Donner Party Hike

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10/14/2017 - 12:00pm
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Outdoor Activities

Hikers can experience the early emigrants’ journey across the Sierra Nevada mountains without reliving the dangers.

Participants can choose from seven different hikes on Saturday and on Sunday a walking tour. All events offer insight into emigrant history from area guides, along with invigorating recreation and beautiful scenery.

Saturday’s hikes begin and end at the Mt. Judah lodge at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort located on Highway 40 on Donner Summit. Guides will lead groups of approximately10-20 people to interpretive spots giving detailed historical information focused on emigrant and area history. In the afternoon, hikers will enjoy a hamburger lunch and a Chautauqua performance of Captain John Sutter portrayed by David Fenimore.

Hike options include a 3.5 mile one way trek in Summit Canyon, recently acquired by Truckee Donner Land Trust, previously owned property. Other hikes include a 4 mile round trip that will explore the Dutch Flat Donner Lake Wagon Road and 1913 Corridor Lincoln Highway with views of petroglyphs, old roadside billboards and the China Wall. In addition, other hikes include a 4-5 mile hike heading up Roller Pass and/or Mt. Judah; a 6 mile hike past pristine High Sierra Lakes; a strenuous 6 mile hike over Coldstream Pass, one of the most heavily traveled emigrant routes; or a 5 mile hike through old railroad tunnels and snowsheds.

Sunday offers a more relaxed walking tour departing from the Donner Camp Picnic Area, located on Highway 89 North. Activities include a walking tour where guides will detail the Donner Party’s encampment, a visit to the Murphy’s Cabin Site and entrance to the Donner Memorial State Park Museum offering a historical movie about the Donner Party. Participants will need to provide their own transportation to the Donner Memorial State Park.

Space is limited for all events and reservations are required. Early registration for the Saturday hikes is $45 ($50 after September 28, 2012) per hiker and includes a guided hike, commemorative ballcap, BBQ lunch and afternoon presentation. Sunday’s walking tour is $15 and includes the guided walk and entrance to the Emigrant Trail Museum. 2-day hike package is $60 ($65 after September 28, 2012). Complete hike descriptions and registration forms can be found at or by contacting the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce at (530) 587-8808.

Sponsors of this event include: Cedar House Sport Hotel, Donner Lake Village Resort, Donner Memorial State Park, Hampton Inn and Suites Tahoe-Truckee, Inn at Truckee, Larkspur Hotel Truckee-Tahoe, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Town of Truckee, Truckee Donner Lodge  and the U.S. Forest Service.