The Donner State Memorial Park commemorates the sad fate of the Donner party that crossed the Sierra's in the winter of 1846. A combination of bad advice, bad weather and poor preparation set the stage for a disaster. 48 of the party of 87 survived the winter near the location of the State Park. It is a reminder that the beauty of the mountains comes with real risks from severe weather. The visitor's center tells the story of the Donner Party and shows artifacts from the time and provides some history about the area. Admission is free. The park has 2.5 miles of hiking trails.
Tellingly, the Stephens Party was caught in the same storm, but they were better prepared and found a better location to shelter. They suffered no loss of life. Stevens Creek Blvd in Cupertino (West of San Jose) is named after the Stephens Party.
Donner State Park