Walking Through Donner Summit History
by Bill Oudegeest
Reviewed By George Lamson
As our newest local author, Bill Oudegeest is fond of saying, “Donner Summit is the most historic square mile in California”. Well, Bill has made exploring that square mile possible for all of us in his new book “Walking Through Donner Summit History”. Bill’s philosophy on history is that is something to be experienced personally and not for the dusty museum shelves. This is the philosophy that gave birth to the Donner Summit Historical Society’s 20 Mile Museum driving tour. Now Bill provides us with a walking guide to the Summit area that brings the history to life. There are 9 walks and 1 longer hike that take you to every part of the Summit. Not only does it take you there, but the wonderful vintage photos show you what it was like when history was being made. The human experience is there too in the local stories, newspaper clippings and personal quotes that are included throughout the book.
This book is for everyone that enjoys the Summit area and has a natural curiosity for those that came before us. It gives you the opportunity to not only get out and enjoy the beautiful Summit area as it is today, but understand how it came to be this way.
The book is available through a number of venues. The easiest way to get the book is online at the Donner Summit Historical Society webpage at
You can also stop by the Historical Society museum at the corner of Donner Pass and Soda Springs Rd. If you are visiting the Donner State Park visitor center, it is also available and it will soon be on the shelves at the bookstore in Truckee. You can’t beat the price of $25 considering the hours of adventure it provides.