Top Trails Lake Tahoe
by Mike White (Wilderness Press)
© 2015 Mike White/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.
Although I don't think we followed the trail, we summited in 2.5 miles by taking the donner rim trail to the far east side. We then took the ridge and made a direct ascent up the peak. It worked because there was very little snow on the peak, but it was 600 feet of peak gain in 1/2 mile. The views were wonderful. I would like to try this again when snow didn't cover up all the different trails on the floor.
We did this hike on a beautiful summer day. The views are awsome as you get higher. Some members wanted to stop but we kept pushing them and they were happy they went all the way up. It is rated five but half of our group does not do any regular excercies and they made it just fine, although they had to take many breaks.
Nice way to spend a few hours.
Wow! Strenuous climb up steep rocky switchbacks past amazing volcanic rock formations to 360-degree view from Castle Peak (easy rock scramble to the top). But don't stop there! Walk northwest one-plus-mile along the ridgetop to Basin Peak with more astounding views. Sharp drop into a bowl on your right boasts hoodoo-like rock formations and glimpses of Warren Lake far below. Continue up Basin Peak for views far too the north--although too hazy to see Mount Lassen the day we hiked, we were far from disappointed. Take one of many use trails heading NW until you encounter a faint jeep track, which becomes a single-width trail as it loops back around to the south through meadows of brilliant wildflowers and comes in to the Pacific Crest Trail a little north of the Peter Grubb Hut. Total 9-mile partial loop (if you park on the north side of I-80 and start up the rough dirt road--probably 12 miles if you park in the PCT lot south of I-80) is strenuous because of the steep ups and downs.
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