History buffs, campers, cyclists, hikers and those who love their water sports will find Donner Memorial State Park the perfect place for either a visit or an extended stay. The Donner name may not ring a bell for those who didn’t excel in their Western United States history class, but throw in the word “cannibalism” and the story of the snow-stranded emigrants and their ill-fated wagon train in the winter of 1846–47 probably helps the memory. One part of the forlorn pioneer group made camp near Donner Lake, now site of the state park, and allegedly ate their dead comrades after their provisions ran out during record-breaking snowfall. Now visitors can go to Donner Memorial State Park and check out the new $6.6 million visitor center/museum that chronicles the Donner Party and the human and natural history of the region. During summer season the park has 42 spaces for car, RV and tent camping. There is also a concessionaire renting water-sport toys from kayaks and SUPs to two-seater personal watercraft. Being a state park in the Sierra, everything is surrounded by beautiful pines and plenty of hiking and biking in adjacent Cold Stream Canyon and swimming in the kid-friendly canal and China Cove. Depending on snowfall, a cross-country ski trail is groomed through the park, which is also a great place for snowshoeing.
12593 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA