The Feather River Route has one fundamental advantage over the Donner Pass Route... Elevation. The Feather River Canyon cuts through rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains, providing the lowest passage possible for trains. While the Donner Pass Route soars to over 7,000' near the summit, the highest point of the Feather River Route is at Beckwourth Pass (5,200'). Why is this important? The lower elevation means less snow. While Donner Pass is typically hammered by feet of snow each season, trains in the Feather River Canyon can duck below the snow line. In this photo, Union Pacific 8169 passes the 2,000' elevation mark as it heads down the Feather River Canyon. In the distance, 5,000'+ mountains are covered with fresh snow.
California has some of the best mountain scenes in America. The photos in this album will include images from Donner Pass and the Feather River Canyon, which will show how Union Pacific really is the “Pride of the Sierras”.