Explore the Donner Summit Railroad Tunnels on snowshoes | SierraSun.com

Explore the Donner Summit Railroad Tunnels on snowshoes

Photo courtesy Jeff BryantCalifornia State Park Ranger Don Schmidt to lead two snowshoe hikes into the Summit Tunnel on Donner Pass, Jan. 31 and Feb. 28.

DONNER SUMMIT and#8212; In the mid-1860s hundreds of Chinese laborers braved freezing temperatures, blizzards and unbelievably hazardous conditions to drill the 1,659-foot-long Summit Tunnel near Donner Pass, enabling the Central Pacific Railroad to move trains over the summit even in the worst of Sierra winter conditions.

Donner Memorial State Park will present two snowshoe hikes through the historic tunnel, led by California State Park Ranger Don Schmidt, Sunday, Jan. 31 and Sunday, Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Donner Memorial State Park museum parking lot, 12593 Donner Pass Road, Truckee.

The program will begin in the park then carpool to Donner Summit for the hike. Participants should come prepared for very cold conditions inside the tunnels. Dress in layers and include a warm hat and gloves. Bring a flashlight; it is dark in the tunnels. Snowshoes only and#8212; no skis. Moderate difficulty, approximately three hours, two miles. There is a parking fee of $8 per vehicle in the state park. For more information call 582-7892. For park information, visit http://www.parks.ca.gov.

and#8212; Submitted to the Sun