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California Trails

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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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

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.

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