Recreation Passes & Permits

The Forest Service offers places for hiking, biking, skiing, nature viewing, scenic drives, and for gathering forest products such as mushrooms, firewood, and Christmas trees. Many of the facilities and services associated with these opportunities are free. However, some do require fees or permits to help maintain, manage and improve your national forests and grasslands.

In general, you can purchase many of these passes and permits at any Forest Service office near you.

Forest Permits

Please select from the following options to learn more.

Campfire Permits

May 30, 2020 - Seasonal fire restrictions went into effect on May 30, 2020, for National Forest lands in the Tahoe Basin. Seasonal fire restrictions mean that campfires and charcoal are only allowed within metal fire rings in campgrounds with an onsite host. Read the news release at

National Forest System lands in the Tahoe Basin are under year-round fire restrictions. This means campfires and charcoal are only allowed within metal fire rings in designated campgrounds like Fallen Leaf or Nevada Beach. Campfires and charcoal are not allowed in Desolation Wilderness or Meiss Country; along the Tahoe Rim Trail or Genoa Peak Road; in any existing rock fire rings; on National Forest beaches; or in the general forest. Portable pressurized gas stoves with an on/off switch are allowed in all areas with a valid California Campfire Permit obtainable online at Campfire permits are issued free of charge.

Sno-Park Permits

The California Department of Parks and Recreation operates Sno-Park sites that provide sanitation facilities with access to snow play areas, cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. A Sno-Park permit is required for each vehicle parked at a Sno-Park site from November 1 through May 30 of each year. Day or seasonal permits are sold by permit vendors throughout Northern California.You may purchase your Sno-Park permit at the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Supervisor's Office located at 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. You may also purchase a Sno-Park permit from permit vendors located throughout Northern California. Please follow the links provided below to visit the California State Parks Sno-Park web page and view documents from the California Sno-Park program which include a printable map with a list of Sno-Park locations, and a list of vendors where you may purchase the permit. The fee for a Day Use permit is $5.00 and is valid for one single day. Season permits are $25.00 and are valid for the entire Sno-Park season.

Wilderness Use Permits

One roadless inventoried area and five wilderness areas are located in or near the Lake Tahoe Basin. Permits are required year-round for both day and overnight use in most of the wilderness areas. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit manages Meiss Country roadless area and shares management duties of Desolation Wilderness with the Eldorado National Forest, and the Mt. RoseWilderness with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The Granite Chief Wilderness is managed by the Tahoe National Forest. The rules and regulations vary in each area. Visit the links below for specific information and how to obtain a permit to visit these national treasures.

National Recreation Passes

Interagency Annual Pass 2019 - Every Kid Outdoors Interagency Annual Military Pass Annual Senior Pass Lifetime Senior Pass Interagency Access Pass Interagency Volunteer Pass

National passes are honored nationwide at Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service sites charging entrance or standard and expanded amenity fees.

There are several pass options to consider. To make the best choice on which pass to purchase, you should think about your recreation plans for the next year.

  • Your best value may be a single-day pass.
  • Or if you’re a frequent visitor to one or more sites, a multi-day pass or annual pass that covers a forest or region may be the best buy.
  • An Interagency Annual Pass may be your best value if you plan to visit many different federal lands across the nation that include lands managed by other federal agencies.
  • You may also qualify for one of the Interagency Lifetime Passes (Interagency Senior Pass or Interagency Access Pass).
  • The "Every Kid Outdoors" pass gives fourth graders free access to 2,000-plus federal recreation sites. Detailed information about that pass is available on the Every Kid Outdoors site.
  • Active military personnel and their dependents also qualify for an Interagency Annual Military Pass.

The USGS Store provides Frequently Asked Questions about Recreational Passes. For more information about permits and passes, see our national Recreation Fees and Passes website.


Outdoor Weddings in the Lake Tahoe Basin

An outdoor wedding ceremony may be held in certain places on National Forest System lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin under the operations of specified wedding service providers. These wedding providers operate under a Special Use Permit with the Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, which authorizes them to conduct wedding ceremonies at specific locations on public land. For more information follow the link listed above.


  • Fee revenues make a difference
    Thank you. Your fees make a difference!

    National Forests in California are using recreation fee revenues to improve and enhance recreation opportunities. See how your fees have made a difference!