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Check out Johnson Canyon for an often overlooked and local’s favorite section of trail to explore and soak in views of Donner Lake. Perched just above the lake and offering excellent terrain and trails, Johnson Canyon has quick access from downtown Truckee. Depending on the snow pack there are often trails leading both to the ridge due north as well as another more ambitious route that climbs Wendin Way Access Trail toward Donner Ridge and Tahoe Donner.
Johnson Canyon is another quiet and often overlooked mellow backcountry zone with open glades looking down upon the interstate and Donner Lake. While offering short access and ready glade skiing, Johnson Canyon doesn’t often draw the same crowds as other locations nearby. With multiple skiable aspects and a little more solitude, Johnson Canyon is a good slope to work on breaking trail and putting in your own skin track. There are a variety of skiable aspects from here and you might recognize the ridge to your right as you climb as the other side of Sunrise Bowl in Tahoe Donner. All of Johnson Canyon represents relatively low angle and more beginner friendly skiing, not to mention that your tracks will be the envy of drivers heading west on I-80 until the next snowfall!
After hiking the 1.3 Wendin Way Access Trail, hikers can choose to go west to Summit Lake (another 4.8 miles) or climb east to connect with Glacier Way Trail for the Johnson Canyon Overlook trail, also connecting with the Donner Lake Rim Trail.
- Mileage/Distance: 4 miles round trip
- Level/Elevation: Moderate or as much as 1300' up (Wendin Way)
- Access: Wendin Way Trailhead is Billy Mack Rd & Donner Lake exit off I80
- Map and more details