Donner Memorial RV & Campground Guide


The base of the Pioneer Memorial in Donner Memorial State Park is more than 22 feet off the ground. That's how much snow fell near Truckee Lake during the winter of 1846-1847. That snow trapped a group of 87 pioneers during that winter, and just 48 of them survived. Truckee Lake is now named Donner Lake in honor of those brave pioneers who experienced indescribable suffering during that winter. Today, the park provides exceptional all-season recreation at 6,000 feet above sea level.

Nearby Cities

  • Reno, NV

  • Carson City, NV

  • Truckee, CA

  • Sacramento, CA

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Spring 46-62 F
Summer 72-82 F
Fall 48-73 F
Winter 14-21 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Donner Memorial

Campground Accommodations

Donner Memorial State Park Campground

  • Water hookup: No

  • Electrical hookups: No

  • Sewer hookup: No

  • Wi-Fi: No

  • Pet-friendly: Yes

  • Max RV length: 28 feet, or 24 feet for trailers

  • Other amenities: Fire rings, picnic tables, metal food lockers, restrooms, and communal potable water

Donner Memorial State Park Campground

Donner Memorial State Park Campground is located within the state park. You can choose between the Creek, Ridge, and Splitrock campsites within the park, and you'll be close to Donner Lake. Rates for RVs up to 28 feet start at $35 per night. 

  • Water hookup: No, but tap water is available nearby.

  • Electric hookup: No 

  • Sewer hookup: No

  • Wi-Fi: No

  • Pet-friendly: Pets allowed but must be on a leash when outside. 

  • Other amenities: Dump station is available off-site at Chevron Station. Picnic table and food locker at each site. The restrooms also have hot showers on site.

Truckee River RV Park

Truckee River RV Park is located right on the Truckee River and offers a central location to visit many of the local state parks and ski resorts in the area. It's located just 6 miles away from Truckee and offers whitewater rafting and fishing right at the RV park. Reservations start at $55 a night for 30 amp and $60 a night for 50 amp. At the time of reservation, there will be a $25 deposit to hold your spot. 

  • Water hookup: Yes

  • Electric hookup: Yes

  • Sewer hookup: Yes

  • Wi-Fi: Yes

  • Pet-friendly: Up to two pets allowed

  • Other amenities: Dump station on site along with a general store, shower, laundry, gas station, propane and deli

Coachland RV Park

Coachland RV Park is typically open year-round and is located just north of I-80 and to the east of Truckee. All of Coachland's sites are pull-through and offer a wooded area for guests. Rates start at $65 per night for up to two guests with an extra $5 per night per guest over 16 years old. 

  • Water hookup: Yes

  • Electric hookup: Yes

  • Sewer hookup: Yes

  • Wi-Fi: Yes, and digital cable TV is also included.

  • Pet-friendly: Yes, there is also a 1-acre off-leash dog park on-site for dogs 25 pounds or less.

  • Other amenities: Laundry facilities, picnic area, playground, clubhouse, RV washing area, propane filling station and fish cleaning station

RV Rentals Near Donner Memorial

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Donner Memorial

Children from ages 5 to 13 can participate in the Junior Rangers program. Donner Lake is great for water-based activities, and the nature trail through the park is popular for an easy hike.

The subject matter commemorated by the park is grim, but the park today is lively and family-friendly. One of the hikes you can take is the same path the Donner Party took.

Inside Donner Memorial

Donner Memorial State Park is nestled among a pine forest right in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and this alpine landscape offers a range of historical and recreational activities for all seasons. You can rent equipment such as paddleboards and kayaks at the concession stand during the summer to use on Donner Lake, which is also stocked with trout throughout the year for fishing. The west side of the lake is a roped-off swimming area complete with a beach and picnic area, and additional swimming areas are located at other parts of the lake. Hiking along the Lakeside Interpretive Trail, you'll find exhibits that show the history of the area. Visitors can also enjoy the Emigrant Trail Museum and Pioneer Monument that has information about the natural history of the area, local Native American cultures, and the Donner party.

Hiking Hiking

Within the park itself, there are a total of eight miles of easy nature trails. Outside the park, the section of the Donner Pass Trail is six miles one way and is moderately difficult in clear weather. If you try the trail in winter, then you'll need snowshoes.

Stargazing Stargazing

From the elevation of 6,000 feet, you'll be able to see terrific views of the night sky from clearings. Bring your telescope!

Climbing Climbing

Although there are no vertical traditional or sport climbs in the park, there are 22 bouldering problems that range in difficulty from V0 up to V11.

Flora and Fauna

You can encounter a mountain lion, bear, or coyote in the area, so be sure to keep at least 175 feet from such a predator. Most of the other mammals are small game, such as beavers, squirrels, and rabbits. Flickers, kingfishers, and woodpeckers are three species of birds that you can add to your birding notebooks. The wildflowers in the area include European searocket, spotted suncup, crimson columbine, and one-seeded pussypaws.

Geocaching Geocaching

The geocache in Donner Memorial State Park is dedicated to the members of the Donner Party. It's on one of the nature trails within the park.

Fishing Fishing

The fishing in Donner Lake is tricky, but you can catch kokanee, salmon, trout, and mackinaw. There are stories about mackinaws that weigh up to 25 pounds!


You may use the boat launch on the north end of Donner Lake for a small fee. Boats are limited to 30 feet in length.

Swimming Swimming

Even during the summer, the water of Donner Lake can be quite chilly, so it's a good idea to swim with an insulated wet suit. This is particularly true during the early morning. Goggles are a necessity because of the sediment in the water.

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How to Get to
Donner Memorial

From Sacramento and all points south, drive north on Route 80. Take the South Shore Drive exit, and follow South Shore Drive southwest to Donner Memorial State Park.

From Reno and all points east, drive west on Route 80 until you reach the South Shore Drive exit. Turn southwest on South Shore Drive, which will take you to Donner Memorial State Park.

From Chester and all points north, take Route 89 south until you reach the junction with Route 70 just past Indian Falls. If you reach Paxton, then you have gone too far. On Route 70, proceed southeast until you reach Blairsden. At Blairsden, Route 89 picks up again. Follow that southeast to Route 80. Proceed west on Route 80 to the South Shore Drive exit. On South Shore Drive, go southwest until you reach Donner Memorial State Park.

By Car

Entering Donner Memorial

There is a $10 fee for day-use parking for all types of vehicles at Donner Memorial State Park, except for October 1 until April 30 every year when the fee is just $5 per vehicle for day-use parking.

Donner Memorial Per Vehicle (May - October) : $10.0

Peak season

Donner Memorial Per Vehicle (October - April) : $5.0


We're excited for your upcoming trip to Donner Memorial State Park. The relaxing atmosphere of the area along with its historical significance will make for a memorable stay. Whether you're unpacking your bags back home or want to share during your trip, you can send your photos to us at [email protected]. We may even feature your adventure on a future RVshare blog. We hope that you enjoy your trip!

Frequently Asked Questions About Donner Memorial

What is the best time of year to visit Donner Memorial?

Really, any season is good to visit for different reasons. Although you won't be able to swim during the winter, most likely, you can still snowshoe on the hiking trails. During the summer, the swimming and fishing in Donner Lake are at their peak. You'll be able to photograph many more birds during the fall and spring migrations.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Donner Memorial?

Birds are plentiful, and you'll see species endemic to the Sierra Nevada and nowhere else. These species include the Santa Marta brushfinch, the Santa Marta bush tyrant, and the rusty-headed spinetail. Bears are common, and so are other predators, which is why you must keep all of your food in a locked metal food locker.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Donner Memorial?

Yes, there are 154 RV-specific dry campsites at Donner Memorial State Park.

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at Donner Memorial and what is the cost?

Reservations are not required unless you are going to register for educational programs at the park. Nevertheless, the park is very popular, so reservations are a good idea. The campsites cost $35 per night for one vehicle and $45 a night if you have two vehicles.

Are pets allowed at Donner Memorial?

Pets are welcome, but you must have them on a leash of no more than 6 feet in length if they're outside your vehicle or not in a tent.