Donner Memorial SP
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.
April 25, 2011 - News Release
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
- Hours of Operation:
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- Park Office Telephone:
- Available Online Reservation:
Upcoming Weekend: NO
Within 2 Weeks: NOUpdated: 12/12/2013 3:06 PM
Max Camper Length:
28 FeetMax Trailer Length
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Emigrant Trail Museum Hours
10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day, and closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays from September to May.