Sierra Hike: Donner Railroad Tunnels

5 miles or more
donner railroad tunnels

Ready to mix urban art with your outdoor excursion? The tunnels at Donner Creek are famous for housing colorful graffiti. To get there, take the road upward from Donner Lake toward the observation point. Park in the small lot or along the side of the twisting highway. A quick jaunt up the rocks (there is no real trail here) will land you at a gravel road that weaves through the tunnels. More than 5 miles of railroad tunnels run each way; at the top, choose between left and right. The tunnels keep hikers protected from the sun, which can be grueling this time of year, but inside it gets chilly, so dress warmly. Rocks enable you to climb onto the top of the tunnels for a better view—and more graffiti.

inside donner railroad tunnels

Come Back in Winter

This hike is popular in the winter months, too, but requires proper gear (snowshoes). Getting up to the tunnels is difficult when snow is deep, but the icicles and snow piles create a new ambience inside.

donner railroad tunnels