A few weeks ago we went to CA for our annual 4th of July vacation. Today I’m sharing a few postcards from the trip.
Sprinkled among our days around the lake were a few beautiful hikes, many opportunities to walk on snow, and (as always) views that took our breath away.
We like a good hike, and every once in a while we have the chance to hike slow, take pictures, and share the adventure with you. This is our first hike in California, but you can check out some of our previous Colorado hikes here.
We found this particular hike in a book of trails that was in the house, but you can easily find information about it here and here. The trail is in the Northern Sierras, near Truckee, CA, and it’s just 4 miles from the Soda Springs exit on Route 80. It’s proximity to the highway makes it an easy and worthwhile stop if you’re on a road trip. There is ample parking in the lot next to the Sugar Bowl Academy (we visited in summer, I’m not sure if the parking situation changes when school is in session). From there, you have to take a short walk down the side road to get to the trailhead. You could also drive down that road and park at the trailhead, but I’m not sure how crowded that area gets on the weekend.
Trail Overview :
The total distance for this hike is about 4.5 miles. You begin on the Pacific Coast Trail, hiking towards the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, and on one of the runs is where you’ll bump into the Mount Judah Trail. You could take a left there and head up the trail, but we continued on the PCT and took the second intersection with the Mount Judah trail (there are only two points of intersection). Whichever way you connect to Mount Judah, you’ll end up hiking the one initial PCT section both in and out to the parking area.
This hike is marked as moderate in the trail guides, and I would agree. The most difficult portion is the initial (and final) ascent (decent) on the PCT. The terrain is rocky, the trail relatively narrow, and the incline steep, but after those switchbacks, the rest of the trail is much less rocky with a more gradual climb. The trail covers a total elevation gain of about 1000 ft.
Side note : someone in our group was concerned about going on this hike with a bum knee, then Calder’s sister reminded them that they would be hiking with a septuagenarian, a pregnant lady, and a lady with a baby… if our rag-tag bunch could handle this hike, then most readers probably can too!