“Good walkers can go anywhere in these hospitable mountains …”  John Muir
The Mount Judah Loop is a moderate 5.5 mile semi-loop with an elevation gain of approximately 1,200′.  While hiking this loop, you will gain some beautiful views to the north and south of Mt. Judah, including Castle Peak, Donner Pass, Donner Lake and the Pacific Crest trail around Anderson Peak and Tinker Knob.

To reach the trailhead, drive west from Donner Lake on old Hwy 40 up to Donner Pass.where you will first see a large parking area with a couple of buildings.  A paved road heads away from the parking area for 0.2 miles to the beginning of the PCT trail heading south towards Squaw Valley.

The first part of the trail switch-backs up a rocky granite headwall and then crosses a relatively open hillside above Lake Mary.  After one mile, you will meet a junction below a Sugar Bowl ski lift where you will head left to begin the north end of the Mt. Judah loop.  Along this section you will also notice a couple of footpaths on the left that go out to rocky outcrops with views to the north, and one being a short ascent up to Donner Peak.

From the top of Mt. Judah, you will have fine 360 degree views of Donner Lake,Martis Valley, Castle Peak, Mt. Lola, and on a clear day views to the Sierra Buttes.  In late spring and early summer, the wildflowers on the top of Mt. Judah can be exceptional.

Continuing on the loop trail, you will eventually connect back into the PCT.  A short distance to the left on the PCT will take you to Roller Pass and some interpretive panels about the Donner Party who used winches to haul wagons up the slope. Back on the PCT, head north to complete your loop and return on the trailhead.

At most, this hike should only take you about three hours to complete, and it is a great way to spend a summer morning or afternoon.  Tom