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Gauging Interest: Fall 2023 Donner Pass Guided Hike

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Well then, maybe this needs to be a thing. This winter being reminiscent of what the Donner Party went through may make for an interesting few months up at the pass, but the advantage of this is that it *should* mean smoke would be less of a worry for us. But hey, more of an example why the rail alignment up there was abandoned for a lower tunnel!

I'll make a date poll, etc. in the next few weeks and come up with an itinerary over the summer. The nice thing about the layout at Donner is that we can have a mostly-flat walk when we meet up to explore the old highway and tunnels, then maybe driving stops at the bridge and/or viewpoints and a lunch in Truckee at the end depending on how everyone is feeling.

Now that snow has finally melted up at the pass and we know what damage has been done after the long winter, I think it's time to see if there's still interest in doing this.

I'm thinking late September or October if the interest remains. Park near the tunnel, check out the westernmost tunnels and part of the abandoned Lincoln Highway. There will be a decent amount of walking at 7,000 feet and it will be dark/cold in the tunnels, but we can minimize the elevation change if people are up to that and stick close to the rail grade. Most of the cool stuff is right along the old rail grade or can be seen from it. Start early-ish to beat the crowds, maybe find somewhere in Truckee to have a group lunch once we're done. I might cross-post this with some of the history and Lincoln Highway groups given the subject matter, but if you haven't seen the tunnels and abandoned road, it is one of the roadgeek/railfan "things to see before you die".

A warning though: there's a rockslide on old 40 east of the Donner Summit Bridge, so the entire route cannot be driven. AFAIK, the road is closed just east of the bridge; this is something I'll need to check if I do another exploration visit before the meet. This would preclude driving the famous part of Old 40 after the walk, but most of it can be seen from the rail grade.

Exact date, I need to check events calendars before setting one, but provided there aren't fires causing smoke, late September/October is usually a beautiful time of year in the Northern Sierra.

Max Rockatansky:
I can do late September but I would need to know the meet day probably by 8/20 before I start writing schedules for said month.  Unless something really goes south (it certainly did on Maui) it appears my wife and I are still on for the Hawaiian Big Island for the weekend of October. 

Curious if this may be happening. I'll be down in Vegas for work and a family visit October 14-28, but would still attend outside of that.


--- Quote from: roadfro on September 25, 2023, 11:08:16 AM ---Curious if this may be happening. I'll be down in Vegas for work and a family visit October 14-28, but would still attend outside of that.

--- End quote ---

Honestly, I forgot I even suggested this. Whoops. :spin:

Between the harsh winter, rockslides up at the summit, and some busy weeks at work, I haven't had time to get up there and scout current conditions. And with winter already starting in the mountains, it's probably too late for this to happen. The emergency work on 80 only complicates things.

That being said, the Reno meet is happening next year. That isn't as dependent on weather or needing a full day for me to scout things out. Much, MUCH easier to plan that.


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