Category ArchiveDonner Lake Rim Trail
A hike to Castle Peak and Basin Peak, both on the OGUL Peak List, Â from the P.C.T trailhead at I-80. Â This route follows the Summit Lake trail to the Donner Lake Rim Trail (longer than necessary), which then meets up again with the Pacific Crest Trail. The use trail from Castle Pass to Castle Peak is steep and loose; it’s definitely better to go up this than the knee-wrecking descent. The spectacular trail between the peaks follows the high, narrow ridge between Round Valley and Coon Canyon/Carpenter Valley. The trail down the north side of Basin Peak is indistinct in place, then meets up with the “old” P.C.T. before rejoining the current P.C.T. back to Castle Pass through Round Valley. Â A muchÂ shorter route starts along the Castle Pass access road north of I-80, but I definitely recommend the CCW direction for the Castle Peak/Basin Peak loop from Castle Pass. I went to the first crag of Castle Peak, which is possibly slightly lower in elevation than than the second and third crags but doesn’t require technical climbing. I’m counting it anyway.
14.18 mi (5.81 mi uphill, 5.99 mi downhill, 2.33 mi flat)
2250 ft total ascent – 15.8 % uphill grade, 43.7 % downhill grade
7:13:06 total time (6:23:38 moving, 0:49:28 stopped)
0:27:02 pace (2.2 mph average speed)
26.9 difficulty, 48.1 effort
GeoLocator for latitude 39.3396988 longitude -120.3428879
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 ascentÂ – 11.1 %Â uphill grade, 15.3 %Â 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
GeoLocator for latitude 39.3334007 longitude -120.2895584