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Best Hikes in Truckee: Frog Lake Overlook

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Photography by Paul Hamill Photography »

DISTANCE: Approx 6 miles out and back

DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Difficult – 1,600ft elevation gain on well mark trail that tops out at 8,653 feet

TRAILHEAD: From Truckee head west on Hwy. 80 and take the Boreal exit. Turn left and go under the freeway towards Boreal. Turn left on Bunny Hill Rd. Parking area at end of Bunny Hill Rd. Google Map: http://bit.ly/2xh71Ex

THE HIKE: First off the name Frog Lake Overlook does no justice to this sublime hike. We suggest something more fitting like “Little Lake in the Sky with views from Massive Cliffs next to a Big Castle in the Clouds”. Ok, maybe Frog Lake Overlook will do fine. There are dozens of these little Sierra gems that all play second fiddle to nearby Donner Lake, but for now let’s walk through the Frog Lake Overlook Hike. From the trailhead, hike east for approximately a half mile where you will hit a north-south juncture with the PCT. Turn left (north) towards Hwy 80. The trail crosses under Hwy 80 through a culvert tunnel. Shortly after exiting the tunnel there is another junction in the trail – head right toward the Warren Lake Trail. This is where the trail begins its ascent to the east side of Castle Peak, through forest and eventually opening to a rocky ridge full of Mule’s Ear wildflowers and impressive views of the aptly name Castle Peak. At the top of the open ridge is another junction in the trail, turn right and push the final few hundred yards up to the overlook. As you reach the top, the views seem to smack you in the face out of nowhere as the sheer cliffs above Frog Lake are revealed.

 

TIPS: Bring along hiking poles as the trail is steep and rocky in spots. Go during the spring and early summer to catch the abundant wildflowers, in fact the whole hillside east of Castle Peak will be full of blooming Mule’s Ear if you time it right. Dogs are allowed.

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