Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
This multi-track trail is a ski trail in the winter and a popular hiking trail in the summer. It winds south along the Palisade Creek gorge southwest of the Serene Lakes community in the lodgepole/fir forest of the Royal Gorge open space area on Donner Summit. The trail is part of a network of trails that provide access to the open space area (see map for connecting trails).
The start of the trail connects to the Castle Pass Trail
and it is an alternate trail accessing the Point Mariah Trail
(see map). It can be traversed in both directions and is open to hiking, running, and skiing in the winter. The trail is clearly marked by ski trail signs and passes through a beautiful sierra meadow that abounds with wildflowers in the summer. After the meadow the trail climbs up to the ridgeline and over to the Hellman ski warming hut. During the snowy months, it is usually groomed for both Nordic and skate skiing by the Royal Gorge ski resort.
The nearest trailhead parking is at the Summit Station Trailhead on Kidd Lakes Road (no services) at the northwest conner of the Serene Lakes community.
The trail cuts through a lodgepole/fir forest and during the summer is populated by a large collection of Sierra wildflowers. The forest is the home to deer, ground squirrels, bobcat, martens, bears and the occasional mountain lion.