Donner Memorial State Park
is a US state park located near Truckee, California. The park is named after the ill-fated
Party, and contains the Emigrant Trail Museum and the
Pioneer Monument dedicated to them.
site at Alder Creek, where the Donner families were
trapped by weather during the winter of 1846–1847, has been
designated a National
. Caught without shelter or adequate supplies,
members of the group resorted to cannibalism
also has of hiking trails, campgrounds, and of lake frontage on
Emigrant Trail Museum
The Emigrant Trail Museum
contains exhibits about
the cultural history of the area, including local Native Americans,
the Donner Party, and builders of the transcontinental railroad.
Near the museum is the Pioneer Monument
Donner Party's Murphy family cabin site. Park staff offer hikes,
special presentations and campfires by the museum.
The plaque on the front of the Pioneer Statue reads:
VIRILE TO RISK AND FIND; KINDLY WITHAL AND A READY
FACING THE BRUNT OF FATE;
The plaque on the rear of the Pioneer Statue reads:
NEAR THIS SPOT STOOD THE BREEN CABIN OF THE PARTY OF
EMIGRANTS WHO STARTED FOR CALIFORNIA FROM SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, IN
APRIL 1846, UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF CAPTAIN GEORGE
DELAYS OCCURRED AND WHEN THE PARTY REACHED THIS
LOCALITY, ON OCTOBER 29, THE TRUCKEE PASS EMIGRANT ROAD WAS
CONCEALED BY SNOW.
THE HEIGHT OF THE SHAFT OF THE MONUMENT INDICATES THE
DEPTH OF THE SNOW, WHICH WAS TWENTY-TWO FEET.
AFTER FUTILE EFFORTS TO CROSS THE SUMMIT THE PARTY WAS
COMPELLED TO ENCAMP FOR THE WINTER.
THE GRAVES CABIN WAS SITUATED ABOUT THREE-QUARTERS OF A
MILE TO THE EASTWARD, THE MURPHY CABIN ABOUT TWO HUNDRED YARDS
SOUTHWEST OF THE MONUMENT, AND THE DONNER TENTS WERE AT THE HEAD OF
NINETY PEOPLE WERE IN THE PARTY AND FORTY-TWO PERISHED,
MOST OF THEM FROM STARVATION AND EXPOSURE.
IN COMMEMMORATION OF THE PIONEERS WHO CROSSED THE
PLAINS TO SETTLE IN CALIFORNIA.
MONUMENT ERECTED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NATIVE SONS
AND THE NATIVE DAUGHTERS OF THE GOLDEN WEST.
MONUMENT DEDICATED JUNE 6, 1918
A view of the state park
From the museum a trail leads about to the large granite boulder
against which was built the cabin that
sheltered members of the Murphy, Pike, Foster, and Eddy families
during the winter of 1846–47. A plaque on the boulder's face reads:
THE FACE OF THIS ROCK FORMED THE NORTH END AND THE
FIREPLACE OF THE MURPHY CABIN.
GENERAL STEPHEN W.
KEARNY, ON JUNE 22, 1847, BURIED UNDER THE MIDDLE OF
THE CABIN THE BODIES FOUND IN THE VICINITY.
FOLLOWING IS A COMPLETE LIST OF THE MEMBERS OF THE
DONNER PARTY WHO OCCUPIED THE VARIOUS CABINS AND
This is followed by a list of the members of the Donner Party,
divided into "Survived" and "Perished." (Some of the information on
this plaque is inaccurate, however.)
The Moses Schallenberger
SCHALLENBERGER CABIN SITE \ Near this spot stood a
small cabin built by 18-year-old Moses Schallenberger and two other
They were members of the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy
Party of 1844, the first pioneers to take wagons over the
Sierra Nevada, opening the Truckee Route of the California
The three men had volunteered to remain behind and
guard six of the wagons left here by the main party.
\ Due to extreme winter weather conditions and lack of
food, the three men agreed to separate.
The two older men rejoined the wagon party, but due to
his weakened physical condition, Moses Schallenberger chose to
remain at th cabin.
The young man survived for nearly three months alone in
the small cabin during the winter of 1844–45 before being
His cabin would later provide shelter for the Breen
family, members of the ill-fated Donner Party, who were stranded
here in 1846–47.
\ The courage and resolution of Moses Schallenberger
during his solitary winter ordeal in this cabin makes him one of
the true heroes in the saga of the California Trail.
\ Dedicated August 19, 1995 \ Nevada County Historical
Landmarks Commission \ Calif. Dept. of Parks and Recreation \
Nev-01-95 \ This monument was made possible through the generosity
of many groups and individuals committed to the preservation of the