Today we went to the Donner Summit Canyon which is below Sugar Bowl at the west end of Donner Lake. We were so excited to get into some snow that we were doing hot laps back and forth and rolling around in the joy of it all. Spirit got a little crazy and jumped on the ice in the beaver pond and when his iceberg broke off he had to swim for it. This is a nice hike to a lookout over Donner Lake and there is a nice stream that runs to right side of the trail. At the lookout there's a picnic table to enjoy the view, hopefully we'll picnic soon as I love sandwiches :) This trail is maintained by the Tahoe Truckee Land Trust and is well maintained and has signs with directions. From the parking area head to the west through the locked gate, this trail is for hiking only and there aren't usually many people out there. You'll quickly cross a stream on an old railroad car, following the trail straight you'll come to a beaver pond and you can admire the hard work they put in to build their houses. From here the trail goes about a quarter on the flat ground and then heads up the hill with the stream on the right. Another half mile up the road a stream has eroded the road pretty severely, from here you want to be on left side of the road and you'll see a sign for the lookout and picnic area, follow the trail parallel to the stream and you'll reach the lookout in a quarter mile along the road. You can also go right here up the road and it heads up to a small waterfall which is beautiful in spring and early summer. The trail continues on the Donner Summit if you so desire however there are some pretty large cliffs paralleling the trail so leashes are advised in this section of the road. The trail winds through some beautiful forest with some very large trees.
My Dad wore his boot crampons today as the trail was pretty icing in sections, hiking to two legs must be hard.
Easy but it is a climb of about 300 ft to get to the picnic area and probably 500 ft to get to the waterfall.
3 miles round trip as an out and back to the Donner Lake lookout, another half mile round trip to the waterfall.
From Truckee head west on Donner Pass Road (Old Highway 40) past Donner Lake. About a quarter mile past Donner Lake you will see a parking area on the left, there are signs here describing the trail and room for 8-10 cars.
Leash required: Not on the trail but advised near the road as Donner Pass Road is pretty busy at times.
Water: Plentiful in spring and early summer, stream runs pretty slowing in late summer and fall. There is always water in the beaver pond.
Usage: This is a hiking trail mostly, occasional mountain bikers but as the trail doesn't really loop they seem to avoid it. There are no motorized vehicles allowed on this trail.