Donner Memorial State Park Snowshoe

3.5 Miles Round Trip - 35 ft gain - Loop Trail

Donner Lake and Memorial State Park - Search Nearby - Added by Neonconflagrations

An easy snowshoe ramble along the edge of Donner Lake with scenic snow-capped vistas of the Sierras towering high above the water.

The Donner Memorial State Park snowshoe route begins at the trailhead just behind the parking entrance kiosk that is located about 100 yards west of the Visitor Center.

After paying the day-use parking fee ($8), begin at the trailhead, but immediately cut right off of the groomed road that remains open for cross-country skiers, and instead begin heading in a northwest direction toward a small footbridge that crosses a usually-frozen creek. From here, continue west until you meet up with a trail just before you reach the fencing of the park's boatyard. Veer left on this trail, over another large concrete bridge spanning Donner Creek, and then immediately veer right on what is a walking trail throughout the rest of the year. From here, you can cut down to the south bank of Donner Creek, and follow this westward between jeffrey pine forest and the creek that eventually opens up and becomes Donner Lake.

Continue to trace the picturesque shoreline, until it hits the bottom of Schallenberger Ridge and cuts at a 90 degree angle, effectively ending the beach that you've been walking along. At this point, head east until you spot the fire road gate. The snowshoe trail continues beyond that, eventually wrapping back around and meeting up with the cross-country ski road just before the trailhead.

Trails are unmarked during the winter, but it's simple to follow the tracks if you want to stay on the main route, or to veer off and head into the backcountry at any point along the way. There is very little elevation change, making this trail great for all skill levels.

It may get crowded at prime mid-day hours and especially on weekends, so keep that in mind if solitude along this beautiful path is what you're looking for.

The Visitor Center has water, bathrooms, and natural and human history displays and is open daily from 10-5. The trails themselves are open from sunrise to sunset.


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


3.5 Miles
35 ft elevation gain
Loop Trail

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