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Top Trails Lake Tahoe
by Mike White (Wilderness Press)
With minimal effort, hikers can reach some of the grandest views available in the northern Tahoe Sierra, via the 4.6-mile Mt. Judah Loop. The rugged terrain around Donner Pass is impressive, and the trail affords many excellent vista points along the way to the awe-inspiring view from the summit of Mt. Judah. The section of the loop that connects with the Pacific Crest Trail was constructed in the 1990s, but despite its recent origin, the Mt. Judah Loop has justifiably become a very popular hike, so don’t anticipate a high degree of solitude. Be sure to pack plenty of water, as none is available en route.
Hike America: Northern California
by Dan Brett (The Globe Pequot Press)
The Mount Judah Loop follows a section of the Pacific Crest Trail that traverses the Sierra Nevada range north and south of Donner Pass. From the summit, there are excellent views of the mountains and valleys that lie on either side of the pass. The region got its name from the infamous Donner Party, who was trapped by snowstorms while attempting to cross the mountains late in the winter of 1846–1847. Terrain: Dirt path and a short stretch of gravel road through a landscape of High Sierra granite and trees
Best Hikes Near Reno and Lake Tahoe
by Tracy Salcedo-Chourre (Falcon Guides)
Straddling the crest of the Sierra above Donner Lake, Mount Judah is an easy, accessible peak with summit views that stretch east over Donner Lake and west down the long wooded slopes toward California’s Great Valley.
Five-Star Trails: Lake Tahoe: 40 Unforgettable Hikes in the Central Sierra Nevada
by Jordan Summers (Menasha Ridge Press)
Mount Judah is one of those rare attractions that seem to have it all for a quick adventure fix: trailhead conveniently close to the highway; a well-tended trail that is only moderately difficult; beautiful vistas of the lakes, mountains, and wilderness terrain; and very little backtracking. Your route takes you 2.6 miles from the trailhead to the summit, gaining nearly 1,200 feet in elevation.
Top Trails Sacramento
by Steven L. Evans (Wilderness Press)
Following one of the more scenic segments of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) south from Donner Pass, this loop trail provides commanding views of the high peaks along the Sierra crest north of Lake Tahoe. It also offers an astounding alpine wildflower display during the mid-summer season and an opportunity to easily bag a Sierra peak. Along the way, you can get a rough idea of what early pioneers suffered as they hauled their wagons over the mountain range and of the historic effort of the railroad workers who forged a route across the crest. Unfortunately, this loop trail is something less than a wilderness experience due to both its popularity and its proximity to the nearby highway and adjacent ski areas, but the views and wildflowers more than make up for its lack of seclusion.
We didn't go far on this trail. Too late in the day. But, we had trouble finding the trail head. The firehouse mentioned in the directions has moved. What made it confusing is there is a field with an obvious entrance, across from the new firehouse, which comes much sooner on the road than where it must have been when the directions were written. The field looks like a raw parking lot.
The instruction should say to just stay on the road to the registration building for the "Olympic Village Lodge." The trail starts at a small footbridge that crosses a small gully running along side the road.
After that, the directions were fine. I can't be a good judge of the trail, though, because, as I said, we didn't get very far.
Snowshoed this trail over labor day weekend with three friends. Weather was great, 6 inches of fresh snow two nights before. Started at 7:45 AM on Donner summit (Lake Mary rd.) and hiked up Mt. Judah, then along the ridge to Mt. Lincoln. Views and weather could not have been better. Follwed the ridge top SSE to Benson Hut. Very larger cornices on the eastern side of the ridge present. Snow pack still very deep. Took a 15 minute breather at the hut and climbed the face of Mt. Anderson. Ate lunch between Anderson and Tinker Knob. Continued on passed Tinkers Knob and down a bit into the valley to the east and then back up over a smaller ridge in squaw valley. Squaw creek was beatiful with lots of water flow, a few tricky crossings but none of us went for an icy swim. Hobbled back down to the car we left there the night before. Arrived 8:15 PM. Finshed off the trip to find our car with a dead battery. Oh welll. It was an amazing hike, can't wait to get back into the area. A Benson hut stay would be nice if you wanted to do some side hikes.
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