A Nature Hike on the Donner Camp Interpretive Trail
It’s a beautiful, fall day in Truckee, CA. Zackery and I thought it would be nice to go on a “nature hike.” Will suggests we go to the Donner Camp Picnic Area (literally just a few minutes from our house), so that Brayden can walk around too. We often go for walks there (or “nature hikes” as we call it) because it’s close to home, and it’s a nice, easy, level loop trail that is great for kids. It’s a mostly dirt/gravel trail, but the favorite part for Zackery is the wooden boardwalk that spans over the marshy meadow. He loves to run ahead, of course with a giant smile plastered on his face!
Brayden had a grande old time as well. He waddled as quickly as he could, trying to catch up with big brother who was cackling way up ahead. He stumbled a few times, but we brushed him off, wiped away his tears, and he was off on his own again. It was such a joy to see both of our boys enjoying themselves so much.
Being the camera-happy Mommy that I am, I was constantly snapping photos in hopes of getting just one “perfect” picture. I really wanted to get one of Zackery and Brayden holding hands. I had to get Will to help me convince Zackery to stop for just one minute – but I got my picture!
If you are ever in the area, the Donner Camp Picnic Area is a wonderful place to stop. There are picnic tables, restrooms, and an interpretive trail perfect for your own “nature hikes.” It’s located approximately 2.5 miles north of Truckee on Hwy 89, and is a major part of history for the Sierra Nevada Mountains, especially here in Truckee.
For more information, read below and check out the following links:
Donner Camp Picnic Area (taken from the website: www.GORP.com (Great Outdoor Recreation Pages))
At this site on Alder Creek near Prosser Reservoir the George and Jacob Donner families were snowbound during the winter of 1846. The Donner Party had earlier decided to take a shortcut through the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, which Lansford Hastings had written about in his guidebook “Emigrants Guide to Oregon and California.” The trail was rocky and portions were impassable for their wagons. The “Hasting’s Cutoff” caused the Donner Party to become three weeks behind the rest of the wagon train they had originally started west with. When they finally reached Truckee Meadows (Reno), the party made the fatal mistake of resting for a week before going over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Donner families were forced to stay behind at what is now known as Donner Camps Day Use Area to repair a wagon axle while the others in the Donner Party went ahead. Both groups of emigrants were caught in early winter snows. The party that went ahead made it six miles farther to the site of the Donner Memorial State Historic Park before the snow stopped them.
Three U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are nearby. Annie McCloud Campground, Lakeside Campground, and Prosser Campground are located on the west shore of Prosser Reservoir.
The Donner Camp Picnic Area is located 2.5 miles north of Truckee on Highway 89.