Donner Memorial State Park

Fire Ban - Campfires and briquette grills are banned on all California State Parks lands in the Sierra District, including Donner Campground. This is due to extreme fire danger and lack of emergency response resources.

Air Quality Impacts - Air quality is currently poor due to wildfire smoke at Donner Memorial State Park, and may degrade. Please be advised if you have health concerns and plan accordingly to avoid Donner Memorial State Park for camping or day use. We are mnitoring the situation and may be required to close the day use area, campground, or fully close the park at any time.
UPDATE (June 22, 2020) - As California State Parks begins working with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved, it is important for visitors to continue to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with people outside their immediate household. Everyone has the responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some guidelines for people visiting Donner Memorial State Park:

What is open now?
Donner Memorial SP is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to active recreation with restrictions in place to encourage social distancing.
  • Day-use parking is now available to the public. Parking is $10.
  • All trail systems are available and active recreation will be permitted.
  • Outdoor restrooms will be available.
  • Campgrounds FOR EXISTING RESERVATIONS and limited Walk-ins starting June 22. For more information about camping, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping. To make a reservation, visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com or call 800-444-7275. Group campsites are not currently available for reservation or walk-in.   
  • Visitor Center during business hours for fee collection, information, restrooms, and gift shop. Limited visitor access to exhibits inside building. Masks are required in public buildings and spaces where physical distancing is not easily maintained.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

Statewide:
  • Many campgrounds across the state remain closed until further notice. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications. For more information, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
  • Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
  • Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
February 11, 2019: Day-use facilities at Donner Memorial State Park are subject to periodic closures due to snow and road conditions. Updates will be posted here. Thank you for your patience and understanding. 

Phone Number

(530) 582-7894

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 24 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 28 Feet

Park Hours

Sunrise to Sunset - Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas,
and New Years Day

Visitor Center (530) 582-7892
Campground Kiosk (530) 582-7894

 

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed on fire roads and trails, and in area known as "East Beach" within the day-use area on the eastern shore of Donner Lake within 200 yards of the Tahoe-Donner Boat Launching Facility. To protect the integrity of the groomed Nordic ski courses, dogs not allowed on designated ski trails within the Sierra District, from Nov. 1 to May 1 annually, when snow is present. The following is a list of the trails covered: The portions of the ski route at Donner Memorial State Park that go through the campground and day-use picnic areas, including the connector road from China Cove to the Splitrock camping loop, from Creek campground to Coldstream Road, and the secondary road known as Emigrant Road adjacent to Coldstream Road (or Haul Road) that begins at the park boundary at the base of Coldstream Canyon, continuing southwest adjacent to Cold Creek, until it rejoins Coldstream Road at the park boundary on the southwest side of Upper Michaels Pond.

Driving Directions to Donner Memorial SP

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.

Camping and Lodging

Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

BOATING
Boating
Boat Rentals
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
Family Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Swimming
Windsurfing/Surfing
Museums
Family Programs
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms / Showers
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available
Wheelchair Accessible

Welcome to the Sierra

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 Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center and at the Pioneer Monument, built to commemorate those who emigrated to California from the east in the mid-1800's.  The Visitor Center features compelling new exhibits that tell the stories of the Emigrant Experience, the Donner Party, the Land of the Washoe, Chinese construction of the railroad, and early motoring adventures over Donner Pass.

The park encompasses Schallenberger 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.
  • Please come and enjoy our new Visitor Center!

    Open 10:00am - 5:00pm everyday.

    To inquire about school programs including Wagons Ho or to make reservations for both guided and self-guided school group tours, please call (530) 582-7892 or send an email to donnermuseum@parks.ca.gov

    Visitor Attractions

    ParkingParking lots are Pay-to-Park. Fees are required to park in the parking lots year-round. Self-registration parking payment envelopes available at kiosk or pay day use parking fee in the Donner Memorial Visitor Center (10:00 am to 5:00 pm). Day Use hours are 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, seven days a week. 

    Peak-Season rates (May 1 - September 30) - $10 per vehicle for the day . Non-Peak-Season rates (October 1 - April 30) - $5 per vehicle for the day.

    Annual passes are available to purchase in Visitor Center.

    Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center - Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center, 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 in the Visitor Center.

    Pioneer Monument - Near the Visitor Center is the Pioneer Monument. Dedicated to the pioneers who crossed the Sierra on their way to the west, it stands on the spot where the Schallenberger, and later the Breen, cabin once stood. California Historical Landmark #134 it was completed on June 6th 1918, and sits atop a 22 foot pedestal and faces westward toward Donner Pass. 

    Day Use - Day Use hours are 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, seven days a week. Day-use area along the lake with picnic tables, restrooms (closed for the winter), a beach, fishing, and a lakeside interpretive trail that has 18 panels which discuss the natural and cultural resources in the area. As of 8/12/2020, no wood or charcoal fires permitted in Day Use, only.

    Camping  - Located at Donner Memorial State Park is a campground of 154 sites, with picnic tables, restrooms (closed for the winter), beach, fishing, and lakeside interpretive trail that has 18 panels which discuss the natural and cultural resources in the area. Due to extreme fire danger, no wood or charcoal fires until further notice. 

    Hiking Trails - The park has over 8 miles (12.9 km) of hiking and over-the-snow 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 Donner Memorial Visitor Center.

    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 kokanee and planted trout. A fishing license is required. (Many fishermen prefer to use the park as a base to visit nearby lakes).

    Public Boat Ramp -  The park does not have a boat launching ramp. A public boat launch 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. 

    Additional Visitor Services
    • Donner Lake Watersports (Water craft and beach rentals)- Currentlly OPEN, (530) 582-1999

    Location - Directions

    The park is located 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.

    Camping Information

    Campground Update as of 9/10/2020

    Ridge Campground            Closed for the 2020 Season 

    Splitrock Campground       Closed for the 2020 Season 

    Creek Campground            Closed for the 2020 Season 

    For camping questions, please call the campground kiosk at (530) 582-7894, daily 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, May thru September.

    For the 2021 Camping Season, reservations can be made online six months to the date of your first day of arrival at, www.reservecalifornia.com or by phone, 1(800) 444-7275.

     ATTENTION FALL SEASON CAMPERS -

    There may be snow or wet ground in many of the campsites. Hiking trails may be covered in snow, especially in shaded, north-facing areas.
    Please come prepared with camping items to help your camping experience - tarps, winter footwear, insulated sleeping pads... Fall season camping in the Sierras is an adventure.

    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.

    Social Feed