Historic Donner Pass Trail

EASY 172 reviews

Historic Donner Pass Trail is a 5.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Donner, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
905 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

cave

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

An easy, unique, yet beautiful hike through multiple segments of tunnels with openings throughout the trail that offer views of Donner Lake. Along the walls of the tunnels is a graffiti artists playground. Graffiti line the walls from the beginning to the very end.

hiking
1 month ago

easy and dog friendly.

1 month ago

the first part of the trail is good for all ages due to it is flat and just a nice walk through the old train tunnels. However the loop part is definitely for more experience and for people that are in shape. If you are not experience tour in shape you can still do the loop but be advised that it is climbing a hillside. But over all is was a wonderful hike and my group had a good time.

hiking
2 months ago

I love this hike! It involves the Donner train tunnels and the China wall of the Sierra! I love getting some history with my hike. Oh and don’t forget to see the petroglyphs near the bottom!

2 months ago

love the old tunnels, not really a hike but one of my favorites none the less. a beautiful view of the lake in the middle of a tunnel turn out.

3 months ago

Beautiful views. Mostly covered (in tunnels)

hiking
3 months ago

The hike was pretty boring for the most part. The tunnels were cool for a while, but kinda sketchy and they got old after a while. After that, the hike to the top was great. Steep, rocky, and loose made for an epic day. The views are the top were great!

hiking
3 months ago

great scenery great people working to maintain it

4 months ago

Really enjoyable hike. The highlight: incredible views and scenery!!!!

4 months ago

An easy hike that is different. I did the hike on a hot day so the cool temp in the tunnels was a welcome relief. Views of Donner and surrounding areas are spectacular!

hiking
5 months ago

scenic, good for visitors to the area.

5 months ago

Really amazing hike if your looking for something different. Easy walk through the tunnels and awesome views of Donner Lake. Drive up to the trail head is also a great drive.

5 months ago

We loved this hike. Took the whole family! Grandma and grandkids. It was a very unique hike and cool to see some history too. But yes as people mentioned, bring a flashlight or headlamp for kids would be helpful.

hiking
5 months ago

Walking through the old train tunnels was a bust for us. View after not worth the effort. Suggest yo try another hike

hiking
5 months ago

What a neat and unique hike through historic train tunnels! The parking lot is located across the street from Donner Ski Ranch. It’s a sizable lot with plenty of parking. You walk through a series of tunnels. A few tunnels are dark and damp, so flashlights would be a good idea. The graffiti art adds an interesting touch to the hike. In between tunnels, you’re able to enjoy terrific views. Dog and kid friendly, too.

5 months ago

Ok, first off this trail, going the whole loop, is NOT 5.4 Miles. We followed the map and it was a little over 7 Miles. The loop itself is not flat, it climbs pretty high and then comes down pretty steep. I would not consider this easy. That said, it’s gorgeous! Beautiful views throughout the whole trail and the uphill vistas at the end of the loop were worth it. Things to consider: bring a flashlight, the tunnels are dark. Also, wear big repellant because the mosquitos at the top of the hill are everywhere. If you choose to just go out and back, it’s totally flat and there are some pretty awesome views. The railroad trail continues on and eventually meets up with the new tracks. There is a cool spot where the new line emerges from the hillside below you on the road. There are also several small waterfalls in that area.

5 months ago

Amazing !!

walking
5 months ago

This is NOT a nature trail plus it is NOT signed! Its a flat walk through the old train tunnels...we walked around in circles for almost 2 hours because the start is actually fenced off, and then we realized that was indeed the start of this so called trail. It's more of a stroll through old dark tunnels, if that's what you're in to.

hiking
6 months ago

BRING A FLASHLIGHT! It can get pretty dark in the Tunnels.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike. Impossible to get lost. Did the loop (some snow on the descent) and just to add to the fun we walked on top of the snow sheds on the way back.

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Great however it is covered in ice now. fell and hit my chin. Be careful!!

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing! Super snowy and icy, perfect for snow shoeing and you can do the tunnels if you have yaktrax or poles and are willing to take your time and be okay with a few slips here and there.

hiking
10 months ago

The trailhead was a little tough to find-it was not the Judah lot (unless I missed it) as noted. We parked in a lot directly across from Donner Ski Ranch. There was a gate and then a tunnel almost immediately. It was pretty icy and flat. Definitely bring a headlamp and dress warmly. There was snow on the ground and the wind made it pretty cold. I would love to come hike this trail in the spring or summer, but I enjoyed going in winter. There are some beautiful views of Donner lake and some pretty incredible graffiti art.

10 months ago

Fun walk with the kids. Great views, we did not do the loop. Walked in and out

hiking
10 months ago

Couldn’t find the trailhead and got my car stuck in the snow with chains on

hiking
11 months ago

Went in December and this trail was not fun. Almost the entire tunnel portion was iced over and treacherous.

The views were still amazing though and I would love to go back in the summer.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I love this trail! The graffiti art is spectacular, as is the view

Friday, October 06, 2017

this was a very neat trail!!! so many BEAUTIFUL views!!!! today was the perfect weather not too hot and not too cold!!

hiking
Friday, September 22, 2017

I have mixed feelings about this trail. 50% is walking through dark tunnels. While I thought it was interesting and unique (something I had never done before), it got old pretty quickly. It's dark, and the path is not exactly comfortable (bf and I rolled our ankles a couple times). That being said, the views of the surrounding area are pretty spectacular. Once you reach the end of the tunnels, you walk for a bit on rocky, leveled ground for a bit. Then, you make a right and hike up to the peak. The top was amazing. Beautiful views and a perfect spot to rest/eat. So, just keep in mind you'll be walking in the dark for quite a while (it was about 1.5 hours total for us), but the views up top are amazing!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Great trail! We did the loop trail... we went out through the sheds (spooky! Take a light) and looped back (steep uphill made us break a sweat) and returned on top of some of the snow sheds. A bit sketchy but great views and very interesting!

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