We went on another scenic drive today over Donner Summit. With two highways crossing Donner Summit, motorists can choose between speedy Interstate 80 or the slower, more scenic route of old Highway 40. We did a little bit of each today, starting out on 80 and then following 40 into the old town of Truckee. The views from I-80 down the eastern side past Donner Lake are dramatic. A turnout partway down the pass offers a great place to look out over Donner Lake with views of the transcontinental railroad tunnels and old Highway 40.
We are planning a return trip to see more of highway 40 next visit. We drove all the way up to Donner Pass crossing Rainbow Bridge and winding down to Truckee. This was our second drive to the summit since we arrived this month. We went back for the second trip to see it because we just got the first snow of the year, it was amazing.
We loved Rainbow Bridge and the views from the bridge of the lake below. Considered one of the most beautiful bridges in California, Rainbow Bridge overlooks Donner Lake just below Donner Summit. The 240-foot bridge was completed in 1926 as part of a general upgrade of the highway leading up from Donner Lake. The concrete span is similar to others built during the 1920s, but Rainbow Bridge is unique in that it has a grade and a compound curve. It wasn't until the early 1930s that the route was plowed of snow during the winter. Once we got back down to lake level, we did a quick stop at Donner State Park and a quickie drive through historic Truckee. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story, check back later for more from Nevada.