Donner Party activities at Sutter’s Fort

By From page B7 | November 16, 2012

In the winter of 1846-47, wagon travel across the Sierra Nevada was a dangerous proposition and more than 80 emigrants became trapped in the Sierra snow. Known as the Donner Party, the travelers included individuals and many different families.

Did you know that the snowbound emigrants lived in two separate camps almost five miles apart?

Sutter’s Fort was their destination and became their only hope of survival. Today, the Sutter’s Fort Collection is the largest repository of original source Donner Party material in existence and the iconic Patty Reed doll — a national treasure — will be back on permanent display just in time for this special “Hands on History: There are Folks Trapped in the Mountains” event on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are cannon firing demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. and musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day

Fort visitors can view the famous doll, replicas of rarely seen original documents, and hear the mysterious and haunting stories that have fallen through the cracks.

Visitors will be able to pack a wagon, write in their journal with a quill pen, or make a corn husk or rag doll to create their own pioneer souvenir.

Come to the fort, 2701 L St. in Midtown Sacramento, and hear why there continues to be so much discussion about the Donner Party.

Cost is $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), and free for children 5 years and under.

For more information about this engaging “Hands on History” event, or other events and activities at Sutter’s Fort SHP call 916-445-4422 or visit

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is operated by California State Parks with financial assistance from the nonprofit Friends of Sutter’s Fort.

Sutter's Fort

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