Tahoe National Forest

Coldstream Canyon Trail

Mileage: 20 miles round-trip
Elevation: 6,000'-8,600'
Difficulty: Difficult
Type of Route: Dirt road & single track trail
Use Level: Moderate
Topographic Map: Nordon 7.5' and Granite Chief, 7.5'
Access: Turn south on Donner Pass Road just, east of Donner Memorial State Park. Follow the road for 4/10 mile. Park where the pavement ends.
Description: One tenth mile up the dirt road take the right fork. Follow this short steep paved section, which will soon become a dirt road again. Veer right, staying on the main road that runs along the right side of two large ponds and continue the gradual climb up the valley. Much of the valley is private property so please stay on the road and respect the landowners' rights. When you come to the 180-degree bend in the railroad, cross the tracks and continue on the road. Stay left at the next two forks. After crossing the creek you will begin a short steep climb that will intersect a newly built logging road.

Continue the gradual climb that follows the South Fork of Cold Creek. At the end of the logging road a single track, once an old jeep road, will begin to climb the last few miles to the saddle below Tinker Knob. Portions of the climb are steep and technical. You will cross the creek two more times and if you look carefully along the west bank of the creek you can see the old flume used to transport logs off the mountain by the early loggers. Once at the saddle below Tinker Knob the rider is rewarded with a breathtaking view to the south of the Deep Creek drainage. The saddle is an excellent spot to stash your bike, grab your lunch and hike the short steep trail to the top of Tinker Knob (8,950'). Descend the same way you rode up. Watch for horses on the single track part of the ride and automobiles after the 180-degree bend in the railroad.

Note: The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is located just beyond the saddle. Bicycles are not permitted on the PCT.

Return to Tahoe Hiking

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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