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8.4.17 ... Johnson Canyon/Donner Lake Rim Trail

Hike Details:
  • Elevation - 6400' up to 7630'
  • Location - On I-80, take the Donner Lake Road exit (not to be confused with Donner Pass Road), go north of the freeway to Billy Mack Rd and the trailhead parking is just up the road on the right.
  • Mileage - 6 miles roundtrip
  • Hiking time - 3 hours

I happened across the info for this trail while looking on a website for something else. I'd never heard of this hike, which is surprising because it's so close to the freeway and right in the area where I've done quite a few hikes. So I decided to try it out with a friend and it was a beautiful little gem! And a good, strenuous climb up to Donner Ridge with a lovely view of Castle Peak in one direction and Mt. Judah/Anderson Peak/Tinker Knob in the other direction across the freeway.

The only downside to this hike is the freeway noise for the first mile or so, but once we got up the canyon a little farther it wasn't nearly as noticeable. But being near the freeway is also an advantage sometimes when you want easy access (and cell coverage).

This hike can be described in one word: green! So much beautiful green everywhere and lots of lush ferns, thanks to the bountiful rain and snow we've had. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

(mountains in the distance, l. to r.: Tinker Knob, Anderson Peak and Mt. Judah on the far right)

(A view of Castle Peak)

Cute little hut at the top called "Drifter Hut"

As if spending the morning in the mountains wasn't enough, we ended the day with a visit to the temple--it's like visiting a spiritual mountain. So much peace and calmness are found there, just in a different way than being in the mountains. I go to the temple for much the same reasons I go to the mountains--read the poem in the side bar --> 

More information about Mormon temples can be found here.