Donner Lake Rim Trail (DLRT) is currently surrounding about half of Donner Lake, located west of Truckee in California. The part north of the lake is open for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian recreation. The western section coincidences with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and is closed to bicycles. The 2008 printing of Mike White's hiking guide Afoot & Afield (Trip 5 of Chapter 2) says that “the remaining part of the DLRT is realistically many years away from completion.” And in 2011 it still seems to be many years. The TrailLink DLRT website has more details, but searching the recommended Truckee Donner Land Trust site at www.tdlandtrust.org does not yield any results for keywords “DLRT” and “Donner Lake Rim Trail.”
The existing DLRT sections are easy to reach: for example, from the Gregory Creek Trailhead at the end of Donner Lake Road just north of Interstate 80. A climb on an access trail for about one mile takes you
to the DLRT. At the intersection you'll find the shown sign that directs you westward to Summit Lake (another two and a half miles) and eastward along the 2009 completed DLRT section connecting with the Glacier Way Access Trail. Either choice offers excellent views of Donner Lake and surrounding Sierra Nevada peaks.
Getting to the Gregory Trailhead and the DLRT
The Donner Lake Rim Trail Area Map posted at the trailhead shows how to get there (see photography below: Wendin Way Access Trail east of Negro Canyon). From Interstate 80, take the Donner Lake interchange exit between Donner Summit and the west-most Truckee exit. Or, from Donner Pass Road near the western tip of Donner Lake, take Donner Lake Road, drive uphill, underpass Interstate 80 and continue on the dirt road for a short distance until you see two boards at the trailhead. Walk or bike around the gate to the east and find the uphill trail to your left after 100 feet.