Coldstream Trail to Tinker Knob

Truckee, California

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1 Review
4 out of 5
This route is so seldom used that a nearby resort owner has dubbed it the “Lost Trail,” and it provides tranquil passage to the Pacific Crest Trail via Coldstream Valley. A literal price has to be paid to reach the start of the trail, as the only viable access is through Donner Memorial State Park, which requires an entrance fee. The first half of the route follows a section of the Coldstream Road that’s open to off-road traffic; later, single-track trail that’s closed to motor vehicles leads through the upper part of the canyon to the Sierra crest. Views from the uppermost part of Coldstream Canyon, the Sierra crest, and atop Tinker Knob are as good as they come in the Tahoe Sierra.

Coldstream Trail to Tinker Knob Professional Review and Guide

"This route is so seldom used that a nearby resort owner has dubbed it the “Lost Trail,” and it provides tranquil passage to the Pacific Crest Trail via Coldstream Valley. A literal price has to be paid to reach the start of the trail, as the only viable access is through Donner Memorial State Park, which requires an entrance fee.

The first half of the route follows a section of the Coldstream Road that’s open to off-road traffic; later, single-track trail that’s closed to motor vehicles leads through the upper part of the canyon to the Sierra crest. Views from the uppermost part of Coldstream Canyon, the Sierra crest, and atop Tinker Knob are as good as they come in the Tahoe Sierra."

Activity Type: Hiking, Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Truckee
Elevation Gain: 2,675 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 5 to 7 hours
Season: Best mid-July to mid-October
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Donner Memorial State Park at 530-582-7892, parks.ca.gov; Tahoe National Forest at 530-587-3558, www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe
Local Maps: USGS 7.5-minute Truckee, Norden, and Granite Chief

Coldstream Trail to Tinker Knob Reviews

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7/22/2009
A word of caution: drive THROUGH the park and down the dirt road until you can't drive any longer (about 3 or 4 miles on the other side of the park there is a dirt clearing near some railroad tracks...this is the 'parking lot' for the trail start. I walked from the park all the way down this dirt road just to get to the parking lot...wasting loads of time...Once there, however, it was nice and shaded by the spruce and pine typical of the Eastern Sierra. The climb is gradual with a few steep pitches, dusty, and dry until you finally break the tree line up the granite. There was still a decent bit of snow at the peak, but nothing that covered the trail. The view from the top was astounding! Beautiful! Although the start of the hike was a bit monotonous (walking through a 'tunnel' of trees, this hike is worthwhile if you ultimately want an eagle's vantage of the surrounding mountains.
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