Tucked into a bold granite spine dividing the Sierra Nevada is a world of amazing recreation, scenery and history. Donner Summit and the deep emerald lake at its feet both bear the name of the tragic emigrant party whose story is wonderfully displayed at a visitors center located at the site itself, less than a mile from the lake.
Today, the Donner area is anything but daunting. Even though it’s just a minute or two from I-80, it somehow feels quaintly removed from all things ultra. There are small general stores, knick-knack and curio shops, public piers, motels and cabins, pleasant cafes and restaurants, hiking trails, biking trails, endless views, fishing guides, sandy beaches, and an amazing selections of slopes that lure boarders and skiers alike to Sugar Bowl, Norden, and Donner Ski Ranch. The amphitheater of granite at the west end of the lake is lined with rock climbing routes that are among the world’s most famous.
Donner – the summit as well as the lake -- is merely a few minutes from downtown Truckee and only another 20 minutes from the shores of Tahoe.