Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture
Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture

Annual Donner Party Hike October 3-4

Posted on October 2, 2015
Filed Under North Tahoe Events

Donner Party Hike Tahoe CultureHikers can experience the early emigrants’ journey across the Sierra Nevada mountains without reliving the dangers October 3 and 4, 2015 by participants in the Annual Donner Party Hike.

Exploring this region on interpretive walks and hikes you can almost hear the clip-clop of oxen and the rumble of wagon wheels, as countless emigrants scaled the mighty Sierra Nevada in search of a better life. Learn about the success of the Stephens Party; the tragic events the Donner Party endured; and the importance of the transcontinental railroad. Put on your hiking boots, choose a hike and explore Truckee’s history.

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

Saturday’s hikes begin and end at Donner Ski Ranch located on Highway 40 on Donner Summit. Guides will lead groups of approximately 15-20 people to interpretive spots giving detailed historical information focused on emigrant and area history. In the afternoon, hikers will enjoy a hamburger lunch, music by Richard Blair and a presentation by Maya Rook an expert on the Donner Party. On Saturday evening in collaboration with Sierra State Parks Foundation we will have an evening with Bill Oudegeest talking about his new book “Walking Through Donner Summit History” which will be held at the Donner Memorial State Visitor Center at 5:00 pm.

There are six hike options of varying length offered on Saturday. Explore the Dutch Flat Donner Lake Wagon Road and 1913 Corridor Lincoln Highway with views of petroglyphs, old roadside billboards and the China Wall. Hike up Roller Pass and Mt. Judah to see where wagon trains were winched up over the granite. Discover pristine High Sierra Lakes or explore Coldstream Canyon. Back this year is the Railroad Snowsheds hike. Each hike offers a unique and memorable experience.

Sunday starts with a more relaxed walking tour departing from the Donner Camp Picnic Area, located on 2.5 miles north of Truckee on Highway 89. Following the walking tour where guides will detail the Donner Party’s encampment, participants will drive to Donner Memorial State Park to hear more about the Donner Party, the Pioneer Monument, visit the Murphy’s Cabin Site, and enjoy entrance to the all new visitor center offering a historical movie about the Donner Party.


Space is limited for all events and reservations are required. Early registration for the Saturday hikes is $45 ($50 after September 28, 2015 per hiker) and includes a guided hike, commemorative hiking hat, hamburger lunch and afternoon presentation.

Sunday’s walking tour is part of a two day package and includes the guided walk and entrance to the visitor center. 2-day hike package is $60 ($65 after September 28, 2015). Complete hike descriptions and registration forms can be found at







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