Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region
by Mike White (Wilderness Press)
© 2016 Mike White/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.
This is an excellent hike. Views are great and it is not overly taxing. The trails are marked adequately. If you do the loop clockwise you will pass a large granite rock formation on your left about 30-40 minutes out. Do not pass it. It is the highlight of the hike. It is Donner Overlook. Climb to the top of the formation (not difficult, about 75 yards and climbs about 10-15 yards). Explore the top some. There are some natural rock steps to the right as you view Donner Lake through a notch which take you closer to the top and a much better view. On up the trail 20 minutes you will wonder if you've missed a turn because it looks like you are on the PCT which follows the crest southward in this area. You aren't. About 150 yards up the barren path ahead is a relatively bald dome with a very small sign stuck in some rocks telling you it is Mount Judah. The views are excellent in all directions. The lava rocks strewn about are interesting and make good seats. Continuing on down the south side of Mt. Judah you will come upon a natural rock garden. The vegetation and rocks couldn't be done as well by a landscaper. Further down you will find the PCT. It isn't marked but is fairly obvious. Turn right to head back to the trailhead on the PCT. The PCT soon crosses a ski slope maintenance road diagonally and continues on the other side, though you may have to search a bit for it. The return portion of the hike on the PCT is dusty and not very scenic. I would turn around and go back on the Mt. Judah loop portion if I were to do the loop again.
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