Donner Memorial State Park

Quick Facts

Donner Memorial State Park

California

(530) 582-7892

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

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-1800s. 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.

Map of Donner Memorial (CA)

Latitude, Longitude: 39.324256, -120.230812

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Activities

  • Boating

    There is no boat launching ramp in the park, but a public ramp is available in the northwest corner of Donner Lake. The lake is open to both power and sail boats..

  • Camping

    The 154-site campground is usually open from Memorial Day until mid-September. Each campsite has a table and stove, as well as a parking space. Restrooms with hot showers are nearby. Some of the campsites will accommodate trailers or motorhomes up to 24 feet long. There are no hookups available. Reservations for family campsites can be made up to seven months in advance by calling (800) 444-7275 or at Donner Memorial State Park offices. Reservations are strongly advised from mid-June through Labor Day.

  • Fishing

    The park has more than three miles of frontage on Donner Lake and Donner Creek. Fishing is not spectacular, though the lake is planted periodically with catchable trout, and both trout and kokanee are sometimes caught. A valid sport fishing license is required. Many fishermen prefer to use the park as a base to visit nearby lakes.

  • Hiking

    The park has about two and a half miles of hiking trails, and there are excellent trail opportunities in the neighboring Tahoe National Forest. Hiking information is available at the trail museum. Feel free to call Donner Memorial State Park offices for trail updates.

  • Historic Sites

    The museum was completed in 1962 after 15 years of effort by local citizens, park staff and legislators. Open all year, the museum includes exhibits about the natural history of the Truckee Basin, local Native American life, the overland immigration of the 1840s, the Donner tragedy, construction of the transcontinental railroad, lumbering and ice harvesting. The museum store features books on the Donner Party and Emigrant Trail, local natural history and recreation and related items.

  • Picnicking

    The picnic area is located near the lake and includes picnic tables, restrooms and piped drinking water. A sandy beach and walking trails are nearby.

  • Water Sports

    A sandy beach is located near the picnic area. Swimming in the lake can be extremely attractive during hot summer day.

  • Winter Sports

    Visitors are welcome to cross-country ski or snowshoe the trails during winter.

Seasonality/Weather

Summer temperatures range from about 75 F during the day to the low 40s at night, and winter temperatures average from a high of 40 to a low of 20 F. Layering is highly encouraged.

Park Partners

Sierra State Parks Foundation

SSPF funds enable park staff to educate, interpret (explain the ecosystem and history), restore and preserve the precious parks.

(530) 525-9460

Directions

Driving

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.

Flying

The closest major airport to Donner Memorial State Park is Reno-Tahoe International Airport, approximately 25 miles away; from there, car rental options from Alamo to National are available. For further information, call 775-328-6400.

Public Transportation

Truckee-North Tahoe Regional Transit offers bus routes throughout the Northern Lake Tahoe region during three seasonal shifts. For more information, call 530-581-3922.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(530) 582-7892

Campground reservations

(800) 444-7275

Links