Donner Memorial Connector Path

Tahoe National Forest, California 96162

Elevation Gain78ft
Trailhead Elevation6,120ft
Elevation Min/Max6116/6185ft
Elevation Start/End6120/6120ft

Donner Memorial Connector Path

Donner Memorial Connector Path is a hiking trail in Placer County, California. It is within Donner Memorial State Park and Tahoe National Forest. It is 0.4 miles long and begins at 6,120 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 78 feet. This trail connects with the following: Donner Memorial.

Donner Memorial Connector Path Professional Reviews and Guides

"Donner Memorial Park has enough diversions to fill a couple of hours or an entire week. The park boasts two trails: a short nature-trail loop that takes 30 minutes to complete, and a 2-mile semi-loop that mostly parallels the lakeshore but also goes through the forest.

With swimming areas, boat rentals, picnic areas, campgrounds, and a museum dedicated to the ill-fated Donner Party, the park offers plenty of family activities in addition to hiking. So many fun adventures await park visitors that a trip to the museum is necessary to understand the tragedy for which the park is named."

"The Donner Lakeshore Trail parallels the shoreline of three-mile long Donner Lake. It is a level hike from Donner Creek, the lake's outlet, to China Cove, a swimming beach with picnic tables and barbecue grills. The hike includes sandy beaches and interpretive display panels about the area's history, geography, and ecology. The Donner Creek Nature Trail is a short loop trail along Donner Creek that starts at the Emigrant Trail Museum."

"Most people have heard of the tragedy of the Donner party of 1846, and probably know that they camped near Donner Lake. They had been delayed by controversy and bad luck, and when they tried to cross the summit in late October they were turned back by deep snow, and were forced to camp for the winter. Most of the party were at Donner Lake, but some, such as the Donners themselves, couldn’t make it that far and had to stop a few miles back along the trail near Alder Creek. The latter is the location now known as Donner Camp. Both groups endured frightful hardships, and some of them finally resorted to cannibalism. Of the 87 original members of the party, 40 died.

This guide provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information."

"A relatively new addition to the area, the Donner Summit Canyon Trail traces a historical route from the vicinity of Donner Lake to Donner Summit. Along the way, you’ll encounter lush foliage and early-season wildflowers, a beaver pond, serene forest, and scenic views across slopes of classic Sierra granite. The presence of man also will be seen, as much of the route follows an old wagon road used to supply workers on the transcontinental railroad.

The upper section is never too far from the old Lincoln Highway (Donner Pass Road: the main trans-Sierra road before the four-lane thoroughfare of I-80 was constructed) and the old railroad grade, with snow sheds and stone retaining walls visible from many spots along the trail. While nowadays the old road transports only light traffic and the railroad grade has long been abandoned in favor of a tunnel to the south, the modern-day scene includes climbers scaling the vertical rock faces near the summit. Casual hikers interested in an easier hike can follow shorter sections of trail to a couple of picnic areas."

Donner Memorial Connector Path Reviews

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A pleasant trail along a beautiful lake at 6000 feet elevation. The trial is mostly flat and well maintained. I enjoyed my run on the trial, but would be wary of how crowded it might be on busy summer weekends. This State Park can be quite busy.

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Trail Information

Tahoe National Forest
Nearby City
Tahoe National Forest
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Swimming, Boating, Camping
Additional Use
Truckee Donner Land Trust at 530-582-4711,; Tahoe National Forest at 530-587-3558,
Local Contacts
TDLT Donner Summit Canyon
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018