiking
7 months ago

This was an amazing hike! Perfect for intermediate and beginners. Lake was beautiful, lots of awesome rocks and colorful flowers. Highly recommend!

hiking
7 months ago

such a nice hike. great hike for the dog and the lake was amazing.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail, lots of signs. We took our 3 year old and he had a blast too.

hiking
7 months ago

Easy out n back

7 months ago

Still a bit of water, the tunnel is filled with 2-3” so start from the west direction rest stop maybe. So didn’t go past that part. The main trailhead has some litter issues all the way up to where it goes behind the rest stop, maybe from families using this as a snow day spot as evident by all the plastic and coffee cups etc. It is everywhere and people should be ashamed really. Take a few pieces on your way out if you have a chance.

8 months ago

Sadly completely covered in snow. Looks like a great trail... will check back in a month or so.

hiking
Friday, October 27, 2017

Enjoyable walk through a variety of habitats. October is a great time of the year to hike this trail ... looking forward to hiking the trail during the spring.

hiking
Friday, October 27, 2017

Gorgeous, easy hike

hiking
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pretty fall color!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Nice educational signs at the start that highlight things you see throughout the hike. It actually goes under Hwy 80 which is intriguing. Nice, easy, wooded, crosses a stream several times. Will do again!

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Another fantastic hike. Dogs off leash ok. Probably should bring a little water for the pups. Not too far of a hike but still the beauty is amazing.

hiking
Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Lovely hike that is perfect for someone who wants a little exercise, some challenge, great views, and doesn't have all day. It's easy to accidentally divert from the trail, and the trail around the lake is not very clear (you may have to make your own way). The lake is very swimming friendly. Wildflowers still visible, and lots of dogs.

Friday, September 01, 2017

beautiful lake and easy laidback hike.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Second time on this trail, but this time we parked at the westbound I-80 rest area and started there instead of at the designated start over a mile farther. So if you want to shorten it, start at the rest area. Otherwise a nice, pretty trail with lots to see. Summit lake is beautiful and good for a swim. My only complaint is the yahoos who 4x4 in from a road on the east side of the lake. They come in loud, stay loud, and bring loud things that hikers wouldn't carry in. If forestry closed that road, it'd be perfection. But since it's the yahoos who make it unpleasant and not the trail or lake itself, still five stars.

hiking
Saturday, August 12, 2017

Great easy hike. Well maintained trails with a few small water crossings but no need to get feet wet. A couple of cool tunnels under the freeway. Lots of beautiful wild flowers and great views. We will definitely hike this one again.

hiking
Monday, August 07, 2017

Beautiful hike! Well maintained, wildflowers, pretty lake, quite a few people and dogs on a Sunday afternoon.

hiking
Saturday, July 29, 2017

Beautiful and easy hike. My dog and I really enjoy it.

hiking
Friday, July 14, 2017

Great short hike to a pristine lake.

hiking
Friday, July 14, 2017

Sierra granite, beautiful lake and forest to explore.

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