Donner Ridge Area

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Donner Ridge Area


  • Donner Ridge with a sunlit Negro Canyon.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Hiking the broad Donner ridge.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Looking north from Donner ridge into the headwaters of the South Fork of Prosser Creek.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Riding powder on the north side of Donner ridge into Euer Valley.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Discussing route options on Castle Peak from the top of Donner ridge.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Checking out cornice debris in Sunrise Bowl.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Dropping into the east-facing Sunrise Bowl.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Sunrise Bowl offers a great low-angle descent.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Dropping into the Sunrise Bowl.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Enjoying fresh turns in the Sunrise Bowl.- Donner Ridge Area
  • The Donner ridge area is great for dogs.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Skiing Sunrise Bowl.- Donner Ridge Area
  • The bottom of Sunrise Bowl.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Skinning up Sunrise Bowl.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Sunrise Bowl seen from the skin track.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Looking out toward the summit of Donner Peak.- Donner Ridge Area
  • The Donner ridge area has a comprehensive summer trail system as well.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Riding the west face of Donner Ridge into Negro Canyon.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Slashing gullies with the bottom of Negro Canyon in the backround.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Headed back to Donner ridge with Donner Peak in the background.- Donner Ridge Area
  • The terrain in the backround is easily accesed from the bottom of Negro Canyon.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Enjoying the sunset with Castle Peak in the backround.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Skinning back to the car across the broad Donner ridge.- Donner Ridge Area
  • The view of Anderson Ridge from Donner ridge.- Donner Ridge Area
  • Parking off of Glacier Way.- Donner Ridge Area
Overview + Weather
Close to town. Low-angle terrain. Amazing views.
Snowpack melts early.
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Vertical Drop: 
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
7,372 ft (2,247 m)
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky


Windy starting in the evening and heavy sleet overnight.


Snow (1–2 in.) in the morning.


Partly cloudy until evening.


Partly cloudy in the morning.


Clear throughout the day.


Clear throughout the day.


Mostly cloudy overnight.
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


Donner ridge offers a plethora of skiing options within a few miles of Truckee, making it a great location for a quick tour or a place to link up multiple descents for a longer day tour.

A short skin to the north from a parking lot situated atop the Tahoe Donner subdivision will put you on top of the broad and often wind-scoured Donner ridge. An alternative parking option is to park on the north side of I-80 at the Donner Lake exit. Park in the large turnout and skin north into Negro Canyon to your desired ascent route.

Most ski descents off of Donner ridge are short; however, it offers a tremendous amount of descent options on every aspect. Low angle terrain dominates the landscape, making it a good place to explore during storms. Cornices do form on top of the east-facing Sunrise Bowl; however, the low angle terrain below them keeps debris close to the ridge. West-facing descents into Negro Canyon can be made at any place along the ridge. If more challenging terrain is on the menu, checkout the far north end of Negro Canyon near the power lines for cliffs and chutes. Following the ridge to the north leads you out into the Euer Valley, where numerous north-facing aspects can be explored. Small subalpine fir dominate the landscape with a few stands of gnarled old-growth ponderosa pine scatter below the ridge top. The sparsely treed landscape gives a bit of an alpine feel while touring in the area, making navigation a breeze in clear weather.






Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(24 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(101 within a 30 mile radius)

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