Hiking Project Logo

Mt. Judah Loop

 12 votes


5.6 Miles 9.1 Kilometers


1,228' 374 m


-1,227' -374 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (13°)

8,216' 2,504 m


7,077' 2,157 m




Getting forecast...

A beautiful day-hike that visits both Donner Peak and Mt. Judah.

Eric Ashley


The Mt. Judah Loop is a popular roue that provides excellent panoramic views of surrounding peaks and ridges as hikers climb to Donner Peak and across Mt Judah. This moderately difficult trail has generally gentle grades with a few steeper sections to keep your heart rate up.
Features: Views — Wildflowers


Begin your journey from the Donner Peak parking area and trailhead. Be ready to go once you hop out of the car, as you'll start by hiking up the switchbacks of the Pacific Crest Trail ( PCT: Echo Lake to Highway 80 (Donner Summit)) as it climbs a steep granite ridge. After the initial ascent, the grade slackens as low shrubs and sparse trees pop up around the trail. Visible below are the dark waters of Lake Mary and Lake Angela.

Ahead, the trail enters the bottom reaches of a mature stand of trees that open onto a cleared ski-run. Take the trail to the left at the fork to follow the easy grade of the Mt. Judah Loop Trail as it heads toward Donner Peak.

In about three-quarters of a mile the gradual climb pulls up to the intersection with the Donner Peak Spur — it's a short detour and worth a bit of a scrambling and extra distance to checkout the vantage point.

From there, follow an an old jeep track that leads through a wet area that produces excellent wildflowers in the spring and early summer. Keep heading toward the saddle and then climb up the northeast face of Mt. Judah.

On the way up, enjoy the striking views of Mt. Rose, Truckee, Donner Lake, and Coldstream Canyon. The trail makes its way along the crest of Mt. Judah, providing even better views of the surrounding peaks. Past the crest, the descent gently connects back with the Pacific Crest Trail just past Roller Pass. Turn right onto the PCT to make your way back to the trailhead.

Alternatively, for those looking for a longer route, an additional 12.2 miles can be added by following the PCT: Echo Lake to Highway 80 (Donner Summit) to the south until it connects with the Granite Chief Trail which will continue down to Squaw Valley. This route makes for a 15.7 miles point-to-point hike that is recommended as a shuttle.

Flora & Fauna

In the mid-summer the east face of Mt. Judah brightens with the small purple blossoms of the Rock Fringe Flower.

History & Background

Roller Pass was a significantly difficult section for pioneer emigrants on their route to California. The steep slopes of the pass required each covered wagon be pulled up one-at-a-time by long chains and double teams of oxen.


You & this Featured Hike

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins


May 5, 2018
Yekaterina Drabkov
Oct 29, 2017
Paul von Eykamp
Trail clear, well marked. Slightly rocky. OK in trainers but better with light hiking boots. Walking stick not the worst idea. Breezy along the peak. 5.4mi
Sep 30, 2017
Gordon Anthony
Aug 13, 2017
Karen Harrison
Roller Pass. Donner summit view. Majestic alpine views. Flowers galore 5.6mi
Aug 10, 2017
Sandy McCarthy
Jul 28, 2017
Kelly M
Jul 16, 2017
Sean Eilert
Apr 15, 2017
Steve Hao

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 12 votes


in Truckee


  4.4 from 12 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in Truckee


in California


316 Views Last Month
3,012 Since Aug 11, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate

Great half day hike! Beautiful views of Donner lake and the surrounding peaks. Oct 4, 2017

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking