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Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum

12593 Donner Pass Road | Truckee, CA 96161 | Official website
Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum Photo info
Courtesy of California State Parks
  • Type: Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
  • Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
Overall Rating: 4.0 (4.2)
Value: 4.5 (4.5)
Facilities: 4.0 (4.0)
Atmosphere: 4.5 (4.5)
About these ratings

The Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum honor one of the darkest moments in American pioneering. Here, you'll find a great stone pedestal commemorating the Donner Party, the legendary pioneers who fell victim to the harsh Sierra Nevada winter in 1846-47. The party (originally consisting of 89 members) was en route to California when their wagon train encountered a severe snow storm. Only 49 pioneers survived (many by resorting to cannibalism). The stone marker near the Emigrant Trail Museum stands 22 feet tall, marking the immense amount of snowfall from that winter.

For more information about the tragic Donner Party, head to the Emigrant Trail Museum. There you'll also find intricate dioramas detailing the history of railroad development in the Sierra Nevada region.

Recent visitors also suggest you spend some time outdoors. The park is home to numerous hiking and snowshoeing trails, or you can swim, boat and fish. One TripAdvisor user writes, "Sparkling blue lake, tall trees, clean restrooms: we keep coming back!"

You'll find the Donner Memorial State Park and the Emigrant Trail Museum sitting about three miles west of Truckee. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and while entry is free, parking costs $6 per day. For more information, visit the Donner Memorial State Park website.

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