Special Places

Highlighted Areas

Taylor Creek Visitor Center

The Taylor Creek Visitor Center is located on the south shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe. The visitor center is also the hub where four fascinating self-guided trails start and the home of the Stream Profile Chamber, a primary attraction at the visitor center complex. 

The Stream Profile Chamber, located 1/4 mile down the Rainbow Trail, provides a view of the stream environment allowing visitors to study a diverted section of Taylor Creek through a panel of aquarium-like windows and is a major attraction for local conservation and environmental education programs.  A 180 degree curved diorama illustrates life above and below the water.  This diorama boasts a mural on the walls which shows all the seasons experienced at Taylor Creek. There are also creative informational signs and hidden critters.  Be sure to look for the raccoon, crayfish, bats, frog, Stellar Jay, Bald Eagles, butterflies, and the slug! Look carefully, they aren't easy to find!  This facility provides a realistic and meaningful experience for all who visit including the more than 4,000 third and fourth grade students who participate in the environmental education programs conducted during the fall spawning run of the Kokanee Salmon in Taylor Creek.

Sporting a great look and state of the art equipment table to present programs of all types, the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater offers special evening programs in July and August.  Call the Taylor Creek Visitor Center for more information on summer programs at (530) 543-2674 or visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/TCVCSummerSeries.


The Heller Estate, east of the Pope Estate, is known as Valhalla: the Viking heaven. Valhalla is managed as the Community Events Center for the site and is operated under a Special Use Permit by the Tahoe Tallac Association. The main building is available for meetings, weddings and other event rentals and presents art exhibits daily. The Estate also prides itself on a beautifully renovated boathouse, now a community theatre, and twin guest cabins that offer fine arts and crafts for sale. All three structures support the Associations annual Arts & Music Festival.  For a schedule of events or information on rentals call (530) 541-4975 or visit www.valhallatahoe.com.

Desolation Wilderness

Welcome to Desolation Wilderness, 63,960 acres of sub-alpine and alpine forest, granite peaks, and glacially-formed valleys and lakes.  It is located west of Lake Tahoe and north of Highway 50 in El Dorado County. Desolation Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.  For specific information on fees, permits, trail information, and the zone quota, follow this link:  Read More

  • Desolation Wilderness permits available online - Permits are available through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at recreation.gov. Reserved permits can be printed at home or picked up at a Forest Service office within 14 days prior to date of entry. A signed copy of your permit must be in your possession.
  • Desolation Wilderness Volunteer Program - visit www.desowv.org for more information.
  • Desolation Wilderness Recreation Opportunity Guide PDF link:  You may download the Adobe Reader for free by following this link to the Adobe web site.

Tallac Historic Site

A century ago, what is now the Tallac Historic Site held the "Grandest Resort in the World" and the summer retreats for three of San Francisco Bay Area's socially elite families.  Today, the remains of the resort and the restored estates attract  thousands of visitors annually to recapture this bygone and significant era in Tahoe's history.  The Tallac Historic Site offers something for everyone and is adjacent to Kiva picnic area and the Taylor Creek Visitor Center.  Many paths and most buildings are accessible.

Between June and September you may join a Tallac interpreter for heritage programs, guided walks, building tours, demonstrations, behind the scenes peeks, and more.  A changing schedule of activities with times, places, and a detailed description is available at the Visitors Center and the Baldwin Museum.  Though the buildings are closed during the winter, the site is popular for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

  • Volunteering at the Tallac Site
    Are you interested in becoming a volunteer at the Tallac Historic Site?  There are many ways to help.  Some volunteers take part in the continued preservation, restoration, and maintenance of structures, grounds, artifacts and machinery.  Others prefer providing tours. Still others assist in a variety of museum related activities including staffing or behind the scenes projects. Volunteers can sign-up through the Forest Service partner organization, the Tahoe Heritage Foundation. Contact Mikan Gosuico at (530) 544-7383 or email mikan@tahoeheritage.org. For additional information, please visit the Tallac Site Volunteer Information web page.