Donner Memorial SP

State Park

Camping Information

Campsites are $35 per night; a map of the campground is available by clicking the maps/brochures icon at the right of this page

Located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada, Donner Memorial State Park offers the summer vacationer opportunities for camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, water-skiing, and hiking.  In winter, visitors can cross-country ski and snowshoe on trails and enjoy the season's beauty.  Visitors are welcome year-round at the Emigrant Trail Museum and at the Pioneer Monument, built to commemorate those who emigrated to California from the east in the mid-1800's.  Included in the museum are displays and information about one of the earliest pioneer wagon trains, the Donner Party, forced by circumstances to camp at the east end of Donner Lake in the winter of 1846-47, resulting in human suffering and loss of life.

The park encompasses Scallenberger Ridge to the south of Donner Lake. In and around the park you can see some of the Sierra Nevada's geologic history:

  • The granite that rose within the crust of the earth in enormous bubbles, then cooled and hardened, to be exposed by erosion.
  • The older sedimentary rocks, transformed by temperature and pressure.
  • The Sierra's steep eastern face, created when gigantic upheavals tilted a section of the earth's crust.
  • The glaciers that dominated the area a few thousand years ago have left huge boulders and debris that remained when the ice melted.
  • Location - Directions

    The park is 100 miles east of Sacramento via Interstate 80, and is within the town of Truckee,  just west of downtown on the south side of the freeway.

    Seasons/Climate Recommended Clothing

    Summer temperatures range from about 75 degrees during the day to the low 40s at night, and winter temperatures average from a high of 40 to a low of 20 degrees.

    Food Storage Locker Information
    Metal bear-resistant food lockers are provided in each campsite. All food, beverages, and toiletries are required by law to be stored in provided food lockers. The inside dimensions of the food lockers are 36" deep, 43" wide, and 28" high. Violators will be cited.

    Visitor Attractions

    Public Boat Ramp
    While the park has no boat launching ramp, a public ramp operated by the Truckee Donner Recreation & Parks District is available in the northwest corner of Donner Lake. There is a fee charged for boat launching. For information call (530) 582-7720. The lake is open to both power and sail boats.

    Fishing
    The park has over three miles of frontage on Donner Lake and Donner Creek. Although the fishing is not usually spectacular, the lake has some native kokanee and planted trout. A fishing license is required. (Many fisherment prefer to use the park as a base to visit nearby lakes).

    Hiking Trails

    The park has about 2.5 miles (4 km.) of hiking trails.  Park property in Coldstream Canyon to the south contains the alignment of the primary Emigrant Trail, which leads up to U.S. Forest Service and the Pacific Crest trails beyond the park.  Maps are for sale at the Emigrant Trail Museum.

    Camping and Day Use
    Located at Donner Memorial State Park is a campground of 154 sites and a day-use area along the lake with picnic tables, restrooms, a beach, fishing, and a lakeside interpretive trail that has 18 panels which discuss the natural and cultural resources in the area.

    Emigrant Trail Museum

    The Emigrant Trail Museum, located at Donner Memorial State Park, takes about 1 hour to visit.  It depicts the history of the area and the people who came into this part of the Sierra, including local Native Americans, the Donner Party, and builders of the transcontinental railroad.  Postcards, posters, maps, and books about the human and natural history of the area are for sale at the museum.

    Pioneer Monument
    Near the museum is the Pioneer Monument and the Donner Party's Murphy family cabin site. Also starting at the museum is a self-guiding nature trail which is a one half mile loop. Nature trail guides are available at the museum and campground entrance station. Staff-led hikes, special feature shows, and campfires start in late June. Hikes, ranging from 1 - 2 hours, start at the museum at 10:00 a.m.

    ·Park Information

    • Hours of Operation:

      Call the park

      Emigrant Trail Museum Hours
      10:00 am to 5:00 pm
      Museum is open 7 days a week
      Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas,
      and New Years Day

    • Park Office Telephone:

      (530) 582-7892

    • Region

      High Sierra

      County

      Nevada

    • Max Camper Length:

      28 Feet

      Max Trailer Length

      24 Feet

    • Purchase Annual Passes

    Telephone

    530-582-7892

    Operating Hours

    Call the park

    Emigrant Trail Museum Hours
    10:00 am to 5:00 pm
    Museum is open 7 days a week
    Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas,
    and New Year's Day