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Donner Party hike traces steps of early pioneers
by Tribune Staff
Aug 11, 2011 | 470 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Hikers can experience the early emigrants’ journey across the Sierra Nevada mountains Oct. 8 and 9 by participating in the 19th Annual Donner Party Hike. The Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce is hosting this popular event that unites two passions: love for the Sierra Nevada wilderness and fascinating emigrant history.

Participants can choose from six different hikes on Saturday and a walking tour on Sunday. 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 between 15 and 20 people to interpretive spots giving detailed historical information focused on emigrant and area history. In the afternoon, hikers will enjoy a barbecue lunch and presentation.

Hike options include a four-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. Other hikes include a four- to five-mile hike heading up Roller Pass; a six-mile hike past pristine High Sierra Lakes; a strenuous six-mile hike over Coldstream Pass, one of the most heavily traveled emigrant routes; or a five-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 during which 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 Sept. 20) per hiker and includes a guided hike, commemorative water bottle, barbecue lunch and afternoon presentation. Sunday’s walking tour is $15 and includes the guided walk and entrance to the Emigrant Trail Museum. A two-day hike package is $60 ($65 after Sept. 20).

Complete hike descriptions and registration forms can be found online at or by contacting the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce at 530-587-8808.
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