Sugar Bowl is one of the top ski resorts in Lake Tahoe. It consist of four peaks (Crows Peak, Mt. Disney, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Judah) During the winter these mountains provides some of the best terrain for skiers and boarders. As the snow begins to melt and grass starts to sprout the mountains transform from a skiing haven to a gateway for the PCT. One of the best side hikes in the area is the Mt. Judah Loop.
Mt Judah loop is listed as a 5.5 mile loop but it is really more like 6.5 miles from the trail head. You start the trail at the PCT near Angle Lake just east of Sugar Bowl. This is not a highly populated area of the PCT and you shouldn’t see a lot of local hikers. Walking south bound on the PCT you will come across a intersection .5 mile down the trail. Make sure to take a right. If you go left you will continue on the PCT and by pass the Northern Tahoe Rim and Mt. Judah.
The loop is rated as a moderate hike, which seems accurate. There are a few steep areas on the trail but nothing major. The trail starts off with multiple rocky switch backs that lead you into the Sugar Bowl Ski Area. Once you reach the ski area you will you take the toll road which starts the loop. I recommend going left at this point and taking the loop clockwise because it is slightly more challenging. Plus, for me at least, You will see more of the scenery going up the hill then down. You will go through multiple meadows an forest during your ascent.
Prior to reaching the peak of Mt. Judah you have the option to take a short detour to Donnor Peak. This brings you to a great lookout over Donner Lake. Mt. Judah also has beautiful panoramic view which includes Donner, Tahoe, Castle Ridge, and forest. This is a great place to stop and have lunch and if you have a dog there is plenty of safe areas for them to explore.
The descent takes you down the backside of the mountain and is very secluded from civilization. Look out for wildlife here. I was lucky enough to see a few deer. The backside of the mountain trail is also very narrow. Be careful with your dogs and your footing.
Mt. Judah is one of the better hikes in the Truckee area. It is a trail that everyone can do and is not as busy as the Hunter Creek Trail and other hikes in the Reno-Tahoe area. If you know of any other hikes in the Truckee area please let me know. In addition check out my personal branding video in the About Me section.
Photos are my own