Weather Forecasts, Road Conditions, and Weather Radar for I-80 at Donner Pass

Current & 7-day weather forecast, road conditions, and weather radar for I-80 at Donner Pass, between Reno and Sacramento.
All times shown in your local timezone

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Reddit
Share on LinkedIn

Loading map...

Customize your route with the free app

Highway Weather App
Download Highway Weather
road trip weather planning app
Get Highway Weather on the App Store
Get Highway Weather on Google Play

... including targeted forecasts at the time of your arrival to each point!

Road Trip and Weather Conditions for Interstate I-80 at Donner Pass

Interstate I-80 at Donner Pass marks the high point across the Sierra Nevada Mountains between Sacramento, California, and Reno, Nevada. The pass sits at 7,239 feet above sea level, about 9 miles west of Truckee, California. Donner Pass is also known as Donner Summit or Euer Saddle.

This route's eventual notoriety began in the winter of 1846 when a group of settlers attempted to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains in what was called the Donner-Reed Party. The journey was treacherous, and unfortunately, many of the settlers perished along the way.

While still somewhat synonymous with this infamous event in American history, Donner Pass is now an integral connection in the Western United States.

Nowadays, Donner Pass functions as a widely used route in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California along I-80 - the second-longest highway in the United States.

As mentioned, the summit of the pass, Donner Summit, tops out at 7,239 feet (2,203m), so those used to living at sea level may want to be prepared to feel a little different at such a high elevation!

The highway grade on I-80 over Donner Summit varies from 3 percent to 6 percent over a span of 30 miles, so ensuring your vehicle is prepared for the journey is important.

The pass is a popular route for travelers of all kinds wishing to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In fact, nearly 30,000 passenger vehicles make the trip over Donner Pass on a daily basis! It's no surprise since the pass is a popular way to travel between California and Nevada, and is an essential gateway to world-class hiking, skiing, camping and other outdoor activities.

If you're looking to hit the slopes, some of the most popular ski resorts near Donner Pass include Sugar Bowl, Boreal Mountain, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, and The Palisades Tahoe Resort. There are also many cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails in the area for those who want to explore the wilderness in a more low-key way.

Whether you're someone traveling from Sacramento to Reno / Tahoe to hit the slopes, or you're traveling over the pass from the Reno to San Fransisco to enjoy California, be sure to take a moment to enjoy the scenery in the area, as it's truly breathtaking!

Passenger motorists should also be aware that they'll likely encounter many commercial vehicles along the pass, and it's important to be prepared to share the road respectfully. Commercial vehicles can absolutely play a role in I-80 road conditions on Donner Pass, so safety and common courtesy is key for all drivers. On average, about 6,000 or so trucks, cross Donner Summit daily. Those trucks move nearly $5 million a day in freight between California and Nevada.

Of course, no matter your purpose for traveling, and what your ultimate destination may be, it's always important to check the weather and road conditions beforehand if you're planning on traversing Donner Pass.

Donner Pass Weather

Donner Pass in winter can be dangerous and even temporarily closed in some cases. i 80 road conditions on Donner Pass from the month of October all the way through winter and spring can involve snow and ice, and the conditions can change rapidly.

The average annual snowfall is 33 feet, making the area one of the snowiest of the United States. In addition, wind gusts can often exceed 100 mph during storms (and not only in the winter). Blizzard visibility often drops to zero and sub-zero temperatures are not uncommon.

If you're planning on crossing the pass, be sure to check the weather conditions beforehand.

Under partial restrictions, passenger cars may be allowed to pass, but trucks will be halted at Applegate, California in the west, or the Nevada state line in the east.

Chain controls or four-wheel drive vehicles with snow tires are often required in severe winter conditions, and officials won't hesitate to turn ill-equipped vehicles back the other way - so come prepared!

Typically, weather for Donner Pass is pretty straightforward during the summer or early fall, and travel is a little easier. The weather is more stable at these times and the scenery is beautiful. However, checking Donner Pass conditions is still a sensible idea since road work may cause delays at this time of year.

Current Road Conditions for I-80 on Donner Pass

Preparedness on any trip over a pass is important, but as you now know, Donner Pass road conditions can be especially tricky at times.

Be sure to check our map above before heading out over the pass when the conditions may be bad.

This map shows the current & 7-day weather forecast, road conditions, and weather radar for I-80 at Donner Pass.