• Caitlin McAninch

Winter at the Donner Train Tunnels

Updated: Feb 16, 2019



One of my all time favorite hikes is at Donner Lake. It’s called the Abandoned Train Tunnels. I first went to them two years ago when we had family in town. The views were some of the most incredible views of Donner and the mountains that surround it. A few days ago I saw someone’s photos of the tunnels with ice and snow, and I knew I had to visit them again.

My mom and I woke up early on Saturday and headed up to the mountains. This is what it looks like to drive up Donner Pass Road:


We parked across the street from Donner Ski Ranch, right next to one of the first big tunnels.


Unlike before, we did not go through the tunnels on this day. Blocking the entrance were giant icicles, all five to six feet in length. And there were chunks lying on the ground that looked like they weighed 200+ pounds. Deep into the tunnels we could see icicles all over the place. All coming to a sharp point. Heck no I wasn’t walking back through those tunnels! I was a little too scared! But look at all these beautiful icicles and ice:







One of the coolest parts of the hike is all the graffiti. In my last post about the tunnels I have more pictures of the awesome art, so if you’d like, check that out here.


Once we were cold enough and got plenty of pictures, we headed back down the hill. We stopped to take a photo on this beautiful bridge. It’s funny because I see this bridge in car commercials all the time. I guess because it’s just so beautiful!


We also stopped at every turn out to take pictures of the views. We took photos of the lake, the tunnels and all the snow.




And lastly before we headed to breakfast at Truckee Bagel, we stopped at beautiful Donner Lake for a few photos.


Whether it’s winter or summer, the Donner Train Tunnels are the perfect place to breathe in the beauty of the Sierra Nevadas.

Donner Train Tunnels

Distance: 39.3 miles

Driving Time: 44 minutes

#Activities #California

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