Hiking the

Donner pass summit tunnel


The Donner Pass Summit Tunnel hike is a moderate 5-mile out-and-back trail that meanders through the tunnels of the first railroad to traverse the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

If the history and views of Donner Lake weren't enough to intrigue you, the amazing graffiti art that decorates every square inch of the tunnel walls surely will!

The tunnel portions of this trail remain cool in summer, and can be icy in winter. There are no toilets along the trail.

What you'll need in the winter:  Waterproof shoes Gloves Head lamp Walking sticks

Turn off Sugar Bowl Road onto a short, windy dirt road that leads to a dirt parking lot with ample parking. 

Start the hike by heading under the road.

There are wonderful views of Donner Lake beyond the first tunnel. 

You will find a placard marking ancient petroglyphs carved into a large stone. In the same area, there is a 75-foot-high Chinese Wall that was hand drilled and blasted by Chinese railroad workers.

This 1,659-foot long tunnel. system was in service from 1868 to 1993. That's a total of 125 years!

Visit MK Library to learn more about one of the most unique hikes in Northern California!