Lake Tahoe, CA: Donner Pass to Tinker Knob

This challenging 10.4-miler climbs past lowland scrubs, a wildfire zone, and several campsites to a tall pine forest in Los Padres National Forest.
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This challenging 10.4-miler climbs past lowland scrubs, a wildfire zone, and several campsites to a tall pine forest in Los Padres National Forest.

Mapped by Jack Haskel

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 10.8

Waypoints

PCT001

Location: 39.3168487548828, -120.325965881348

Head S on Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

PCT002

Location: 39.3148002624512, -120.326881408691

Cross a paved road

PCT003

Location: 39.3060989379883, -120.322868347168

Continue S. Optional: Turn L for 2-mi. trip to Mt. Judah (8,243 ft.). Top-of-the-world views of surrounding lakes and peaks

PCT004

Location: 39.30419921875, -120.322334289551

Cross dirt service road; trail traverses across Sugar Bowl ski slopes

PCT005

Location: 39.2944183349609, -120.321029663086

Straight @ 3-way. Signs describe how the infamous Donner Party winched their heavy wagons up Roller Pass

PCT006

Location: 39.2886505126953, -120.323532104492

Cross creeklet just below Mt. Lincoln summit. Purple trumpets and spotted orange lilies dot the alpine meadows and granite depressions

PCT007

Location: 39.2612838745117, -120.297897338867

Keep straight @ 3 way. Campers: Turn L on spur trail to Old Benson Ski Hut, where several level campsites are located. Next day, leave big packs and dayhike S on PCT for a 3.4-mi. out-and-back to Tinker Knob

PCT008

Location: 39.2512817382812, -120.287773132324

Climb ridge connecting Anderson Pk. and Tinker Knob

PCT009

Location: 39.24658203125, -120.284843444824

At mile 6.5, leave trail and climb 200 ft. to summit

PCT010

Location: 39.2448043823242, -120.284889221191

Tinker Knob: An impressive 360-degree panorama includes Mt. Rose looming over Lake Tahoe and Royal Gorge. Retrace route back to trailhead