Nestled within the striking Sierra Nevada, Donner Memorial State Park is open to the public all year long. The park stretches from the southern end of Donner Lake to Schallenberger Ridge, and highlights the incredible local geology and History of the diverse, beautiful region of Lake Tahoe through facilities like the Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum and more. Continue reading on below for further details on what makes Donner Memorial State Park and the Emigrant Trail Museum a must-do during your time in Lake Tahoe!
What You Can Expect from These Fantastic Attractions
As previously mentioned, Donner Memorial State Park is home to a number of fascinating attractions beyond its natural environment. The Visitor Center has exhibits on the native tribe that once lived around Lake Tahoe, known as the Washoe, as well as exhibits on the Donner Party, the Chinese immigrants who constructed the railroads, and the early pioneering efforts of the emigrants who travelled through the area on their way to fortune in California during the mid-1800s.
The Emigrant Trail Museum delves even further into the history of the region, dedicating its exhibits to the same subject matters as the Visitor Center exhibits with the addition of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience what pioneer life was like here. Nearby, the site of Donner Party’s Murphy Family cabin can be visited, as well as the Pioneer Monument, which portrays snowfall conditions during the year that the Donner Party encountered their terrible fate. The Emigrant Trail Museum also has an accompanying nature trail, through which visitors can embark on self-guided tours on the half-mile loop.
Donner Memorial State Park is a popular place for picnicking, fishing, boating, hiking, and waterskiing during the summer months. In the winter, the trails are open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. As you explore the park, you can witness the geological history of the Sierra Nevada through giant upheavals of the earth’s crust, and enormous boulders and debris left by the melting of glaciers.