Tahoe Donner: Tahoe’s easiest ridge/summit hike or bike ride is snow-free.

Tahoe Donner XC  features the Northern Sierra’s easiest hike or bike with panoramic views the entire way along Donner Ridge to Hawks Peak.  It’s about 6 miles out and back with minimal elevation gains on smooth dirt roads and trails.  Make your way to the Glacier Way parking lot off Skislope way.   Pick up a trail map at the kiosk as there are a LOT of trails, roads and junctions on the Tahoe Donner trail system and it’s easy to get confused as to if you’re going exactly the way you want.  Follow the heavy orange line.

donner-ridge-hawks-summer

Note that at trail marker 21 you have the option to veer onto a section of the Donner Lake Rim Trail (dotted line) which will save a little uphill hiking or provide some variety on the return.

Cyclists who want more of a workout can easily turn this into a loop with a good descent on the return by starting at trailhead 4 and heading up Skislope to Glacier Way and then after reaching Hawk’s Peak come down the single-track connecting trail markers 17,17a, and 38.

By John Reece