Hike of the Month: Frog Lake Cliff

Monday, July 16, 2018 - 10:00am

The Truckee Donner Land Trust is excited to announce its latest conservation project, the Campaign to Conserve Frog Lake, Red Mountain and the Carpenter Ridge.

While the property won't be open to the public for two years as the Land Trust and its partners raise the funds required to complete the transaction, you can enjoy the aerial view of this gem from above using the Warren Lake Trail. (But please don't go down to the Lake until we open it to the public in 2020).

The Warren Lake Trail starts at the Intersection of the Summit Lake Trail and the Donner Lake Rim Trail on Donner Summit, accessible by the Pacific Crest Trail or from the Castle Valley Trailhead. Parking is available at the Castle Peak exit off Highway 80. (This popular trailhead was protected from development in 2016 by The Trust for Public Land and the Truckee Donner Land Trust, allowing continued public access to the Pacific Crest Trail, Castle Peak, and the popular Hole in the Ground mountain biking trail.) A trail kiosk at the end of the paved road directs you to the Donner Lake Rim Trail. Follow the trail east behind the Donner Summit Rest Area toward Summit Lake. You'll encounter a well-signed intersection with the Warren Lake trail east of the Rest Area before Summit Lake.

From parking to Frog Lake Cliff via the Donner Lake Rim Trail and Warren Lake Trail is about three miles, gaining roughly 1,400 feet in elevation through mature mixed conifer forest replete with regular views east. A short unsigned spur trail to the top of Frog lake Cliff will be very evident at a high, open point. Follow that spur and your climb will be rewarded not only with sweeping views of Frog Lake more than 1,000 feet below, but also Euer Valley and the surrounding peaks.

For those looking for more mileage, continue another mile or two on the Warren Lake Trail north and into Castle Valley where the lupine, paintbrush, and other wildflowers are at their peak this time of year and the views of Castle and Basin Peaks from the East are impressive. Warren Lake itself is another 4 miles from the Frog Lake Cliffs viewpoint and includes a steep one mile descent to the lake itself.

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