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

hiking
5 hours ago

This hike is not Coldstream Trail. If you look closely Coldstream trail is to the West. Further it does not take you to Tinker Knob. It just ends at a forest road intersection. This is just a GPS track someone who went on a random walk and tried to figure out something not discernable.
The initial part of the hike involves getting across Coldstream which is broken into many streams, so make sure you have waterproof and high ankle boots. Further along the trail has private land but allows recreational activity. There is a detour along Jellystone Jump Trail that is for Mountain Bikers. Do not take that as it ends up at Posted No Trespassing dead end - stay on Yogi Bear. This hike takes you to a beautiful bluff that I suggest you stop there as there is only another half mile of forest and then a walk on a barren forest road to a random hike end.

Note also that this GPS route does not stick to any set trail so if following this route you need a good GPS and keep looking at the map.

Pretty much this is a good hike if you are training to just get distance, altitude and difficulty in but I would rather grab any of the other real trails. Also advise not to go if there is a large fire danger. The Tahoe National Forest had a fair amount of fuel, but parts of the Private land is just a disaster waiting to happen with dead fuel everywhere.

backpacking
19 hours ago

This trail was very challenging, but also rewarding. We went on a Saturday in June , and saw a lot of hikers on the way up, but not so much that I would call it crowded. Everyone was conscientious and kind, good hiking ethic all around. I didn’t see any trash and didn’t see any signs of irresponsible hikers. (According to the forest service, Campfires are allowed with a permit, which you can pick up at any ranger station and online w CALFire.) A wonderful trail to explore! We did it as an overnight backpacking trip and I’m glad we did, because we needed the rest in between. The hike back was also challenging, although mostly downhill, because of slippery rocks and steep terrain. Come prepared with a lot of water and a strong will to succeed, it is worth it. Ps- the trail can be easy to lose at parts, especially around the granite rocks. They have painted orange marks on the granite to help guide the way. A map is helpful.

+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.

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

This was a good go, up to the three lakes. But, VERY rocky and rooted in sections. If you're looking for a decent hike to a couple of beautiful alpine lakes, consider the Azalea/Flora lake trail which TH just east of Boreal and behind the Donner summit rest area. MUCH better and shorter trail and the lakes are not as big, but very pretty and swimmable.

backpacking
14 days ago

This is a well maintained hard trail with a great reward when you reach the North Fork of the American River. We did the round trip 14 mile hike in about 9 hours which includes an hour of resting by the falls and extra time to take in the views and lots of photos. You have Devils Peak on your right and a huge scene of the valley on the left while hiking on granite for the first 1/3rd and then switchbacking in and out along the creek and rock cliffs for the remainder 2/3rds. 2 litres of water in and 2 out, but may need more for mid-summer heat. There were mosquitoes in the more green meadows and some poison oak at the lower elevations.

The hike out is a constant climb with some flat areas for relief. Once you reach Long Lake you know the journey is coming to an end.

Early June, not a lot of people. Lakes are serene

I went on May 31st. Gorgeous Lakes. The snow is gone now. I enjoyed noticing the freeway get quieter and quieter until the noise disappeared entirely. I started on the trail at 6:30 am and saw no one for four hours. I loved it.

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

hiking
22 days ago

Beautiful, challenging hike. Be prepared to go up switchbacks, climb over logs, and trek through a rocky trail, but it's so worth it because the lakes are gorgeous. It took us about 6 hours but that included resting at each of the lakes and getting lost- trail can be a bit un clear.
No snow June 2nd, but a bit of the trail had a small stream flowing down it and was a bit wet.

on Donner Peak Trail

25 days ago

Great trail off I-80. Some hard switchbacks at the beginning but it’s overall short to get to the peak and view of Donner Lake below. You can continue onto Mt. Judah but it was not worth it to me.

backpacking
27 days ago

Great trail! Perfect for a three day weekend so that you can spend one full day down in the valley or up the other side of Palisade Creek. The waterfalls are huge and super dramatic - very impressive.

Be aware, there is a long drive to get to the trailhead and it takes about 30 min. If you’re going early in the season there will be pools of water or even snow.

We were there on Memorial Day weekend and there was no snow on the trail and very little mosquitos even though there is a lot of water. Very easy hiking.

The first two thirds down is very easy slope downwards, the last mile or two down the valley is pretty steep with a backpack.

One you’re at the bottom, there are lots of good camping spots. You can then hike up the other side. We went about 1/3 up but then stopped because you had to rappel down and I didn’t want to keep going.

Lots of water, no worries on having tons of access points (at least early in the season).

Tons of great fire pits and campsites. Beautiful views of the mountains and massive waterfalls.

There is poison oak at the bottom 1/4. We saw a snake and fresh bear poop.

This trail will be GREAT in about a month. It’s got great elevation gain and beautiful views, but you can hear the freeway for much of the hike. When I went in early May and there was enough snow that I started to post hole in places. Once my feet got cold and wet I turned around. I would definitely try this hike again when it’s not covered in snow.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic hike as always. Still a few feet of snow beyond the railroad (as of May 5, 2018), but getting up to the first lake is entirely doable in waterproof shoes or boots.

Great hike. Still a lot of snow to trek through.

backpacking
2 months ago

Our family has enjoyed this both as a day-hike and as an overnight.

As others have mentioned, trail is a little hard to follow at first. look for footprints in the snow and cairns. Lots of ice on the trail, recommend yaktrax. Snow is deeper after the foot bridge. I turned around just below the first lake as the trail disappeared and I began postholing to my knees, snowshoes would be helpful here. Fairly strenuous trail and good views along the way. Dog loved it and I was the only one there on a Tuesday.

hiking
4 months ago

You can’t go wrong with a trip here. Fun to get too from both trails.

hiking
5 months ago

There is some ice at first and deeper snow as you climb, but the views are great! If you stick the to gps you can stay on he trail up and back. The trail gets creative with the snow cover.

Interesting and always a little different depending on the time of year. In the summer make sure you have the right gear on for a swim at the top!

Don't go without ice trackers. Icy granite is no fun in just hiking boots! It was my own fault for not being more prepared, but I will be back, it's absolutely beautiful. probably made it a half mile in before hitting an impasse and turning around...

First part of trail hard to follow. Had to look for stacked rocks to figure out which way to go. Hardest part of hike is to the first lake. Make sure to go the extra distance and hit the second lake...it was stunning. Third lake was difficult to find and I'm not sure we even found it or it was really just a small pond. We went in early part of September

hiking
7 months ago

Fabulous out and back 8 miler from Hampshire Rocks Road during the first snow, 5-8 inches depending on where. Nobody within miles and a great spot for a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

hiking
8 months ago

Includes about a mile of unshaded switchbacks and small rock climb at summit. Awesome views. Was somewhat crowded on an October weekday - this is a school trip for Donner Tahoe kids!

There are many false trails in the beginning. You really need a GPS to stay straight. The uphill is like climbing stairs. At times like climbing up a dry creek/waterfall. Did not make it to the lake, so, only 3 stars.

Fantastic hike! A favorite for sure.

hiking
8 months ago

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
8 months ago

Nice hike. Went as far as Lower LL lake as a day hike. About 7.5 miles, but had some false starts at the beginning that added a bit. Most of the first 3 miles is uphill, but not to the point it is extreme. I found coming back down to be more fatiging, as there are a lot of large steps down. Felt like an hours worth of squats in the gym. Most challenging part is staying on trail during the first quarter mile or so. The trail goes across rock and isn't obvious. Lots of false trails that lead nowhere.

Excellent hike and camping. Must have a fire permit and bring warm clothes.

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