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4.5
339 votes

Donner Memorial State Park

12593 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee, California 96161 USA

Closed Now
Opens Mon 6a
  • Independent
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
  • No Wifi
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“more than just the notorious donner party”

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 Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center and at the Pioneer Monument, built to commemorate those who emigrated to California from the east in the mid-1800's. The Visitor Center features compelling new exhibits that tell the stories of the Emigrant Experience, the Donner Party, the Land of the Washoe, Chinese construction of the railroad, and early motoring adventures over Donner Pass. The park encompasses Schallenberger 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. Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center - Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center, 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 in the Visitor Center. Pioneer Monument - Near the Visitor Center is the 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. 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 (closed for the winter), a beach, fishing, and a lakeside interpretive trail that has 18 panels which discuss the natural and cultural resources in the area. 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 leads up to U.S. Forest Service and the Pacific Crest trails beyond the park. Maps are for sale at the Donner Memorial Visitor Center. Fishing - 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 kokanee and planted trout. A fishing license is 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 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.

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Reviews of Donner Memorial State Park

5 people have reviewed this location

Ratings Summary

4.8 Access
5.0 Location
4.6 Cleanliness
4.8 Site Quality
3.8 Noise

Cell Coverage

Verizon 4G/5G

Confirmed by 2 users | Last reported on August 28, 2023

AT&T 4G

Confirmed by 2 users | Last reported on July 23, 2021

T-Mobile 4G

Confirmed by 1 users | Last reported on September 08, 2021
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Reviewed by
RudiOnTheRoad

  • 185 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
September 27, 2017
Rated

Stopped overnight en route to Eastern NV on I85. Lovely shaded campsites most with space for privacy. A few have enough sun for solar. Plenty of empty sites first come first served here in the end of September. Gas and convenience store at exit. Short hike to scenic Donner Lake. You can hear highway from a distance but quiet inside my trailer. I would come back in warmer weather to explore the lake.

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RudiOnTheRoad would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $35.00

Days Stayed: 1

Site Number: 9

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
3 Noise
Photo of Campendium

Reviewed by
Campendium

July 24, 2019
Rated

Super friendly Rangers greeted us and had us in, in 5 min or so. We booked last minute so we had to hop to 2 different sites. The loop 1-50 is the nicest (we had site 14) if you can book it early enough. We also stayed in site 99 which wasn't bad by any stretch. All sites have no hookups and there is no dump station (Like most CA State Parks). Restrooms were pretty clean and showers need quarters. We have a solar panel and a good battery so we were fine for our water pump, a small fan and charging devices the whole stay. AT&T and Verizon were very usable at both sites. Noise is a mixed bag with some people being clueless about their dogs and kids noise level.

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $35.00

Days Stayed: 6

Site Number: 14

5 Access
5 Location
4 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
3 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

AT&T 4G

Reviewed by
abharrison1

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 23, 2021
Rated

Tried and tried to get more than one night but alas, it wasn't meant to be. We are happy to have the one night because it is quite lovely here. Walking distance to a nice swimming area, flush toilets, coin showers, and bear boxes. What more could we want? Hope to return.

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abharrison1 would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $33.00

Days Stayed: 1

Site Number: 38

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
4 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

AT&T 4G

Photo of Campendium

Reviewed by
Campendium

September 08, 2021
Rated

We tend to avoid state parks in favor of smaller campgrounds, but the wildfires this year forced us to change plans last minute. For a large state park, Donner is really nice. The sites are pretty well spaced out, and the campground stretches out over 3 or 4 different sections, giving you the impression that you are staying in a smaller and less crowded area.

We stayed in site #72 (it was one of the only spots left available at the time), and it had decent coverage to the right, but was wide open to the left, and you could see several sites down from there, so not a ton of privacy. Water spigots spread throughout the campground (they are non-threaded, so bring a water bandit if you need to fill your RV water tank), and the bathrooms were clean and working.

Nice hiking around the whole area, and an easy 10-15 minute walk to Donner lake for water activities.

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $35.00

Days Stayed: 2

Site Number: 72

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
4 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

T-Mobile 4G

  • 9 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
August 28, 2023
Rated

Nice state park right next to the Donner Memorial Site and Donner Lake. We were in site 133 which was not the easiest site to get in with a trailer. Rocks, trees and tree trunks make it a challenge but also part of the beauty of the park. We park our truck at an angle in front of the trailer to fit on the site. Sites are closer than what I prefer (I don’t like to see my camping neighbor) however each site is good size and would accommodate a few tents. A freight and passenger railroad track can be seen and heard on a hill high above the campground. Showers require tokens. 1 token for three minutes which can be purchased at the ranger station at the entrance. Although there is a leash rule for dogs not many people were following that rule. We were only a few sites away from a 1.4-mile trail that goes to Donner Lake, or you can drive your car down to the lake day area without any extra fees. There are boat rentals and rafting tours at the lake. The Donner Memorial cabin site and museum is next store and there is no fee, however there is a $10 parking lot fee. We stayed for a week and besides going down to the lake several times we went to Truckee, the Truckee Farmers Market on Tuesday, the Donner Museum, Donner Summit and Lake Tahoe. Would have loved to stay another week.

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roadtripper2346732 would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $35.00

Days Stayed: 7

Site Number: 133

4 Access
5 Location
4 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
4 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 5G

Reviewed by
The Ice's

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
June 22, 2021
Rated 5.0

This is a must stop for the museum if you love history. It will take you about 30 minutes but worth it.

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Donner Memorial State Park

12593 Donner Pass Rd.
Truckee, California
96161 USA
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Hours

Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 7:00 pm

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  • Check
    Parking
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    Pets Allowed
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    Restrooms
  • Unavailable
    Wifi
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    Wheelchair Accessible
  • Unknown
    Credit Cards Accepted
Max Length
24 ft
Affiliation
State park or forest
Last Nightly Rate
35.0
Lowest Nightly Rate
33.0
Longest Vehicle Length Reported
26.0
  • Unavailable
    Laundry
  • Unavailable
    Propane
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    Big Rigs
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    Boondock
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    Firewood
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    Fifty Amp
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    Tent Sites
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    Cabin Sites
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    Full Hookup
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    Paved Sites
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    Dump Station
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    Mobile Homes
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    Public Water
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    Pull Through
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    Reservations
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    Sewer Hookup
  • Unavailable
    Water Hookup
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    Potable Water
  • Unavailable
    Age Restricted
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    Rec Facilities
  • Unavailable
    Dispersed Sites
  • Unavailable
    Open Seasonally
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    Permit Required
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