Visiting The Donner Party sites

by Matthew D. Wittmer
Last updated June 2016

In December of 2014 I first visited Donner Memorial State Park in northern California on a trip to Lake Tahoe. For the coming months I read up on the Donner Party expedition of 1846 and in March of 2015 my dad and I took a driving trip from Utah westward over to “Truckee Lake” (later named Donner Lake) to revisit the cabin sites and areas where the families in that party had been stranded in the winter storm 1846. The photos below are from those trips and are in reverse chronological order.


Breen, Patrick and Frederick J. Teggart, ed. Diary of Patrick Breen. Silverthorne, Colorado: Vistabooks. 1996. Print.

Burns, Ric, dir. The Donner Party. PBS. WGBH Educational Foundation. 2000. DVD.

Donner Houghton, Eliza P. The Expedition of the Donner Party and its Tragic Fate. Bison Books. 1997 reprint of 1911 release. Print.

Graydon, Charles K. Trail of the First Wagons Over the Sierra Nevada (A Guide). Tucson, Arizona: Patrice Press. 1988. Print.

Hale, Nathan. Donner Dinner Party. New York: Amulet Books. 2013. Print.

Hardesty, Donald L. The Archaeology of the Donner Party. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press. 1997. Print.

Hastings, Lansford W. The Emigrants Guide to Oregon and California, containing Scenes and Incidents of a Party of Oregon Emigrants. Library of Congress. 1845. Print.

Johnson, Kristin, ed. Unfortunate Emigrants: Narratives of the Donner Party. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press. 1996. Print.

King, Joseph A. Winter of Entrapment: A New Look at the Donner Party. Toronto: P.D. Meany Company, Inc. 1992. Print.

Longest Winter: The Donner Party Story. Sierra State Parks: Donner State Memorial Park. 1982. DVD.

Maino, Jeannette Gould. Left Hand Turn: A Story of the Donner Party Women. Modesto, California: Dry Creek Books. 1987. Print.

McLaughlin, Mark. The Donner Party: Weathering the Storm. Carnelian Bay, California: Mic Mac Publishing. 2007. Print.

Mullen Jr., Frank. The Donner Party Chronicles: A Day-by-Day Account of a Doomed Wagon Train 1846-1847. Nevada: Halcyon. 1997. Print.

Murphy, Virginia Reed. Across the Plains in the Donner Party: A Personal Narrative of the Overland Trip to California 1846-47. Silverthorne, Colorado: Vistabooks. 2010. Print.

Rarick, Ethan. Desperate Passage: The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey West. Grand Haven, Michigan: Brilliance Audio. 2009. CD.

Steed, Jack and Richard. The Donner Party Rescue Site: Johnson’s Ranch on Bear River. Fresno, Californian: Pioneer Publishing Co. 1988. Print.

Thornton, J. Quinn. Camp of Death: The Donner Party Mountain Camp 1846-47. Silverthorne, Colorado: Vistabooks. 1996. Print.