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Camping at Ridge Campground

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Donner Memorial State Park, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in northeastern California, is steeped in history and offers beautiful natural scenery. The Ridge Campground is one of several camping opportunities within the park, which also includes historical sites, hiking trails, and a variety of outdoor activities. Here's some essential information if you're planning to camp at Ridge Campground.

Campground Overview

Ridge Campground, specifically, is situated at an elevation that ensures cooler summer temperatures, though nights can still be chilly. Like the rest of Donner Memorial State Park, the campgrounds are well-forested, offering a mix of sun and shade. The campground has multiple sites suitable for tents, RVs, and trailers.

Booking and Availability

Reservations: It's highly recommended to make reservations, especially during peak summer months when campsites can be in high demand. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance through the California State Parks reservation system or by using a third-party booking website that is linked to the park’s official page.

Capacity: Each campsite typically allows up to six people, and there is often a limit of two vehicles per site.

Campsite Amenities

  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings: Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring with a grill.

  • Restrooms: Flush toilets and coin-operated showers are available.

  • Water: Potable water spigots are located throughout the campground.

  • Food Storage: Bear-proof food lockers are provided at each campsite to protect your food from wildlife and to keep the animals safe.

Activities and Attractions

  • Hiking: Trails in the area offer a range of difficulty levels, including the interpretive nature trail around the lake.

  • Fishing: Donner Lake is known for trout fishing, and there is a public boat ramp available for those who wish to fish from the water.

  • Winter Sports: During the winter, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

  • Historical Sites: Visit the Donner Memorial and the Emigrant Trail Museum to learn about the Donner Party's tragic journey.

Regulations and Safety

  • Wildlife: Proper food storage is crucial as the area is home to black bears and other wildlife.

  • Campfires: Fires are allowed only in provided fire rings and may be restricted during high fire danger periods.

  • Pets: Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash in campgrounds and day-use areas.

  • Quiet Hours: Quiet hours are typically enforced to ensure a peaceful environment for all campers.

Fees and Passes

Camping Fees: Fees for camping vary depending on the type of site and amenities offered. Check the latest rates on the park's official website or through the reservation system.

Entrance Fees: There may be a day-use fee required for entering Donner Memorial State Park, which is separate from the camping fees.


ADA Access: Some campsites are designated as accessible for individuals with disabilities, featuring modifications such as raised fire rings and accessible picnic tables. Always verify the availability of these sites when making a reservation.

Weather and Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit will depend on what you're looking to do. Summer months are best for hiking and lake activities, while winter offers snow sports. The campground is typically open from late spring through the fall, but it's always a good idea to check current conditions and forecasts before setting out, as mountain weather can be unpredictable and change rapidly.

Directions and Contact Information

For detailed directions to Donner Memorial State Park, it is best to check the park's official website or contact the park directly for the most current information and advisories. The park can typically be reached at:

Address: 12593 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161
Phone: (530) 582-7892


Ridge Campground in Donner Memorial State Park offers an excellent base to explore the natural beauty and historical significance of the area. By preparing adequately, following the regulations, and making reservations in advance, your camping experience in this California state park can be both enriching and enjoyable. Remember to leave no trace and keep the park pristine for future visitors.

Location of Ridge Campground
Other Campgrounds in Donner Memorial State Park
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