A wonderful hike in Lake Tahoe is the Mt. Judah Loop Trail that offers sweeping views of Donner Lake and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains on the North Shore. As a resident on the North Shore, many of my recreational activities favor this side of the Lake but there are marvelous hikes in every region surrounding the lake. The Mt. Judah Loop Trail veers off from the famed Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that spans 2,663 mile along the West Coast from Canada all the way to Mexico. Learn more about the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail is well marked, moderate in difficulty, 5.5 miles in length with an elevation gain of 1,700 ft. The trail loops around the summit of Mt. Judah, elevation 8,234ft, offering a 365-degree view of the region.
Getting There: Exit highway 80 at the Soda Springs Exit and travel 4 miles along the former Highway 40 to Donner Pass. Drive past Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and turn right after a group of buildings. You will see a parking lot on your right with cars scattered, look for the Pacific Crest Trail sign at the far end along the road.
Hike down the road until you reach the PCT trail signs indicating further directions. A single-track trails begins to climb the backside of the mountain with rocky steps and short switchbacks. Soon you will come across a trail intersection which indicates the beginning of the Mt. Judah Loop Trail and where you will leave the Pacific Crest Trail. This will also be the conclusion of your loop around Mt. Judah when you return, joining back on the PCT. The single-track trail remains fairly level and loops around the summit amongst wild flowers, pine forests and most notably spectacular views. Along the loop there is also a detour to a lookout from Donner Peak which I highly recommend offering an amazing vista above Donner Lake. First summit accomplished!
Have you hiked the Pacific Crest Trail or Mt. Judah Loop Trail? Share with us in the comments your favorite hikes to enjoy in Lake Tahoe!
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All photos below to Robin Penning