Donner family – Lake Donner visit

We love that fact that our weekends are mostly free to decide where we can visit next.

Donner Lake


Donner Lake

We sat around a fire at our RV park and was chatting with some friends.  We said we were going to head out to Lake Tahoe for the weekend and over to Reno when the subject changed to the Donner Family and what happened at Donner Lake in the 1846.

We decided we would go to Lake Tahoe first but do the north side and go through Donner Lake on our way as a stop off.

It really sat heavy with us as these poor people decided to emigrate from the east to the west for a new life.  We wanted to learn more. We immigrated to America for a new life 8 years ago and we felt we understood a little that you do what it takes to make it work.  Knowing that these poor people were just trying to make a new life for themselves just made it all the more sad.

Donner family





The Donner people took what they thought was a shorter route so that they could knock 300 miles off their journey only to find that it was actually longer and also much worse terrain than if they had followed everyone else.  They found themselves getting trapped by the snow and being trapped for 5 months, after 3 weeks had no food left and finally turned themselves into cannibals as people died they ate them for food.   It must have been so hard for them to get through this time.  So many of them died and some people did survive.  Check out this webpage I found which explains it all far better that me. Website about the Donner Party

We visited Donner Lake and some of Donner Pass and climbed to 7227 feet at one point.  The Information center we visited had a large statue and I have put the picture below.  The snow was as deep as the block on the statue so as you can imagine was so deep.  As we walked around the Information center it gave you the whole story of what happened at that very sad time.  This is a part of US history we did not know so it was very interesting but very sad to read about.  We found the people visiting the center were very quiet walking around reading all the information.

During the harsh times of the Donner family The Washoe People interacted with them and bought them some food to help but when they saw them eventually resorting to cannibalism it made them scared of them look at this website I found on the Washoe people. The Washoe people


Chinese Immigrants

It first of all starts talking about the Donner family and then goes on to tell you all about the Chinese who emigrated to help with the building of the railway there too.  Thousands died doing this and it was so sad to read all the information about the chinese too.  We actually saw some of the railway that still stands today as we drove along onto Lake Tahoe.  It all looks so beautiful and unbelievable that so many people died. 137 workers died during the 4 years building the railway.  Read this information to learn more about what happened. Railroad History




North Lake Tahoe

We carried on our visit to North Lake Tahoe and it was an absolutely beautiful site.  We found a bench right on the lake to have our sandwiches.  The wind really picked up at that point and we just felt like we were sat at the seaside and not the lake.  The lake was so big that it really was just like the sea. We ate our sandwich and got back into the truck and off to Reno.  I booked a hotel quickly on my phone through expedia and off we went to our hotel.


We stayed at Sieno Hotel in Reno and we were given a really lovely room.  I didn’t sleep very well though as the air conditioning was so loud it drove me nuts.  Although it was a beautiful hotel I don’t think we will stay there again.

Well we went out for the night in Reno and decided we would just spend $20 each on gambling and then go for something to eat.  Nothing too expensive.  On the very first machine that we put our money into Peter won $500. Whoo hooo we were really happy and decided to go for a really nice meal and had a starter our meal, afters and a bottle of wine.  We also had some more money to have a little gamble.  Our weekend now was costing us nothing and we were really happy as you can imagine.

Reno was very surprising, the river walk had a lot of building going on and you can see that the city is being cleaned up   I think I will visit Reno again it would be interesting to see it in another 5 years. They are doing a great job.

We ate at the camporeno Restaurant and we both had Lamb.  It absolutely melted in our mouths and the wine was just wonderful.  The waiter Jason was a gem kept coming over and poured our wine for us and it was just all such a treat. The waiter made us feel very special.

We skipped all the way back to the hotel.

South Lake Tahoe

We left early in the morning and headed off to South Lake Tahoe which seemed weirdly different to the North of the Lake.  We paid $8 to park so that we could just take pictures of the beautiful old fashioned steam boats that were on the lake and we had breakfast.


Steam Boat


We then headed up the hill to Emerald Bay which is part of the lake and just could not believe the stunning views upon heading up the hill.  At one point we were on a ridge with lakes on both side of us.  I got a great picture of Emerald Bay just see how beautiful it is.



Emerald Bay




Video of Emerald Bay 


My husband works for Emerald Health which was named after this lake.

We drove all the way home and can’t wait for our next excursion.