nature trips


wild flowers





trail running


mountain biking

kid friendly

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.

Did the hike mid-June of 2017 and as others have mentioned there is still quite a bit of snow. This makes finding the trail a fun exercice. The view of the valleys on both sides as you climb up is stunning but the true treasure is the 360 view from the very top. I'd highly recommend planning on stopping up there for lunch to really spend time taking the scenery in. The snowy tops observed from a blossoming summit can keep me going for hours.
The hike is easy and short. Since we couldn't see much of the trail we decided to just go straight up under the sugar bowl chairlifts. Perfect for a one-day/afternoon outing.

we did it on 7/16. we hit snow at 6000ft the last 1/2 mile from summit lake. we were able to get to lake.

A little tougher than I thought it would be with young children but beautiful and peaceful!

This was an amazing day on the trail. The tunnels are beautiful and cool on a hot day and just stunning. Take your time and plenty of pictures you won't be sorry.

I decided to do the whole loop and spent two hours in complete isolation. There is still a lot of snow so be careful and make sure you have AllTrails and active GPS! Without that I would have been lost for sure. The whole top of mountain is still covered by snow so you will lose the trail easily without a map.

I will upload some images later enjoy!

As of June 18, 2017: due to the 160% of normal snowfall of 2016-17, this trail is not (as of date) very passable. Right now, you should take an ice ax and crampons to get across steep sections of snow over the trail. Just 1/4 mile in, you must cross a snowfield that, if you slipped, would slide you fast down and onto a boulder field. Yet, past this, most of the trail is clear and good, until you get up to where it crosses the Sugar Bowl ski area. Then, the snow patches become continuous and often steep, and without GPS, the trail is hard to discern. Very pretty up there. The map route posted here is not adhering to the loop trail, probably due to detours around snow patches. All in all, it would be best to wait a month or more to hike this excellent trail, and follow the trail markings on the map via GPS.

5 days ago

Not a bad hike, through campground area and paved road. Beautiful lake view.

I thought this trail was so beautiful. There is a lot of snow melt still so I would suggest wearing some sort of waterproof shoes or boots. Also wear a hat and bring a flashlight. We couldn't enter the last portion of tunnels due to to much snow and it's already June! Definitely worth it!

22 days ago

Did the hike this morning from 7:30 to 9:30 am. Could not find the loop so did an out and back. Simply heavenly- gorgeous hike. Wildflowers were starting. Did not encounter anyone on trail until we were almost done closer to 9:15 am

Still snowy when I did this hike on 5/28. Couldn't do the entire route because of the snow. I definitely want to return and do the entire hike.

25 days ago

Very wet in late May. Most of the tunnel entrances are still blocked by deep,slushy snow that you have to climb over to get into the tunnels/trail. Be sure to wear hiking boots vs gym shoes and bring a light jacket as the tunnels are cool and dripping with snow runoff. Also the tunnels are very dark so bring a good flashlight/headlamp. We were only able to make it to the entrance of the 3rd trail before we had to turn back due to slushy, slippery snow. But we will definitely be back once the snow melts to finish this trail.