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The Donner Lake Rim Trail is being constructed by the Truckee Donner Land Trust organization and will eventually circumnavigate Donner Lake, near Truckee, California. This hike starts at the Negro Canyon trailhead, at I-80 and Donner Lake Road. An access trail up Negro Canyon (they haven’t yet renamed the geological features named Negro or Squaw around here) meets up with the rim trail proper after about 1 mile and 500 ft elevation gain. The new trail section is nicely constructed with some impressive bridges. Summit Lake, 7400 ft, near Donner Summit and also accessible from the PCT Trailhead there, was still snowed in in mid-May. We returned via a 4wd road, just for variety, but the trail is better.


7.27 mi (3.24 mi uphill, 3.04 mi downhill, 0.94 mi flat)
1100 ft total ascent  – 11.1 %  uphill grade, 15.3 %  downhill grade
4:09:12 total time (3:46:15 moving, 0:22:57 stopped)
0:31:06 pace (1.9 mph average speed, 4.6 mph max speed)
9.106 difficulty, 16.734 effort

Trailhead Directions: Available at the Donner Lake Rim Trail site