Donner Lake, The Jewel of the Northern Sierras


Donner Lake is a Northern California recreational mecca on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevadas. It is a magnet for all water sports, including swimming, stand-up paddle-boarding, boating, wake boarding, water skiing, and fishing. Some of the biggest lake trout in California are caught here.

This side of Truckee is know as "Donner." It is the first Truckee neighborhood that you get to when driving from the San Francisco Bay Area and once you take the Donner Pass Road exit, you can be at Donner Bliss cabin in just three glorious minutes after your three-hour drive.

We always thought we'd spend a lot of time at Big Blue – Lake Tahoe – which is a 20–25 minute drive from Donner Bliss. And then we discovered Donner Lake, which is in our backyard, very family and dog-friendly and so easy to get to and enjoy.

What to Do on Donner Lake

You can enjoy every water sport on Donner Lake and there are several places to rent from.

Yes, THAT Party

Donner State Memorial park, just a mile from Donner Bliss's doorstep, and has a fun, 80s-era movie that tells the story. Learn more about the history of the Donner Party and the gold rush days that brought the Forty-Niners over the Sierras to California.

The East side of the lake where, where the state park is located is situation atop a moraine – mass of rocks and sediment deposited by a glacier, which serves as a natural dam for the lake.

​​This area was home to the ancestors of the Washo People and you can find petroglyphs around the lake. The easiest to access are between the Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Wall. Look on the flat granite bench just west of the road near the historical marker. There are over 200 rock art elements, which, though hard to see, are fascinating and worth the trip. Please don't touch! Learn more here.

Donner Lake is nearly three miles long and ¾ miles wide, with temperatures ranging from freezing in the winter to 76 degrees in the summer (an average of 6 degrees warmer then Lake Tahoe).

Located in the town of Truckee, between I-80 to the north and Schallenberger Ridge to the south, the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad run along the ridge and closely follow the route of the original transcontinental railroad. Both the lake and the pass were named after the ill-fated Donner Party, which wintered there unintentionally in 1846. History buffs and nature seekers are drawn to this area.

Donner Pass Road, aka Lincoln Highway, which borders the lake to the North, was the first automobile road across America and is dotted with over 40 public piers that you can drive up to and enjoy. It climbs to Donner Pass, where you can take in the entire lake from an epic vantage.

The main streams that feed the Lake are: Summit Creek, coming from the West and Gregory Creek (AKA: Negro Creek), from the North-West; as well as many underground springs which surround the Lake. The water then exits the Lake, through the State Park, via Donner Creek and joins the Truckee River near the Donner Creek Mobile Home Park, on West River Street.

More on the Donner Party

More on the Donner Area

Crystal clear Donner Lake is a freshwater lake in Northeast California on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. A moraine (mass of rocks and sediment deposited by a glacier) serves as a natural dam for the lake.

Located in the town of Truckee, between I-80 to the north and Schallenberger Ridge to the south, the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad run along the ridge and closely follow the route of the original transcontinental railroad.

Donner Pass Road, aka Lincoln Highway, which borders the lake to the North, was the first automobile road across America and is dotted with over 40 public piers that you can drive up to and enjoy. It climbs to Donner Pass, where you can take in the entire lake from an epic vantage.

Both the lake and the pass were named after the ill-fated Donner Party, which wintered there unintentionally in 1846. History buffs and nature seekers are drawn to this area bordered by the Donner Memorial State Park on the east and Donner Summit on the west. The park's ranger station has a movie that tells the story.

Donner Lake is nearly three miles long and ¾ miles wide, with temperatures ranging from freezing in the winter to 76 degrees in the summer (an average of 6 degrees warmer then Lake Tahoe).

Donner Lake is a recreational mecca – ideal for all water sports from fishing to water skiing. Some of the biggest Lake Trout in California are caught here. Donner Lake is "The Jewel" of the Sierras.

#Travel #Tourism #Mountain #Lake #DonnerLake #LakeTahoe #Truckee #Boating #Recreation #Hiking

© 2020 by @tripmogul. A Wix site.

Email Mel now to book or ask a question: tripmogul@yahoo.com

Follow Us: