Located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada, Donner Memorial State Park offers the summer vacationer opportunities for camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, water-skiing, and hiking. In winter, visitors can cross-country ski and snowshoe on trails and enjoy the season's beauty. Visitors are welcome year-round at the Emigrant Trail Museum and at the Pioneer Monument, built to commemorate those who emigrated to California from the east in the mid-1800's. Included in the museum are displays and information about one of the earliest pioneer wagon trains, the Donner Party, forced by circumstances to camp at the east end of Donner Lake in the winter of 1846-47, resulting in human suffering and loss of life. The park is 100 miles east of Sacramento via Interstate 80, and is within the town of Truckee, just west of downtown on the south side of the freeway. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park. Summer temperatures range from about 75 degrees during the day to the low 40s at night, and winter temperatures average from a high of 40 to a low of 20 degrees. Dogs are permitted in the campground and picnic area but must be on a leash (six-foot maximum length) at all times and in your tent or motor vehicle at night. They are not permitted on the trails or on the beach.
Loved this hike, which is really more of a walk. The snowsheds and tunnels are bizarre, esp with all the graffiti (some of it actually quite good). Would make a great location for an episode of Walking Dead! But it is safe--the day we went there were lots of others, including families with small children. Bring a flashlight, parts are quite dark. It's chilly too so bring a jacket, and be prepared to get dripped on in the snowsheds. It's also pretty impressive to consider the effort by the Chinese workers in the 19th century that went into making the tunnels. Also, some beautiful and unique views of Donner Lake and the surrounding Old Donner pass area.
5.5 mies with 1220 ft elevation increase. Pretty Moderate to strenuous at times. It is well worth the hike to the top for the gorgeous views of Donner Lake and the area! Portapotty at the trailhead. Bring water. Several dogs on the trail. Great hike!