“...inexpressibly comprehensive, grand, and picturesque. After congratulating ourselves upon the safe achievement of our morning feat, and breathing our mules a few minutes, we proceeded on our journey. A mile brought us to a small dimple on top of the mountain, in the centre of which is a miniature lake, surrounded by green grass.”

from What I saw in California by Edwin Bryant in 1849 upon reaching Donner Summit
Donner Summit is grand and unique and the Donner Summit Historical Society has embarked on a project to highlight the history and beauty of the Summit.

The 20 mile museum will initially consist of twenty-eight interpretive signs placed on private commercial property and along Old Highway 40 from the Eagle Lakes exit to over the Summit and below Rainbow Bridge. Each sign highlights the history of the location, displays historical photographs and quotes, tells a good story, and lists activities for that location.

Not only do the signs share and so highlight the unique history of the Summit but through the listed activities, they share the beauty of Donner Summit, encourage visitation, and help revitalize the Summit economy which has been on a down hill slide for decades

The project will also include a booklet listing all of the signs along with additional locations and historical information and stories. Eventually, over subsequent years, the project will grow to include a dozen or more additional signs.

The project has met with overwhelming community approval and support. Each sign, for example, is sponsored by local businesses and individuals who are paying for the construction and placement of the signs in the summer of 2010. Some of the participating businesses and organizations are: The Summit Restaurant, Royal Gorge, Soda Springs Store, Sugar Bowl, Boreal, Soda Springs Ski Area, Donner Spitz, Clair Tappaan, Donner Summit Area Association, and the Serene Lakes Property Owners' Association.

Using the table at right you can open any of the signs you would like to look up as a PDF on your desktop. The actual signs are two feet square. The PDF's however have been reduced in size and resolution to enable easy uploading, just large enough to read and enjoy the photographs. If you would like to sponsor a future sign, contact the webmaster and download the PDF form.

20 Mile Museum Overview graphic
20 Mile Museum Signs
Red Mountain
Meadow Lake
View of the Lincoln Highway
Big Bend
Rainbow Lodge/Tavern
Donner Summit Lodge
Soda Springs Store
Soda Springs Hotel
Ice Lakes
Pahatsi Wagon Train Route
Soda Springs Ski Area
Summit Valley Overlook
Cal & Heidelman Lodges (in progress)
Hutchinson Lodge
Clair Tappaan Lodge
Sugar Bowl
Roller Pass Wagon Train Route
Transcontinental Railroad
Norden Station
Mt. Lincoln Charlie Chaplin Gold Rush
Magic Carpet
Lodge at Sugar Bowl
Donner Ski Ranch
Sugar Bowl Academy Building
Tunnel 6
Donner Lake Overlook
Rainbow Bridge
China Wall
Future Signs:
Cisco Grove stone buildings
Mt. Donner
Mt. Judah
Mt. Stephens
Overview of the project
Sponsor Form - PDF
20 Mile Museum Sign Plan and sign design