Donner Lake Is the Place to Stay If You Love the Outdoors

Where is Donner Lake? This lake is situated in Northeast part of California on the North side of Sierra Nevada mountainsjust 11 miles northwest of the larger Lake Tahoe. There is a moraine providing an acceptable dam for the lake.

Donner Pass

Donner Pass is a pass through the mountain location of the north Sierra Nevada Mountains, directly above the lake which is 9 miles to the west of Truckee. Just like the Sierra Nevada mountains, the pass has a sharp incline from the east and gradual incline on the western side.


Currently this is the area that is home to a growing fun community with ski resorts and alpine lakes including:

  • Boreal
  • Donner Ski Ranch
  • Sugar Bowl

The other communities in this area include Soda Springs and Kingvale, andthe larger village below the pass– Truckee.


The history of this pass is interesting. To reach California from the East pioneers in their wagon shad; to get over the Sierra Nevada mountains. In the fall of 1844 Murphy- Stephens-Townsend party were following the Truckee River to the mountains. At the head of what is now Donner Lake, they found a low pass in the mountains and were the first settlers to use this pass.

Donner Party

This pass was named for a later wagon train of settlers trying to make it to California. In fall of 1846 this Party (Donner Party) found the route was impassable because of snow so they were forced to spend the winter on the east side of these mountains. There were 81 settlers that winter, butonly 45 survived to cross the mountain and reach California; some of them had resorted to cannibalism.

Always something to do

Winter and summer offer an assortment of recreation such as:

  • Backpacking
  • Rock and ice climbing
  • Alpine and cross-country skiing


Donner Lake is sort of like the suburbs of Truckee so Donner Lake real estate has every type of housing both for rent and for sale. This includes small cabins or condos as well as the most expensive water front property which just closed for a record of $800,000,000. This gem of a house was elegantly designed by Claire Walton Architecture and furnished by Aspen Left Interiors to make a showplace.


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