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Mount Judah

Mount Judah

Mount Judah

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 39.29849°N / 120.31562°W

Object Title: Mount Judah

County: Placer

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 8243 ft / 2512 m


Page By: hgrapid

Created/Edited: Jul 21, 2013 / Sep 11, 2016

Object ID: 857562

Hits: 5611 

Page Score: 75.34%  - 6 Votes 

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Mount Judah from near the summit of Donner Peak
Mount Judah from Donner Peak

Mount Judah is a popular and easily accessible peak near Donner Pass, to the north of Lake Tahoe. Situated near the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, this area is heavily trafficked in winter.  Although people do ski down from Mount Judah during the winter, Mount Judah itself does not have its own ski run.

A loop trail off the Pacific Crest Trail, leads to the summit of Mount Judah. This allows for an easy loop of 4.6 miles without significant elevation gain. 

The views from the summit are excellent, with numerous rocky peaks in view, as well as a number of lakes. Nearly all of Donner Lake is in view. The area around Mount Judah is well built out, with the ski area and roads, but the area is still quite pretty. The trail system around Mount Judah is excellent, although not everything is marked 100% clearly, so follow common sense. I noticed the north loop turnoff was marked, but not the south loop. Nor is the trail marked when heading down towards Donner Peak. It is kind of marked, but some people could get confused.

The mountain is quite open, with great views appearing quickly once you start the hike. It is ideal for trail running with many miles of trails in the vicinity without significant elevation increase or steep terrain, as the PCT winds south from Donner Pass towards West Tahoe.

It is often hiked with Donner Peak 8,019' and/or Mount Lincoln 8,383’.  Donner Peak adds about 1/2 mile round trip, while Mount Lincoln adds about 2 miles round trip.

In a typical year, Mount Judah can typically be accessed without too much snow starting in June and going through late October. It is accessible in winter for skiers and snowboarders wishing to take in some additional views.

Getting There

There is really only one primary route to Mount Judah, and that is off Donner Pass Road at the Pacific Crest trailhead. Take I-80 West from Reno, or I-80 East from Sacramento, and exit at 180 for Donner Lake Road. Take Donner Lake Road down towards lake level and take a right on Donner Pass Road. Head a few short miles up a windy road, and you will be at Donner Pass. On the left side of the road is a parking area and a gravel road that leads down to the PCT trailhead in about 0.2 miles.


Take the Pacific Crest Trail as it winds up into a very rocky part of the trail, and eventually returns to forest. After about a mile from the trailhead is the entry to the Mount Judah Loop trail. You can take this part of the loop – the northern entrance, or head another mile or so to the southern entrance. Regardless, the loop is considered 4.6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,175’, and very easy to follow in summer months.  If you want more information, there are numerous write-ups on the internet about this loop, given its popularity.

Northern loop of the Mount Judah trail
View along the Mount Judah loop trail

Red Tape

During the summer season there is no red tape.  There are no fees. The summit is near a very active ski area during the winter and most of the summit area is within the ski area boundary, so expect a lot of traffic, but still no fees.  The mountain is in the Tahoe National Forest.


Mount Lincoln seen from behind a rock formation along the Mount Judah loop trailMt Judah Summit PanoramaMount Judah north side from the PCTMount Judah from the PCTNorthern loop of the Mount Judah trailDonner Peak from the summit of Mount JudahZoom shot of Mount Judah from the south
Donner Lake from the summit of Mount JudahMount Judah through the Donner Peak rocksMount Judah from near the summit of Donner PeakMount Judah ridge and lower north summit seen from the true summitSouth side of Mount Judah from the PCT