Destination guide

Climb high or dive low at Donner Lake

Boasting sunshine and snow in equal measure, Donner Lake has everything you could ask for on a holiday, in whichever season you choose to visit. This 3-mile-long freshwater lake is flanked by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, whose snow-covered ridges and peaks make a beautiful backdrop for a winter break. In summer, it’s a haven for water sports and hiking, and its beaches and forests offer plenty of picnicking opportunities. Book a Donner Lake vacation rental close to the waterfront and enjoy action-packed days and peaceful nights at this family-friendly resort.

Things to do

Step back into Donner Lake's fascinating past

The lake is named after the ill-fated Donner Party expedition in 1846, and you can find out more at the Emigrant Trail Museum, open year-round and located in the Donner Memorial State Park. The park, which wraps around the eastern and southern shores of the lake, also gives access to some of the lake’s public beaches, as well as picnic areas, playgrounds, and hiking and biking paths. Make time to visit the Pioneer Monument, which stands at a height of 22 feet, said to be the depth the snow reached when the Donner Party became trapped in the mountains.

Activities

It's all happening over at Donner Lake

You’ll find it hard to stay out of the water during the summer months, with jet skiing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and scuba diving among the many lakeside activities on offer. In winter, there are many cross-country skiing trails to discover, and you’re just 4 miles from the Sugar Bowl Resort for great powder. Donner Lake is also home to some of the state’s biggest lake trout, which come up to the surface during spring and fall, making fishing a popular pastime at these times. Horseback riding and golf are also available nearby.

Weather

Peak perfection at Donner Lake

With hot summers and snow-covered winters, Donner Lake is truly a year-round resort. Just decide if you’re traveling here for water sports or winter sports when you book your Donner Lake vacation rental. Temperatures soar into the 80s during July and August, but the fresh mountain air stops it getting too humid, making it a very popular time to visit. In winter, the lake has been known to freeze over, and as for the white stuff, the ski season here is long, with snow falling from November until well into March.

Natural features

Water, water, all around...

Situated on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, in the Tahoe National Forest, Donner Lake was formed by a combination of faulting and glacial action, and there are examples of glacial polishing on the granite at Donner Summit. You’ll be surrounded by magnificent flora and fauna at your waterfront Donner Lake vacation rental, and there’s plenty of aquatic life too. As well as lake trout you’ll find rainbow and brown trout, and kokanee salmon, in the glistening waters, which are around 300 feet at their deepest point.

Where to stay around Donner Lake?

Our 2019 property listings offer a large selection of 1,984 vacation rentals near Donner Lake. From 209 Cabins to 1,004 Houses, find a unique house rental for you to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. The best places to stay near Donner Lake for a holiday or a weekend are on HomeAway.

What are the most popular destinations to visit in Donner Lake?

There are many lovely places to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Donner Lake. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular destinations to visit are:

  • Lake Tahoe: 6,540 vacation rentals
  • Reno: 149 vacation rentals
  • Incline Village: 2,172 vacation rentals
  • Tahoe City: 2,998 vacation rentals
  • Northstar California Resort: 617 vacation rentals

And HomeAway offers you the chance to discover many other popular destinations in Donner Lake! Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available in other popular destinations.

What are the main cities to discover in Donner Lake?

Whether you're traveling with family or friends, here are the cities with the largest selection of vacation rentals for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Donner Lake:

  • Reno: 149 rentals
  • Incline Village: 2,172 rentals
  • Tahoe City: 2,998 rentals
  • Kings Beach: 3,146 rentals
  • Olympic Valley: 2,951 rentals

For other cities, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

Near which points of interest can I spend my holidays in Donner Lake?

HomeAway offers a large selection of rentals near lovely places in Donner Lake. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Resort at Squaw Creek Golf Course: 4,272 rentals
  • North Lake Tahoe Visitors and Convention Bureau: 4,158 rentals
  • Tahoe City Marina: 5,726 rentals
  • Tahoe Donner Golf Course: 3,944 rentals
  • Sugar Pine State Park: 5,269 rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Donner Lake listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Just write your wanted destination in our search bar and have a look at our selection.

Explore destinations around Donner Lake

Reno
149 vacation rentals
Incline Village
2,172 vacation rentals
Tahoe City
2,998 vacation rentals
Kings Beach
3,146 vacation rentals
Olympic Valley
2,951 vacation rentals
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