Donner Memorial State Park

Update (March 17, 2021): With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • Donner Memorial State Park is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. with COVID-19 guidelines in place.
  • Day-use parking is now available to the public. Parking is $10.
  • All trail systems are available and active recreation will be permitted.
  • Visitor Center during business hours for fee collection, information, restrooms, and gift shop. No exhibit access 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?
At this park:
  • Campgrounds
Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials 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. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(530) 582-7894

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: Up to 24 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: Up to 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 are allowed on the Lakeside Interpretive Trail, Zig Zag Trail, fire roads, and along the shore of Donner Lake except for China Cove Beach. Dogs must always remain on a six-foot (maximum) leash. Dogs are not allowed in the visitor center, on the half-mile Nature Trail, or China Cove Beach. Dogs are not allowed on designated ski trails when snow is present.

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 Nevada Mountains

Donner Memorial State Park is located in the scenic the Sierra Nevada mountain range at an elevation of about 6,000 feet.

This legendary alpine park offers summer camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, water-skiing, and hiking. During winter, visitors can cross-country ski, snowshoe on trails, and play in the snow. Visitors are welcome year-round to visit the famous Pioneer Monument, built to commemorate the California emigrants traveling west during the mid-1800's.

The Visitor Center features compelling exhibits that illuminate the Emigrant Experience, the Donner Party, the Land of the Washoe, Chinese construction of the railroad, and early motoring adventures over Donner Pass.

Welcome to the 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

Parking: Fees are required to park in the parking lots year-round. You may pay for parking in the Donner Memorial Visitor Center (10am-5pm) or self-register your parking payment using envelopes at the entrance kiosk. Day Use hours are 7am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Rates: 

May 1 - September 30: $10 per vehicle for the day.

October 1 - April 30: $5 per vehicle.

Annual passes are available to purchase in Visitor Center.

Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center: Explore 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. Visitors can expect to spend about one hour exploring exhibits. Postcards, posters, maps, and books about the human and natural history of the area are for sale in the Visitor Center.

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 during the winter), a beach, fishing, and a lakeside interpretive trail featuring panels focusing on the natural and cultural resources in the area.

Camping: The Donner Memorial State Park campground offers 154 sites with picnic tables, restrooms (closed during the winter), beach, fishing, and lakeside interpretive trail. 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 connects to U.S. Forest Service trails and the Pacific Crest Trail. Brochure maps are available online and at the Donner Memorial Visitor Center.

Fishing: The park has over two miles of frontage on Donner Lake and Donner Creek. Although the fishing is not usually spectacular, the lake has kokanee and planted trout. Fishing licenses are 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 for a fee, in the northwest corner of Donner Lake. 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)- Currently CLOSED for the season, (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.

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.

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