Recreation


Panoramic view of Lake Tahoe from Mt. Tallac with hikers in the right side foreground.

Discover an Area by Activity

Select an activity to find an area to visit.

  • Camping at Lake Tahoe

    National Forest campsite with tent, camping supplies and bicycles.

    Whether you enjoy the convenience of a full service cabin or campground, or the secluded primitiveness of backcountry and wilderness camping, National Forest lands at Lake Tahoe have something for everyone!

  • Lake Tahoe Beaches

    Sandy beach with Lake Tahoe in the backgrounds.

    Lake Tahoe National Forest beaches and picnic areas are generally open Memorial Day weekend through mid-October. The length of the open season depends on snowfall and may vary from year to year.

  • Desolation Wilderness

    Wilderness hiker looks out over serene alpine lake.

    Desolation Wildernesses encompasses 63,960 acres of alpine forest, glacially-formed valleys and lakes. Travel is by foot or horseback as no vehicles are allowed. Wood or charcoal fires are not permitted.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

Area Name Status Area Conditions
Angora Lakes Resort Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Baldwin Beach Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Bayview Trailhead and Day-Use Area Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Camp Richardson Open Open
Camp Richardson Corral Open Open
Desolation Wilderness Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Eagle Falls Trailhead Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Echo Chalet Open Open
Echo Lakes Trailhead Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Fallen Leaf Campground Open Open
Genoa Peak Road 14N32 Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Glen Alpine Trailhead Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
High Meadows Trail 18E33A Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Inspiration Point Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Kaspian Campground Open Open
Kaspian Day Use Area Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Kiva Picnic Area Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
McKinney/Rubicon Trailhead Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Meeks Bay Campground Open Open
Meeks Bay Day Use Area Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Meeks Bay Resort Open Open
Meeks Bay Trailhead Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Meiss Country Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Mokelumne Wilderness Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Mt. Tallac Trailhead Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Nevada Beach Campground and Day Use Pavilion Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires on Beach
Pope Beach Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Rim Trail North Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Rim Trail South Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Round Hill Pines Beach Resort Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Rubicon Trail 14N34 Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Sand Pit 12N28 Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Sawmill Pond 12N30 Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Stateline Lookout Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Tallac Historic Site Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Taylor Creek Visitor Center Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires, Stream Profile Chamber is Closed for Repairs
Twin Peaks Trail 12N30 Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Valhalla Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
William Kent Campground Open Open
William Kent Day Use Area Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Zephyr Cove Resort Open Open
Zephyr Cove Resort Beach Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires
Zephyr Cove Stables Open Open No Wood or Charcoal Fires

Spotlights

Desolation Wilderness

Desolation Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area consisting of 63,960 acres of sub-alpine and alpine forest, granite peaks, and glacially-formed valleys and lakes. Located southwest of Lake Tahoe and north of Highway 50 in El Dorado County, Desolation Wilderness is jointly managed by the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. For specific information on fees, permits, trail information, and the zone quota, visit Recreation.govPlease note: Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted.

Tallac Historic Site

A century ago, what is now the Tallac Historic Site held the title of "Grandest Resort in the World" and was the summer retreat for three of the 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. Adjacent to Lake Tahoe, Kiva Picnic Area and the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, the Tallac Historic Site is operated in partnership with Great Basin Institute.

The Tallac Historic Site is located approximately three miles northwest of the City of South Lake Tahoe on the lake side of Highway 89. The entrance is on Heritage Way across from Fallen Leaf Lake Road. The site offers something for everyone, and many paths and most buildings are accessible. The Tallac site is open Memorial Day weekend through September. Though the buildings are closed during the winter, the grounds remain open year-round, and the site serves as a popular cross-country skiing and snowshoeing destination. Please note: Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted.

The Great Basin Institute (GBI) is an interdisciplinary field studies organization that promotes environmental research, education, and conservation throughout the West. Founded in 1998 at the University of Nevada, GBI’s mission is to advance applied research and ecological literacy through community engagement and agency partnerships to support national parks, national forests, open spaces and public lands. The Great Basin Institute has served as the interpretative association for Taylor Creek Visitor Center since 2018. In 2022, GBI will also serve the Tallac Historic Site, a close neighbor to the visitor center.

During the summer, you may join a Tallac Site 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 onsite at the Baldwin Museum. 

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 and assisting in a variety of museum related activities including staffing or behind the scenes projects. We have opportunities for local residents as well as those able to travel with their own RV. Volunteers can sign-up through the Great Basin Insitute. For more information about our volunteer program, please email GBI.

Meiss Country

Meiss Country is located south of the Lake Tahoe Basin and offers a complete wilderness-like experience with beautiful forest meadows, picturesque mountain lakes, and wonderful scenic vistas. Please note: Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted.

Valhalla

The Heller Estate, located east of the Pope and Baldwin estates, is known as Valhalla, which means Viking heaven. Valhalla is located on National Forest land and is operated under a special use permit by Valhalla Tahoe (Tahoe Tallac Association). The main building is available for meetings, weddings and other event rentals and offers daily art exhibits. Valhalla also offers 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 Valhalla Tahoe. Valhalla is open mid-April through mid-December, weather permitting. Though the buildings are closed during the winter, the grounds remain open year-round and the site serves as a popular cross-country skiing and snowshoeing destination. Please note: Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted.

Valhalla Tahoe was formed in 1979 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with the goal of assisting the Forest Service in restoring the three estates on the Tallac Historic Site and developing the site as a historic center while sponsoring and producing the Valhalla Arts & Music Festival held annually on the Heller Estate. The site is listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites.

Inspiration Point

Road sign: Inspiration Point Vista National Forest Lands Lake Tahoe Basin

Nestled among towering pine and fir trees near beautiful Emerald Bay, Inspiration Point is a popular day-use area and vista point on the southwest end of Lake Tahoe. There is a parking fee and restrooms are available. Inspiration Point is located across the highway from Bayview Trailhead and Day-Use area. The site is managed by concessionaire, Tahoe Recreation, a division of Vista Recreation. Please note: wood and charcoal fires are not permitted.

Camp Shelly

Camp Shelly is located in South Lake Tahoe on highway 89 conveniently between Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay. The campground is centrally located in the whispering pines, allowing visitors to take advantage of both the natural wonders of the Lake Tahoe basin as well as the indoor attractions of a major tourist destination. Amenities include hot showers and a metal fire pit and grill in every campsite. Most sites can accommodate tent trailers and campers and some can accommodate motorhomes up to 24 feet in length. Lake Tahoe and the Glen Alpine and Mt. Tallac trailheads are all within hiking distance. Nearby are the Taylor Creek Visitor Center and Vikingsholm.

Taylor Creek Visitor Center

The Taylor Creek Visitor Center, operated in partnership with the Great Basin Institute, is located on the south shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe approximately three miles north of the City of South Lake Tahoe. The visitor center serves as a hub where four fascinating self-guided trails begin. The visitor center is typically open from June through October. Though the buildings are closed during the winter, the grounds remain open year-round and the site serves as a popular cross-country skiing and snowshoeing destination. Please note: Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted. 

The Great Basin Institute is an interdisciplinary field studies organization that promotes environmental research, education, and conservation throughout the West. Founded in 1998 at the University of Nevada, the Institute’s mission is to advance applied research and ecological literacy through community engagement and agency partnerships to support national parks, forests, open spaces and public lands. The Great Basin Institute became the interpretive association for Taylor Creek Visitor Center in 2018.

If you're interested in volunteering at the visitor center this summer, contact our Public Services Staff Officer, Daniel Cressy.

Recreation Areas