Recreation

View more information by following the slide show links.

Fallen Leaf Campground sign. Nevada Beach on Lake Tahoe's East Shore The Crystal Range sits behind Mt. Tallac. The Stream Profile Chamber at the visitor center provides a view of the stream environment through aquarium-like windows. The Honeymoon Cabin at Tallac Historic Site sits alongside the south shore of Lake Tahoe. Lake of the Sky Journal Kayaker paddles on Lake Tahoe. Kokanee salmon school during fall spawning. Kid jumping off boat into Lake Tahoe American Black Bear

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Spotlights

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 start and is the home of the Stream Profile Chamber and the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater, primary attractions at the visitor center complex. Wilderness and campfire permits and National Recreation Passes may be obtained at the visitor center and the visitor center store has a wide selection of maps, books, T-shirts, hats, stuffed animals and much more available for purchase. The visitor center is open Memorial Day weekend 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: Campfires and portable charcoal grills are not allowed on the beach. 

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.

The Stream Profile Chamber, located one-quarter mile down the Rainbow Trail, provides a view of the stream environment and allows 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 and boasts a mural on the walls which shows the four 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 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, the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater offers special evening programs in July and August. .

The Tahoe Heritage Foundation offers a wide variety of merchandise available for purchase at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center. Photo credit: Alex Vaughn.

 

The Great Basin Institute offers a wide variety of merchandise available for purchase at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center.
Photo credit: Alex Vaughn, Tahoe Heritage Foundation.

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 www.valhallatahoe.com. 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: Campfires and portable charcoal grills are not allowed on the beach. 

Valhalla Tahoe was formed in 1979 (as the Tahoe Tallac Association) 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.

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.

Tallac Historic Site

A century ago, what is now the Tallac Historic Site held the "Grandest Resort in the World" and was the summer retreat 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. Adjacent to Lake Tahoe, Kiva Picnic Area and the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, the Tallac Historic Site is operated in partnership with the Tahoe Heritage Foundation. The Tallac Historic Site is located approximately three miles northwest of South Lake Tahoe on the lake side of Highway 89. The entrance is on Heritage Way across from Fallen Leaf Lake Road and marked by a large sign that reads “Tallac Historic Site”. The Valhalla gate is not open to the public; please proceed west to the  next right hand turn. Parking is free and can fill up by mid-morning during the peak season. Please allow 30 minutes to park if you are attending a program or tour. and is located approximately three miles northwest of the City of South Lake Tahoe . 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: Campfires and portable charcoal grills are not allowed on the beach.

The Tahoe Heritage Foundation supports a variety of preservation, restoration and education projects and programs in the Lake Tahoe Basin. It was founded in 1996 to enable a public/private partnership with the USDA Forest Service that manages restoration projects and interpretive activities at the Tallac Historic Site and the Taylor Creek 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 at the Baldwin Museum or online at the Tahoe Heritage Foundation's website at http://www.tahoeheritage.org/events-and-programs-2/tallac-historic-site/.

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 Tahoe Heritage Foundation. For more information about our volunteer program, please contact Mikan Gosuico at (530) 544-7383 or by email mikan@tahoeheritage.org

Areas & Activities

Highlights

Color graphic of the Travel Management logo featuring a drawing of a trail next to stream and trees.

Travel Management: A Program for Motor Vehicle Route Designation


Buy it where you burn it!

Be aware that firewood can harbor insects and diseases that threaten valuable forest resources. Transporting firewood can move these pests to new locations.