Explore the most popular hiking trails near Donner with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

walking
1 day ago

Very different hike with natural and urban elements. There was a lot more tunnel than we expected, with some breaks for beautiful views of Donner Lake. The tunnels were chilly even though it was 80 degrees out. Mostly gravel ground with some puddles. You’ll want a flashlight (phone flashlight is fine) for some sections. Each tunnel had a different style and there was some cool street art.

Really enjoyable hike. The highlight: incredible views and scenery!!!!

awesome view

Love it. It was so interesting. Next time I am taking my flashlight with me.

walking
12 days ago

This trail is very different and interesting! Not difficult at all, with the most challenging part being a small climb up from the parking spot I chose, which was ~ 100 yards before the Donner Summit bridge on the way up Donner Pass Road. Don't miss the Petroglyphs on the way up! The path through the tunnels was a perfect way to take a break from the sun, and also the wildfire smoke that has been settling in the area every few days. The footing is mostly gravel, so even though dogs are allowed, it may be a bit tough on their paws. There are points in the tunnels where you will be in pitch blackness, so a flashlight is a big recommendation... especially to help avoid the puddles in some areas! Also, there are bats flying above, and the occasional mouse/squirrel/rat. I am a fan of street art, so I enjoy the graffiti... 80% of it is junk, but the other 20% is really great art!

There is no trail at top where there is a lot of exposure. We turned back and did not do the loop. It is a much longer hike that way.

Loved this trail! Great views, wildflowers and lakes.

Sunrise start meant I didn’t encounter anyone else until about 4 miles in (PCT hikers coming North). Highly recommend it. Incredibly peaceful, with beautiful overlooks and lower temps at that time. Also, I tracked this as about 14.4 miles from trailhead to Tinkers.

Easy to get to, fun, twisty trail through rocks and trees, and great swimming in Lake Flora.

hiking
20 days ago

Super fun hike. Cool to see all the artwork and graffiti. The tunnels are nice and cool on these hot summer days. Hike is not strenuous, I suggest going early because it gets pretty busy. A lot of bats on the trail today, but they kept to themselves! Great views of Donner Lake despite the smoke!

A leisurely hike out 3 Lakes Trail followed by a more strenuous loop back on PCT. Great day!

An easy hike that is different. I did the hike on a hot day so the cool temp in the tunnels was a welcome relief. Views of Donner and surrounding areas are spectacular!

26 days ago

Fun hike, tunnels are nice and cool, and if you’re paying attention you can spot some interesting features regarding their.construction. My wife is a 4th grade teacher and the China Wall is a fascinating piece of early state history. Views of Donner Lake are outstanding. A great family outing!

hiking
26 days ago

Great views of Donner Lake with interesting graffiti in the tunnels. Feels air conditioned on a hot day!

hiking
26 days ago

A very cool trail! Bring a headlamp or flashlight. The views are gorgeous and there is some interesting artwork along the way.

Lovely hike. As previous reviews have noted there are no signs marking the turn off for the lakes. We never would have been able to find the correct trail without GPS. The nice thing is most traffic stays on the main trail so even on a busy Saturday we saw just a few others along the way. We actually continued on to Lake Angela which worked well. Trail after Flora Lake can be unclear at times but GPS made it easy to figure out if we made a wrong turn (which we did).

This is a very easy and beautiful hike. it's more of a stroll through the woods but along the way there are two or three small little "ponds" and two stunning lakes. the only issue we had was getting to the two lakes.. there are no signs and it is very easy to lose your way and take the wrong trails (which we did 3 times) USE YOUR GPS!! Will definitely be going back again soon!!

scenic, good for visitors to the area.

Really amazing hike if your looking for something different. Easy walk through the tunnels and awesome views of Donner Lake. Drive up to the trail head is also a great drive.

hiking
1 month ago

What an awesome place! Easy 5 mile walk through thrilling dark tunnels with great artwork! I wish I brought a flashlight but my iPhone flashlight did the job by keeping us out of the few shallow puddle, but some parts got really dark and would have been nice to have a brighter light. I will definitely be returning!

An easy hike to two lakes. keep your GPS on otherwise you can miss the trail to the lakes as there is no sign for Azalea lake. the flowers are in full blown.

This place is beautiful!! Great place for swimming, bringing kids, and walking dogs. The rocks and wild flowers are so pretty. Definitely go in the morning before it gets too hot. If your looking for the right and beautiful place to hike this should be it.

Excellent hike. Great views. Highly recommend this hike.

We loved this hike. Took the whole family! Grandma and grandkids. It was a very unique hike and cool to see some history too. But yes as people mentioned, bring a flashlight or headlamp for kids would be helpful.

If I could add the photos I took to help you on the trail I would post it. 1. Park at the Donner Ski Ranch. 2. Walk up the skii hill access road. 3. You will come to a fork in the road, take the road on the right which should go past a tiny house with natural gas tank near it. 4. You will come to a water tank and garage, follow the road that hugs the building. 5. At the dam continue to follow around to the right side of the lake. 5a. The trail is not strictly hugging the lake but you can wander around further ahead past where you first find the dam. 5b. The trail is there somewhere and once you find it you are good to go. Enjoy!

Beautiful hike once you get on the hiking path. Not marked well to find your way, so you have to just guess at times. Flora lake is beautiful. Several people and dogs, but a good easy-moderate hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views, but once you get to the first lake the trail runs underwater, and it is very difficult to find an alternate path.

Beautiful, challenging trail. Dangerous in one part.

I recommend starting this like Frog Lake Overlook Trail. Ie — Pick up the PCT at the campground on the south side of hwy 80 at the castle peak exit (bunny hill drive). Follow this under the 80 and pick up the summit lake trail. This first section is VERY picturesque — a nice start to the hike. And the entire hike to Frog Lake overlook is superb. God trail, good coverage, great views. Frog lake overlook is quite breathtaking.

Then you traverse to Castle Peak. Pretty easy even though the trail is NOT moderately trafficked. Hard to follow in many places — but the ridge-line is there as a guide and the terrain is easy going.

BUT THEN you hit the big rocky step that goes up to castle peak where the three towers are — and the trail disappeared for me. This area is DANGEROUS from my POV. The rock is very steep and crumbly. There are numerous areas that might be the trail — many lead to sketchy or exposed (small) climbs — and some of these just dead-end causing back tracks. I was “on” the GPS trail — but it wasn’t there. Just scary cliffs, climbs and dead-ends.

I eventually scrambled off “trail” down about 100 feet and around some of the worst parts — and then hunted and pecked my way back up to the plateau.

From there smooth sailing. The easternmost tower is climbable from the east face (exposed class 4 climb about 50 feet). Middle tower is easy to climb right up the center. All views are impressive. Tops of the towers very exhilarating.

The walk down is pretty — but very little cover and loose footing at places from heavy traffic. To extend the hike a bit, link up with “hole in the ground” trail before joining the last part of the Castle Peak return. Then walk down and under hwy 80 in the road and follow bunny hill drive to the campground.

hiking
1 month ago

Walking through the old train tunnels was a bust for us. View after not worth the effort. Suggest yo try another hike

What a neat and unique hike through historic train tunnels! The parking lot is located across the street from Donner Ski Ranch. It’s a sizable lot with plenty of parking. You walk through a series of tunnels. A few tunnels are dark and damp, so flashlights would be a good idea. The graffiti art adds an interesting touch to the hike. In between tunnels, you’re able to enjoy terrific views. Dog and kid friendly, too.

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