One of my favorite parts of our recent trip to Truckee, was actually the drive home! I know that sounds bad, but on our way out Sunday morning, we took a hike through an old railway tunnel above Donner Lake that was really amazing. I was a little nervous about hiking through an abandoned tunnel in the mountains, and had no idea if the kids would enjoy the experience or be terrified the whole time. As it turned out, our 3.5 year old was the one that didn't want the hike to end.
|View of the tunnel as it curves around the mountainside.|
|This is where your hike should begin, just up the road from the parking turnout.|
The hike to the tunnels takes 10-15 minutes, and then the real adventure begins! We were there on a warm day, so the snow above the tunnel was melting, causing water to drip down from above and puddles to form along the path. I would suggest bringing a flashlight for the darker portions of the tunnel as well as to help you avoid stepping in the puddles.
|View from the first opening.|
We didn't make it that far into the tunnel before turning back, but the portion that we did was well worth the stop! I think this would be an amazing place to explore more of in the future.
After our hike we continued our drive back to the Bay Area, and made our final stop at Goathouse Brewing in the small town of Lincoln. Our stop in Lincoln added about 30 minutes of driving (which I was initially regretting), but in the end it was well worth the detour! Goathouse Brewing is situated in one of the more peaceful and beautiful settings I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying a beer. The tasting room is in a converted barn that opens up to a patio with picnic tables, and just beyond that is a grass field with goats and a donkey! It was the perfect place to let the kids stretch their legs on the drive home, and to top it off, the beers were really good!
|Seriously...have you ever seen a prettier beer tasting venue?|
|The brewery serves 5 oz. sample glasses at $2/glass with 8 beers on tap to choose from.|
|There was an 8 week old baby goat when we were there, and several pregnant goats.|
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The details: To get to the hike from Truckee, we took the Donner Lake exit at turned right onto Donner Pass Road at the bottom of the hill. We followed Donner Pass Road until we saw Donner Summit Bridge, at which point we pulled into a parking turnout (just before the bridge). You will know if you are at the right turnout because you will see a plaque about the China Wall of the Sierra (see pic below). From the parking lot, you should walk up the road about 100-150 yards until you see an easy point to cross the small creek, and from there it is pretty easy to find your way to the tunnel.
You can also refer to this post by another blogger that includes a map and more pictures of the hike.