Lake Tahoe
Truckee & Donner Lake
Truckee - Downtown Truckee still feels like a frontier town. In the 19th century, Truckee was rip-roaring town, filled with miners and lumberjacks. Parts of the transcontinental railway were built out from Truckee, and there's still a train stop in town. Take the kids to the Amtrak train station to watch the trains come in (call the station first to check the schedule, trains are often delayed). At the corner of Spring and Jibboom St. check out the old jail, which was used continuously from 1875 to 1964.
Truckee River Regional Park - Large playground for little kids, picnic tables and grass to run around, disc golf course. In winter, seasonal ice rink, skate rentals available.
Truckee River Legacy Trail - Fabulous paved bike trail from downtown Truckee, along south side of the Truckee River. Pick up the trail at the Truckee River Regional Park. Bike rentals available at shop across from the park..
Donner Lake - Donner Lake is perfect for a picnic, plenty of picnic tables and barbecues. There are plenty of picnic tables and barbecues. Play on the sandy beaches or follow the path along the lake. There's a swimming beach at China Cove. Boats are available for rent at Donner Lake Water Sports.
Horseback riding - The wide open high country around Truckee is perfect for horseback riding. For littlest ones, there are pony rides (parents can lead the pony). Kids 7 and up will enjoy a guided trail ride.
Donner Memorial State Park - This state park commemorates the ill-fated Donner Party. In 1846 two farmers, George and Jacob Donner brought their families west, along with a larger group. Delayed crossing the Sierra Nevada, they were snowed in near Donner Lake. The families built cabins, but food was scarce. During the winter, relief eventually came, but in order to survive, some of the Donner Party ate the bodies of people who died. One of the youngest members who hiked out over the high mountains was Patty Reed, an eight year old girl.
Pioneer Monument - Check out this large bronze monument, dedicated in 1918 to all the people who made the difficult journey across the mountains to California in the 1840's.
Emigrant Trail Museum - This museum is dedicated to the history of this area, with displays of Washoe Indian baskets and arrowheads, dioramas of the Donner Party, plus emigrant's trunks, rifles and other personal effects, a full-size replica of a covered wagon, exhibits of timber logging for the silver mines and tunneling through the Sierra for the train tracks. There's a 20 minute video of the Donner party expedition. At the entrance to the museum, don't miss a case filled animals of the Sierra - salmon, trout, racoon, beaver, flying squirrel, bobcat, stellar jay, ground squirrel.
Nature trail - Behind the museum, take lovely walk along the creek, stopping to look at the Jeffrey and Lodgepole pine trees (these were used to build log cabins), trout or minnows in the stream, logs cut by beavers, and in spring, wildflowers in the meadow. For a longer walk, continue on the trail around the little lake.
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