Lake Van Norden Loop (very easy, loop, map, track). Total length: 4 miles. Total elevation gain: 250 ft.
This is a very easy loop around the meadow of Lake Van Norden. The meadow is beautiful, but it’s not generally very accessible: this loop is one of the best ways to enjoy it.
Park in the ski resort parking lot on the North side of the lake estuary. The loop starts by following a dirt road, which once was the main road to Donner Pass. After about 1.5 miles, take right at a fork, and follow a dirt road that cuts right across the meadow, offering a beautiful vista of the meadow itself. The road passes close to one of the warming huts of the Royal Gorge trail system.
Once on the other side of the meadow, follow the road under some power lines, until you get to the main road leading to Royal Gorge from Soda Springs. You can use a parallel dirt road / track to avoid having to share the road with cars. You will soon be back to the parking lot where the loop started.