Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Various trails lead to Frog Lake Overlook

There are different ways to get to the Frog Lake Overlook north of Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada, California. My favorite options include hikes starting with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Access Trail and the Wendin Way Access Trail. Either way you will be headed to access the Warren Lake Trail, which winds up—through forest, shrubs and carpets of mule ears—to the Castle Peak area. The Frog Lake Overlook is located on top of a cliff above the west shore of the toponymous lake. The map inserted into the Frog Lake picture roughly sketched the area, while the Donner Lake Rim Trail Area Map ( Map.pdf) is much more detailed; although it doesn't contain Frog Lake itself.

Hiking option 1 via PCT. This hike begins at the PCT/Boreal Trailhead (0.3 mile east of I-80's PCT exit). After walking the 3/4 mile PCT access trail, a short northbound PCT section underpasses the split highway (I-80) through two culverts. From there, a short climb gets you to the beginning of the Warren Lake Trail. The latter intersects with the Donner Lake Rim Trail (DLRT) after less than two miles. Here, the sign (shown above) posts a 0.5-mile-distance to Summit Lake and 5.5 miles to Warren Lake. Half this way, Warren Lake Trail crosses a mule-ear-covered saddle, where a short use trail branches eastward to the Frog Lake Overlook. 

Hiking option 2 via Wendin Way Access Trail. This much longer hike begins at the Gregory Creek Trailhead just north of I-80's Donner Lake exit. Climbing up Wendin Way Access Trail along Gregory Creek, one arrives at a DLRT three-way junction. Turning left, Summit Lake is about 2.5 miles away. From Summit Lake it take about half a mile to get the Warren-Lake-Trail/DLRT intersection, which is also accessible via option 1.

Which ever trail sequence you are going to chose to get to the overlook, I am sure you will enjoy the bird's-eye view of the small and beautiful, glacier-carved Frog Lake—and also views of the Verdi Range and Carson Range to the east.

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