Hike of the Month: New Donner Lake Rim Trail
The new stretch of Donner Lake Rim Trail, connecting from the view point above Johnson Canyon just off the Glacier Way Trailhead down to Northwoods Boulevard, is officially open for business, and is a great hike, run or ride for folks looking to try out something new.
Most people will enjoy starting on the Northwoods Boulevard side and heading uphill. Park at the Trout Creek Trail parking on the east side of Northwoods, and then cross back over the road to find the trail. From here, the trail quickly leaves the neighborhood and enters into a mixed conifer forest with large cedar trees, skirting around massive granite boulders left behind by glaciers.
After two miles the trail opens up to dramatic views of Donner Lake and across to the Sierra Crest. While many hikers may already be familiar with the great views of Donner Lake on existing stretches of the trail, the new section offers unique perspectives few have seen before.
As the trail continues to climb the wildflowers start to really pop when conditions are right, with forget-me-nots, mules ear, and even some Washington lilies spotted this summer.
Eventually, the trail links to the view point above Johnson Canyon where there’s a picnic table, and the existing trail continues up toward the Drifter Hut and beyond.
The new section of trail is about 5.5 miles one way, gaining about 1,200 feet of elevation on its way from east to west.
How to get there:
From Donner Pass Road go up Northwoods Boulevard, looking for the Trout Creek Trail parking area on the right (shortly after passing Lamplighter Way on the left). Park in the trailhead parking area, then cross back over Northwoods Boulevard to find the Donner Lake Rim Trail trailhead.