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Take a Hike to Donner Peak Trail

Located Near: Norden. From Interstate 80, take exit 174 (Soda Springs/Norden) to Donner Pass Road. Pass Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and park. Follow the signs for Pacific Coast Trail (PCT).

Distance: 3.8 miles out-and-back.

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Know Before You Go: Arrive early for parking. The trail begins on steep, rocky terrain with sun exposure. There are several intersecting trails, making AllTrails GPS helpful. Dog-friendly.

Dog-friendly Trails


Fuel Up: Head into Truckee for a margarita, chips, guac, and traditional Mexican entrées at one of the locals’ favorites: Casa Baeza (

Why We Love It: This trail has shady places to rest, beautiful wildflowers, and picture-perfect views of Donner Lake; plus, it can be easily extended for added mileage.

Trail Notes: Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and layers; hiking boots recommended. The trail disappears at the summit, so find the path of least resistance and expect to scramble on granite. It’s worth it. If you pack it in, pack it out.

Donner Peak Trail Route


Do you have a favorite trail in the region you’d like to see featured? Tell us all about it at [email protected].



Headlamp & extra batteries: You never know when you may need to hike out after dark. 
Water purification tablets: They’re small, effective, and can save your life.
Athletic tape: Good for blisters, sprains, and even patching tears.
Basic first aid kit: Expect the best; prepare for the worst.
Windbreaker & space blanket: Weather can change rapidly in the mountains. Think like an onion, and layer yourself.
Neck gaiter: These protect your neck and face from the cold and wind, while also offering UV protection.
Energy bar: Long-lasting and provides a good punch of energy.
Map & compass: If you learn how to use these, they can get you out of a bind.

Header photo by Ryan Martinez
Dog trail photo  by Alpine K
Illustration by Ray Burgess