My favorite pastime is hands down hiking and backpacking. I love exploring new areas and spending extended time outside in the elements.

Hiking from Sugar Bowl to Squaw has been on my radar for quite some time. It takes a bit of planning, as a shuttle car needs to be arranged but is well worth the effort. The approximately 16-mile hike begins on Donner Summit at the Pacific Crest Trailhead. Four of my closest friends, two dogs, and I embarked on the mission.

After meeting at Wild Cherries for coffee and a quick bite, we made our way up scenic Old 40. We began our trek at 8:45 am, a bit later than planned. Early in the week it looked as if we would have perfect weather, 67 degrees and sunny, instead it was 55 with an extreme wind advisory. The morning was off to a blustery cold start. I immediately regretted not packing gloves within minutes of the hike.

The first leg of the trail winds through Sugar Bowl Resort, under Mount Lincoln. We were feeling confident in our pace as we approached the halfway point, Tinker’s Nob. The wind on the ridge leading to the 8-mile mark reached 70 MPH. Luckily the PCT bends behind Tinker’s leading to a protected mountain valley. Besides a slight detour on the Granite Chief, the trail was easy to follow and extremely well maintained. The Sugar Bowl to Squaw trail is a popular destination for ultra-runners, through hikers, and backcountry skiers and is well known in the spring and summer for it’s abundant wildflowers.

Our crew finished the hike in 6.5 hours a rate of 2.5 miles/hour, a leisurely pace. Late lunch and beers at Plump Jack by the fire were well received. Post feast, the seven of us packed into my car, which was parked the night before, to make the journey back to Truckee.  The dogs were wiped as they likely covered at least twice as much ground as the humans. A hot tub soak completed a memorable, satisfying day spent with friends in the mountains. I highly recommend this hike and will likely make it an annual outing.