Date: Monday, June 29, 2015
Course Type: Loop
Start/Finish: Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center
Distance: 5 miles (distance easily modified with endless options for add-ons, see trail map below)
Elevation: 524 ft
We began this run on a dirt path that starts at the parking lot entrance to the Equestrian Center and parallels Alder Creek Road for about 0.4 miles. (Side note: there’s a great little parking lot at the dead-end of Alder Creek Road which provides a great option to cut this part of the run off and get into the valley a bit quicker.) Once intersecting with the pavement, we continued on for about a quarter mile on a dirt fire road which led us to the ridge line overlooking the valley below. While the views from here are pretty great to begin with, this entire valley is a visual treat.
We continued on Euer Valley Road, an easily followed dirt fire road, which led us to the lush valley floor and our first stream crossing at about 1.4 miles in to this run. This spot alone provided some of the most picturesque angles of the valley itself and there was even more to come.
We continued north on Euer Valley road for a bit until we came across an intersection marked by a large Tahoe Donner Trail Map mirroring the one posted below. Here, we veered off of the fire road and onto a single track trail which would take us up on to the northern flank of the valley. This little bit of trail is hard to find so make sure to look just to the side of Euer Valley Road. I’ve included a link to my Strava for this run and the single track detour starts at exactly 1.5 miles in if you zoom in on the map and track the course with the elevation profile.
The single track trail meandered for about a mile amongst large pines, huge granite boulders and a plethora of Sierra foliage to a juncture marked by a couple of rustic structures previously used for cattle grazing operations. While as recently as last year cattle could be found grazing in this valley, the operation has since ceased so we weren’t greeted with moos or odd stares from heifers. The two cattle dogs that accompanied us on this run were very disappointed.
From here we diverted from the trails and cut across the former pasture land which is now open to foot traffic. Here (at about 2.7 miles into the run) we crossed back over the stream that bisects the valley via a lovely bridge composed of corrugated culvert pipe.
A quarter of a mile past the bridge, we met up with Euer Valley Road again and began our ascent back to the southern ridge of the valley. If you haven’t noticed already, Euer Valley Road almost circumnavigates the valley.
While the wildflowers were strewn about the entire course of the run, this is where we were met with a veritable bouquet with every step. There were just too many and so many options for pictures so I pieced a few photos together below.
At roughly 3.8 miles on the route we turned right off of Euer Valley road on to some single-track switch backs which took us back to the ridge and after another 1.2 miles, back to our cars.
Thanks to Sharon Fong who led this fabulous course and to Lesley Dellamonica for marking the way!
Trail Teaser Course Map
Tahoe Donner Trail Map – click on map for additional detail