Location: Truckee, CA (Part of the Pacific Crest Trail!)
Distance: 5 miles
Type: Day-hike; Loop
Permits & Fees: There is no fee for parking and no permit required for this hike.
Parking: Parking is located off of Old Donner Summit Road. Driving directions can be found here.
Preparation: Sunscreen and water are a must; most of the trail is exposed.
Dog Friendly? YES. I saw a ton of dogs on this hike.
After parking, walk towards the start of the trail marked by this sign:
Continue walking down the trail until the large sign with a map is reached. Please note that there are three trails where the map is. Take the trail that is in the middle (immediately behind the map sign). The trail to the right is marked as “private property”. The trail to the left is NOT apart of the Mount Judah hike:
The trail begins with rocky switchbacks that are heavily shaded. Before the first junction is reached, Lake Mary comes into view on the right side of the trail:
The first junction is marked by a sign (above there is a ski lift; this is a helpful land marker) that read ” Pacific Crest Trail” and “Mt. Judah Trail”. If this is your first time hiking the loop, I’d suggest taking the trail to the left (marked Mt. Judah Trail):
Shortly after continuing on the trail and before the second junction, there is a fork that may cause some confusion. To the left, it will look like there is a trail that heads towards a group of large rocks. Instead, stay on the trail towards the right; this is the Mt. Judah Trail. The second junction is marked by another sign that reads “Mt. Judah Loop Trail”. There is an option to go to the left and hike Donner Summit, but continue right to hike towards Mt. Judah:
Continue hiking until you reach this view:
It only takes a few short moments after this point to reach the summit:
Take some time at the top to enjoy the beautiful views of Donner Lake, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and several other peaks including Castle Peak, Mount Rose, Donner Peak:
After taking some time at the summit, continue on the dirt trail towards the back side of Mt. Judah (towards Sugar Bowl Ski Resort):
Continue on the trail until a dirt road is reached. The trail continues on the other side of this road:
The trail eventually meets back at the first junction (the ski lift will come into sight). From here, take the same trail back towards the trailhead:
The trail was busy (even for a Monday), but overall it was very peaceful. I’d suggest hiking this trail early in the morning to avoid crowds.