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Gold Country & High Sierra Region
Donner Memorial State Park
Donner Memorial State Park © Gary OToole
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Valley Quail
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12593 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, California   96161

Phone: 530-582-7894
Reservations: 530-582-7892
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.

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.

History of the Area
The park was established in 1928 to commemorate the ill-fated Donner Party of pioneers. The party became trapped by snow during their journey westward on Oregon Trail in winter 1846-47 leading to a tragic loss of life due to starvation and exposure.

The Emigrant Trail Museum opened within its boundaries in 1962, providing historical context about this event and other aspects of pioneer history. In addition, it also commemorates Native American heritage as well as Chinese immigrants who contributed significantly towards building railroads across Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In recent years efforts have been made for better preservation with an updated visitor center opening up at site's entrance back in June 2015.

 Hiking Trailyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
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.
Donner Memorial State Park offers a beach area on Donner Lake for swimming during warmer months. No lifeguards are present. Cold water temperatures can occur, so swimmers should exercise caution and be prepared for chilly conditions. Swimming is at one's own risk; safety measures like life jackets are recommended.
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. Fishing is not usually spectacular, though there are trout and kokanee in the lake. The lake is planted with trout and a fishing license is required. Many fishermen prefer to use the park as a base to visit nearby lakes.

Donner Memorial State Park is located near Reno, Truckee

Donner Memorial State Park offers scenic picnic areas with tables and BBQ grills overlooking Donner Lake and surrounding mountains.
When considering bicycling in the area, it's important to stay alert for shared-use paths and respect all trail users. The park offers a multi-use paved bike path that runs along Donner Lake. Be mindful of pedestrians and occasional wildlife when cycling on this scenic route.

For mountain biking enthusiasts, there are nearby trails outside the park boundaries; however, always check current conditions before setting out as terrain can be challenging. It is crucial to wear appropriate safety gear and have a well-maintained bicycle ready for varying surfaces.

Please note that some areas may restrict bicycles altogether or during certain seasons due to environmental concerns or maintenance activities-always adhere to posted signs regarding access restrictions.

Lastly, while enjoying your ride remember you're sharing these spaces with nature; proceed cautiously so as not only ensure personal safety but also protect local habitats.
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.
Area Attractions
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.

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Area Campgrounds
Coachland RV Park
10100 Pioneer Trail
Truckee, CA
Base Camp Deli & RV Park
10068 Hirschdale Road
Truckee, CA
Nearby Hotels

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.

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California State Parks