Summer is here and the snow has melted from most Royal Gorge trails on Donner Summit, giving way to bright green foliage, blooming flowers and sweeping views – making now the time to hit the trail.
Thauvette's Frolic, named for former Truckee Donner Land Trust Board President Bill Thauvette, is a great trail that links to many others, giving you the opportunity to hike as far, or short, as you want.
Start at the Summit Station Trailhead at the end of Pahatsi Road in Soda Springs to take Thauvette's Frolic, linking any number of the great trails at Royal Gorge replete with views of Castle Peak and the Upper South Yuba Basin. Wildflowers, including corn lilies, leopard lilies, delphinium, penstemon and more start blooming this time of year, lasting into mid to late july. The trail features a bench at a scenic overlook for a short evening stroll.
Associate Director John Svahn's favorite loop starts on Big Ben Trail to Buckeye Trail, then connecting Thauvette's Frolic to Hellman's Way Trail and Castle Pass, which brings hikers to a beautiful stand of mature red fir. Take Reindeer back to the trailhead to complete the loop. An out-and-back on the Point Mariah Trail can be added to reach a beautiful overlook of the North Fork of the American River.
Please note: While Thauvette's Frolic is a foot trail, most Royal Gorge trails are open to mountain biking.