Truckee California

Donner Lake

Donner Lake

Donner Lake is a large scenic alpine lake on the western side of Truckee. It is surrounded by mountains that rise over two thousand feet above the lake. Donner Lake is the focal point for many activities including: swimming, sailing, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, diving, and fishing.

The lake is home to Mackinaw trout, Rainbow trout, German Brown trout, and Kokanee. There is public access to the lake at Donner Memorial Sate Park, West End Beach, as well as several public boat ramps. Donner Lake is steeped in history. The lake is named after the Donner Party. Visitors can learn much about this history at the museum located in the Donner Memorial State Park.

A Prime Recreation Spot

Donner Lake swimming

Donner Lake is home to a variety of organized activities, especially in the summer, including: a mini–triathlon, the Donner Lake Swim, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival, sailboat and windsurfing races. In the summer, thousand of visitors flock to the lake's beaches and State Park. The water temperature of the lake can reach up to seventy–six degrees in the summer.

Other nearby activities include: hiking, horse back riding, and golfing. In the winter, Donner Lake occasionally freezes over and there are cross–country ski and snowshoeing trails at Donner Memorial State Park. The variety of activities and scenic beauty of the lake make it extremely popular. Houses on the lake typically have prices in excess of one million dollars.

Inflows and Outflows

Donner Lake activities

Donner Lake is a natural lake that was formed primarily through a combination of faulting and glacial action. A glacial moraine formed a natural dam to the lake. At its deepest point, Donner Lake has a depth of three hundred twenty–eight feet.

Several streams feed the lake as well as underground springs. Donner Creek drains the lake, flowing into the Truckee River. In the winter, the lake level is lowered by eight to twelve feet to help prevent spring flooding of the Truckee River.