Our Lake Tahoe Journey

A Lake Tahoe Journey through Donner, Palisades, and Eagle Rock

We traveled around Lake Tahoe and visited three popular spots: Donner Memorial State Park, The Village at Palisades Tahoe, and The Eagle Rock Trail!

Donner Memorial State Park: A Story about Early American Pioneers!

Donner Memorial State Park is a historic state park in northern California and one of California’s oldest state parks. It is dedicated to preserving the site of the Donner Camp. The Donner Party is a well-known tale of American pioneer history, and I learned about their story years ago when my sons attended middle and high school.

The story begins with a group of pioneers who set out west and took a shortcut trail over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 100 miles shorter. Unfortunately, they got stuck in 1846-1847 due to early winter storms and could not continue their journey. As the pioneers did not have enough food, some members of the party resorted to cannibalism of non-family members who had died.

During our visit to Donner Memorial State Park, we walked the Donner Lake Loop Trail, which provided stunning views of the lake, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Donner Pass. We also saw the Pioneer Monument, commemorating the Donner Party, and the Murphy Cabin Site, where some of the families of the Donner Party took shelter.

It is hard to imagine the ordeal the pioneers went through on a sunny and beautiful September day. Nonetheless, we learned that at the ed of October or the beginning in November, the area will be covered with snow again until May. The Donner Pass is still infamous for heavy snowfalls and storms during the winter, making it a challenging and dangerous place to be.

We left Donner Memorial State Park with a deep admiration for the early American pioneers’ strength and determination. Their tragedy is a sobering reminder of the hardships and challenges they faced as they made their way westward.

The Village at Palisades Tahoe.

Since we were in the area, we made a short detour to The Village at Palisades Tahoe, an iconic ski resort. It was known by the derogatory name Squaw Valley during the Olympic Winter Games in 1960. Today, it is one of North America’s best ski resorts.

Unfortunately, the Olympic museum and the areal tram were closed, so we only walked through the resort, which had cozy restaurants, stores, and lodges. It must look even more enchanting when the streets and slopes are covered with snow.

The Eagle Rock Trail!

The Eagle Rock Trail was a relatively short, though steep climb. However, the effort was well worth it. The reward was a magnificent first impression at the top of an extinct volcano: a jaw-dropping overlook of Lake Tahoe’s vibrant blue-green waters, majestic mountains, and panoramic vistas.

The California Tahoe Conservancy bought Eagle Rock and adjacent Blackwood Creek in 1987 to provide public access and opportunities to restore environmentally sensitive lands. For thousands of years, the Washoe tribe came to Da-ow, “The Lake”, during the summer. Western settlers used the rock for recreational purposes.


Tuesday, September 4, 2023


about 5.5 miles

Moving Time

about 2.5 hours


57 - 72 °F,
calm to light breeze, sun