Roll like the Donner Party -- without getting trapped in snow

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Much has been said of the Donner Party, much of it not good. Here’s a chance to hike the terrain and learn what really happened during the pioneers’ horrific winter spent in the Sierra during their long wagon journey West in 1846-47.

The 19th annual Donner Party Hike near Truckee, Calif., offers two days of immersion in the history of the Donner Party and other emigrant journeys that defined westward migration.

On Oct. 8, participants can choose from six hikes (moderate to strenuous) led by guides who recount the historical significance of each route along the way. Hikes begin and end at Mt. Judah Lodge at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort (on Highway 40 near Donner Summit).

The afternoon includes a barbecue and a performer reenacting the story of Lewis Keseberg, a survivor who was accused of killing matriarch Tamsen Donner. The next day explores the sites where the Donner Party camped and visits the museum at Donner Memorial State Park on an easy guided walk.


It costs $50 per person for the hike, barbecue lunch and presentation on Oct. 8; $15 for the walking tour on Oct. 9. Reservations are required for both events.

Contact: Donner Party Hike, (530) 587-8808