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The Arts, Culture & History

Historical Sites, Museums & Storytellers

Historical Sites, Museums

Truckee is a place rich in history with a quaint downtown filled with charming shops and superb restaurants set in authentic historic buildings. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Truckee proudly retains its historic roots. Named for a Paiute Indian chief who helped guide thousands of emigrants in their westward journey. Truckee is well known for its logging, ice manufacturing, the Emigrant Trail, as well as for the tragic journey of the Donner Party. You can discover much more about their captivating story at Donner Memorial State Park museum and Pioneer Monument.

Roadside History Markers

Along Old Highway 40, also known as the Lincoln Highway,  you will find historical markers telling the story of this famous gateway to the west. Known as Donner Summit Scenic Old High 40 Bypass, the markers extend from Cisco Grove to Donner Lake. Learn More

Truckee Donner Historical Society

Truckee-Donner Historical Society was founded July 24, 1968 to preserve the history of the Truckee-Donner area. They created and operate the new Truckee Museum of History in the Train Depot, and the Truckee Railroad Museum next to the Depot in Historic Downtown Truckee. They maintain the historic Joseph Research Cabin (the Gateway Cabin), and operate the Old Jail Museum built in 1875. The Society also maintains the Community Memorial Garden including the Memorial Arch behind the Old Jail Museum, the Donner Cross, and Schaffer Cemetery.  Learn More

Historical Site - Petroglyphs
The summit has many petroglyphs left by Native Americans between 1500 to 4000 years ago. The most accessible site is below Donner Pass on Old Hwy 40. There are more than 200 elements near the marker.
Donner Summit
Soda Springs, CA
Historical Site - Old Highway 40, Lincoln Highway
US 40 is one of the most important & historic highways in the U.S. Its route runs over the National Road, the U.S.'s first federally funded road and comprised the western half of the Lincoln Highway.
Donner Summit
Truckee, CA 96161
Historical Site - 20 Mile Museum, Old Highway 40
This 20-mile roadside ''museum'' brings history to life with dozens of interpretive signs along Old Highway 40, from Truckee to Auburn, with historical photos and information as well as activities.
21501 Donner Pass Rd.
Soda Springs, CA 95724
Historical Site - Pioneer Monument
Near the Visitor Center in Donner Memorial State Park, the Pioneer Monument is dedicated to the pioneers who crossed the Sierra on their way to the west in the 1800s.
12593 Donner Pass Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161
Donner Summit Historical Society & Museum
We operate a Donner Summit Historic Museum on the summit, as well as the 20 Mile Museum, which includes interpretive signs of historic sites along Old Highway 40 from Truckee to Auburn.
21501 Donner Pass Rd.
Soda Springs, CA 95724
Historical Site - China Wall & Memorial Marker
The ''China Wall'' was one of two walls and four tunnels constructed by the Chinese railroad workers to make train travel possible to the west. A memorial recognizes their hard work and bravery.
Donner Summit
Soda Springs, CA 95278
Throughout the '70s and '80s Donner Summit was a training ground for the world's best; they came to this relatively small but dense climbing area to push the limits of hard free ascents,.
Donner Summit
Soda Springs, CA
This museum was developed as an exhibition of Western North American ski history in 1969.The history of California skiing and legendary mailman, Snowshoe Thompson, who rescued miners are key exhibits.
19749 Boreal Ridge Rd.
Soda Springs, CA 95728
Flying A Gas Station
The Flying A Gas Station in Truckee, originally built in 1936, is one of several Flying A stations built in the same architectural style around that time in California. The building was restored in 20
10091 Donner Pass Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161
Historical Site - Squaw Valley Chapel
Built in 1959 for the Protestant athletes and attendees of the 1960 Winter Olympics held in this magnificent valley with the crest of the High Sierra. It is one of few buildings left from that era.
PO Box 7437
Tahoe City, CA 96145
Historical Site - Donner Camp Trail at Alder Creek
Interpretive 1/3 mile trail with plaque commemorating where part of the Donner Party camped near Alder Creek, trapped during the severe winter of 1846-47.
Donner Party Picnic Area
Truckee, CA 96161
Sugar Bowl Resort
Sugar Bowl, opened in 1940, offers an extraordinary mountain resort experience with four great peaks, endless cross country trails, a world-class ski team and academy, and a magical snowbound village.
629 Sugar Bowl Rd.
Norden, CA 95724
Veterans Hall
Historic site where C.F. McGlashan built a museum in the late 1800s, features The Rocking Stone, a sacred site of the early Washoe and Veterans Hall domed structure, now a parks and rec facility.
10214 High St.
Truckee, CA 96161
Olympic Museum - Olympic Valley
Olympic history museum at High Camp in Squaw Valley, showcasing the 1960 Winter Olympics held there as well as current Squaw Valley Olympian memorabilia.
1960 Squaw Valley Rd.
High Camp
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
Historical Site - Rainbow Bridge
Built in 1924 by the U.S. Bureau of Roads with forest highway funds, Rainbow Bridge connected the Lake Tahoe and Donner Summit areas with Lincoln Highway, largely to facilitate logging and tourism.
Donner Summit
Soda Springs, CA
Donner Summit is the site of the first transcontinental railroad, the first transcontinental highway (Lincoln), the first transcontinental air route, and the first transcontinental telephone line.
Donner Summit
Soda Springs, CA
Donner Memorial State Park - Museum
New museum of Truckee's history of the Emigrant Experience, including the Donner Party, the Land of the Washoe, Chinese construction of the railroad and early motoring adventures over Donner Pass.
12593 Donner Pass Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161
Serving as the library for the Truckee Donner Historical Society, the Joseph Research Cabin is one of two cabins preserved of what was originally the historic Gateway Motel built in the 1930s.
10115 Donner Trail Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161
Truckee Donner Railroad Society
The Truckee Donner Railroad Museum is a timeline of life, individuals, industry, and railroading in and around Truckee with artifacts and exhibits, lectures, and documentary films.
10065 Donner Pass Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161
(rent from homeowner) The Richardson House
Experience Truckee's past when you stay at ''The Richardson House, a beautiful historic Victorian in Truckee/North Tahoe. Book direct with hosts Bob and Jeannine and avoid Airbnb or VRBO booking fees.
10154 High St.
Truckee, CA 96161
Old Jail Museum
Tour Truckee's historic Old Jail in downtwon Truckee, used continuously from 1875 to May 1964. The museum also contains relics from other early important Truckee industries.
10142 Jibboom St.
Truckee, CA 96161
Truckee Hollywood Films
Early in the 20th century, Truckee was one of Hollywood?s favorite sites for making movies. Nearly 100 movies or sequences have been filmed in or near Truckee including Chaplin's Gold Rush in 1925.
Donner Pass Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161
Truckee River Legacy Trail
A 6-mile paved bike path (plowed in winter) along the Truckee River from Truckee River Regional Park to Glenshire neighborhood and accessing Riverview Sports Park with historical and art landmarks.
Truckee River Regional Park
Truckee, CA 96161
Truckee Donner Historical Society & Museum
Truckee-Donner Historical Society was founded to preserve the history of the Truckee - Donner area. We maintain the historic Joseph Research Cabin, the Old Jail Museum and other important sites.
PO Box 893
Truckee, CA 96160
KidZone Museum
KidZone Museum serves Truckee and North Lake Tahoe. We are a non-profit dedicated to inspire learning through creative play and discovery.
11711 Donner Pass Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161
Museum of Truckee History
The Museum of Truckee History, located in the Train Depot is a historical timeline of life, individuals, industry, and railroading in and around Truckee.
10065 Donner Pass Rd., Ste. 1
Truckee, CA 96161