Donner Peak and Mount Judah

5-star hike.
5½ mile loop • Medium difficulty.
Elevation 7,100 - 8,243 feet. Gain 1,700 feet.
Tahoe National Forest, Northern California.
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Stunning views await you on this hiking trail and snowshoe route in the Northern Sierras, which takes in two separate peaks in just five and half miles.

Begin where the old US-40 meets the Pacific Coast Trail and immediately switchbacks up the mountains towards Sugar Bowl ski resort. A little further along the trail, take a short easterly detour to Donner Summit and peer over the edge and take in spectacular views of Donner Lake and the surrounding Sierras.

The high elevations mean that you can find substantial snow on the peaks even into early summer, and if that makes the next segment of the hike too imposing, you can still return to the trailhead having bagged a great summit.

If you choose to continue on, take the steep climb up Mount Judah, then follow the ridgeline to the higher, southern peak. In deep snow, keep particular watch here for dangerous winter conditions and cornices. After negotiation the ridgeline, the return loop back to the PCT is all downhill from here.

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