For a more curated experience check out trail guides from our partner publishers.
Five-Star Trails: Lake Tahoe: 40 Unforgettable Hikes in the Central Sierra Nevada
by Jordan Summers (Menasha Ridge Press)
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) stretches from Mexico to Canada for 2,650 miles. The terrain that it covers between Donner Pass and Squaw Valley is among the most beautiful of the journey. Here, where the Sierra begins its slow descent for northbound hikers, southbound day hikers enjoy the reciprocal, an easy ascent into the backcountry. An uphill hike across forested ski slopes leads past Donner and Judah before crossing Roller Pass. Western hemlocks block the wind before you reach the apex of another exposed ridgeline, which you will follow to Anderson and on to Tinker. Descend into the upper reaches of the North Fork of the American River canyon, then traverse beneath Billy’s Peak. Once across the headwaters of the North Fork, a 500- foot climb toward Granite Chief brings you to the trail descending to Squaw Valley, where you emerge next to the fire station.
Snowshoe Routes: Northern California
by Marc J. Soares (The Mountaineers Books)
Linger atop two notable peaks offering exquisite views of Donner Lake and high Sierra Nevada in an area laden with history. This is the land of the illfated Donner Party of 1847’s extraordinarily snowy winter. Donner Pass was also the travel corridor of the Washoe Indians, who carried pine nuts and obsidian to trade with the Euro-Americans. Nearly 300,000 people crossed the Sierra Nevada by wagon via Donner Pass, and the historic railroad still runs across the slopes of Donner Peak. Steep domes and spires of sheer granite dominate the region, which you might share with rock climbers, dogs, and even snowboarders. The mostly open and rocky terrain is fairly steep but negotiable with careful picking and choosing of your route (always take the easiest and safest). You’ll enjoy a long respite from climbing atop the gentle, protracted crest leading to Mount Judah’s summit.
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