Interpretive Programs and Events

Weekly Interpretive Programs


Snowshoe Tours depart from the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center every Saturday and Sunday at 11:00AM (weather permiting). Led by Park Interpreters and Docents, tours are 90-minutes (1.5 miles) with short educational stops at exceptional viewpoints including the Pioneer Monument, Murphy Cabin site, and natural features.

*Participants are responsible for bringing their own snowshoes, warm layers, and sun protection.
If snow conditions are not appropriate for snowshoeing, tours may become walking tours. Traction devices on boots may be helpful.



Educational Resources

Park Interpretive Content and Historic References - Donner Docent website

Donner Self-Guided Nature Loop Brochure (.5MB)

Donner Summit Historical Society


Historical Tours

*These tours are offered most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 11am and 1pm, May through mid-November (weather dependant).

Join a 60 minute walking tours led by a local expert on the Donner Party of 1846 and other fascinating aspects of the park! Learn about the arduous overland journeys of California emigrants, Washoe Native American culture, and natural history of the region.

Paddling Tours on Donner Lake

Join a paddle tour led by an experienced raft guide on Donner Lake! Tours last 45-minutes (with 30 minutes of instruction and preparation) over 3/4 miles of lake exploration. Tours are limited to 12 participants per outing. Paddlers must stay in rafts throughout the tour. Participants stay relatively dry throughout the tour, but clothes and shoes have the potential to get wet. First come, first served. There is no cost to participate in this program. 

For detailed information , please visit this page



Junior Rangers

Geared towards ages 7-12, these active 45-minute long programs cover a variety of topics including Washoe Native American culture, fire ecology, and natural history of the region.



Guided Mountain Bike Tours

Enjoy this 10-mile beginner-intermediate ride through beautiful and historic Coldstream Canyon. Led by a park interpreter/park docent, several stops are planned into the ride to share a variety historic stories.

You supply your own bike and helmet.

For detailed information, please visit this page.




Saturday evenings at the Amphitheatre. Programs start the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and go through Labor Day Weekend. Programs change weekly. Check the events calendar for program start times and description of content.

Park Cleanup

Schedule: Spring – Fall

Donate your time to a righteous cause! Become a steward of the park and help with cleanup projects while hiking the beautiful trails. Please bring your own work gloves to reduce single-use plastic waste. We supply trash grabbers, buckets, and gloves if you don't bring your own.


PORTS Virtual Programs

PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students) Program is a FREE distance learning program with California State Parks!

PORTS uses the power of videoconferencing to support K-12 educators in designing deep and meaningful learning experiences in virtual and in-person classrooms.

The Donner Party of 1846: Explore the region where the famous Donner Party spent the tragic winter of 1846 with a California State Park Interpreter. We will highlight the California emigrant experience and other important natural and cultural features of Donner Memorial State Park.

PORTS Home Learning Program - Join our California State Parks Interpretive Specialist to learn about the Donner Party of 1846 in this free, live public broadcast.

PORTS On Demand - Schedule an interactive virtual presentation with your class or group with a California State Parks Interpreter to learn about the Donner Party of 1846.