Our friends at Tahoe Mountain Sports in Truckee are serious experts who love to have fun. And when we asked them for a classic, Tahoe local's favorite hike, they steered us to Judah Loop. Check out their images and beta, and you'll understand why. For more info, or to stock up on Oboz before heading out, visit their shop or check them out online—links to Tahoe Mountain Sports website and social channels below.
Trail Name: Judah Loop
Trailhead: PCT south on Highway 40. Head to the top of old Highway 40 and park at the white, former school building on the summit.
Trail type: Loop
Distance: 4.6 miles
Duration: 2-4 hours
Trail Description: Hikers can reach some of the grandest views in the Sierra Nevada via the 4.6-mile Mt. Judah Loop trail, a popular hike just off the renowned Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Starting at the top of Donner Summit just outside the Judah entrance at Sugar Bowl Resort, this hike climbs quickly for immediate views of Lake Mary below. It continues on along the Sugar Bowl Resort area and then heads up to the peak of Mount Judah for stunning views of Donner Lake below and even across Lake Tahoe to Mount Rose.
From the summit of Judah, the trail meanders along the Sierra Nevada crest with outstanding views of Anderson Peak and Tinker's Knob to the south with Castle Peak and Sierra Buttes to the north. The trail leaves the crest and gently descends to a point just north of Roller Pass and reconnects with the PCT. Roller Pass is a significant point on the Overland Emigrant trail and signs along the trail tell the story of the early settlers and the difficulties they encountered at this point in their trek west.
Best time to Go: Spring to Fall….or when the snow melts
What to Pack: Small daypack with either a hydration reservoir or water bottle. Insulated bottle would be preferred in the heat of summer. A lightweight jacket to protect against wind. Sunscreen and a hat. Of course, your Oboz hiking shoes and some good Darn Tough hiking socks.
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trail Highlights: This 4.6-mile loop offers many excellent vista points on the way including awe-inspiring views from the summit of Mt. Judah. Best part of this hike is you get views in all directions but the ones West towards the Pacific and East, into Truckee, are unforgettable on a clear day. There is a section of the loop that connects with the Pacific Crest Trail. Pack plenty of water.
Refuel: Alibi Ale Works in Downtown Truckee. Craft brewery producing a wide range of frequently rotating beers with pure Lake Tahoe water, and their goal is to keep your taste buds intrigued with diverse and interesting flavors. They strive to maintain a beer line-up that is balanced between traditional European styles, super-fresh hoppy beers, and innovative one-offs that will expand your beer horizons. Barrel-aged and funky-sour-wild beers rotate frequently through our tap line-up.
Stop by and visit the folks at Tahoe Mountain Sports!
Phone: 530-536-5200 or 866-891-9177
Address: 11200 Donner Pass Rd. E5 Truckee, Ca 96161