The first hike I ever did in the Sierra Nevada was to Summit Lake in 2012. I first heard about Summit Lake in a book I bought a few months prior called, “Top Trails: Lake Tahoe Must-Do Hikes for Everyone”. I originally wanted to do the hike to the Frog Lake overlook, but after making my way to the top, I couldn’t find the lake! So I hiked back down, and took the trail to Summit Lake. Summit Lake is a pretty easy hike to do. No major elevation gain or loss, nor scrambling over rocks. The lake is one of many lakes in the Lake Tahoe region. It makes for a good day hike, and you also hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail to the lake. You can access the trail from either Boreal on the east side of Interstate 80, or near the rest stop on the westbound side of Interstate 80. Either way, both trailheads are right at or very near the Donner Summit. The one downside I don’t like is that you hear the constant hum of Interstate 80 traffic. Other than that, it’s a good, easy hike to do if you’ve never hiked before. And once you get to the lake, sometimes you feel like you’ll have it all to yourself because not a lot of people hike to it.
The sign marker showing the way to Summit Lake! You hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail to get to the lake. The lake is in the Tahoe National Forest.
Another access point to the trail is from the Interstate 80 rest stop as well. This trail also continues on up to Warren Lake, which is a 5 to 7 mile hike.
On the way up toward the Frog Lake overlook
I did this in mid-May. Even during that time, there was still snow on the ground in some spots, as my next picture will show……
….and yes, I did hike through that, but it was nothing!!
A view of the mountains off in the distance.
After I couldn’t find the Frog Lake overlook, I decided to hike to Summit Lake instead.
And I bring you Summit Lake!! Very quiet place!!
There I am in the shadows!!
A final parting shot of the lake.
There in the middle of the picture is Interstate 80. It’s kind of a distance, but still close enough that you can hear the highway traffic.
The mountain range in the picture is called Castle Peak. You can hike to it using the same trail you take to Summit Lake, but early into the hike, the trail branches. One goes to Summit and Warren Lakes, the other to Castle Peak. My eventual goal is to hike all the way up to the top of Castle Peak. I’ve gotten as far as Castle Pass, but haven’t made my way up to the peak just yet.
I hope you all enjoyed the small tour of Summit Lake. It is one of many lakes in the Lake Tahoe region. Also one of many that is mainly accessible by hiking. It is one my favorite hikes in the Sierra. My goal is to also snowshoe to Summit Lake!