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 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 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.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Current Recreation Conditions
|Area Name||Status||Area Conditions|
|Adventure Mountain||Closed||Closed for the Season|
|Angora Lakes Resort||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Baldwin Beach||Open||Open for the season from 8AM to 8PM; No Wood or Charcoal Fires; No Pets|
|Bayview Trailhead and Day-Use Area||Temporarily Closed||Trailhead Open; Parking Area Temporarily Closed for Construction Thru Sep; No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Camp Richardson||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires on the Beach|
|Camp Richardson Corral||Open|
|Desolation Wilderness||Open||Bear canisters are required for overnight visits.|
|Eagle Falls Trailhead||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Echo Chalet||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Echo Lakes Trailhead||None||Seasonal Parking, No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Fallen Leaf Campground||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires on the Beach|
|Genoa Peak Road 14N32||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Glen Alpine Trailhead||None||Seasonal Parking; No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|High Meadows Trail 18E33A||None||Seasonal Parking; No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Inspiration Point||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Kaspian Picnic Area||Open||Open Year-Round (No Trash Service, Restrooms in Winter); No Wood or Charcoal Fires on the Beach|
|Kiva Picnic Area||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Luther Pass Campground||Open||No Camping Outside of Designated Spots; Wood/Charcoal Allowed Only in Metal Fire Rings With Valid Permit|
|McKinney/Rubicon Trailhead||None||Seasonal Parking, No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Meeks Bay Campground||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires on the Beach; No Pets|
|Meeks Bay Picnic Area||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Meeks Bay Resort||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires on the Beach|
|Meeks Bay Trailhead||None||Seasonal Parking; No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Meiss Country||None||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Mokelumne Wilderness||None||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Mt. Tallac Trailhead||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Nevada Beach Campground and Day Use Pavilion||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires on the Beach; No Pets; Some Campsites Closed Due to Flooding|
|Pope Beach||Open||Open for the season from 8AM to 8PM; No Wood or Charcoal Fires; No Pets|
|Rim Trail North||None||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Rim Trail South||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Round Hill Pines Beach Resort||Open||No wood or charcoal fires|
|Rubicon Trail 14N34||None||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Sand Pit 12N28||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Sawmill Pond Picnic Area||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Stateline Lookout||None||Open Seasonally, No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Tallac Historic Site||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Taylor Creek Visitor Center||Open||Hours: Wednedays through Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.|
|Twin Peaks Trail 12N30||None||Open Seasonally, No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Valhalla||Open||No Wood or Charcoal Fires|
|Watson Lake Campground||Open||No Camping Outside of Designated Spots; Wood/Charcoal Allowed Only in Metal Fire Rings With Valid Permit|
|William Kent Campground||Open|
|William Kent Picnic Area||Open||
Year-Round (No trash service/restrooms in winter)
|Zephyr Cove Resort||Open||Open Year-Round; No wood or Charcoal Fires on the Beach|
|Zephyr Cove Stables||Open||Open Seasonally|
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 co-managed by the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. For reservations and specific information on fees, permits, trail information, and the zone quota, visit Recreation.gov. Please note: Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted in Desolation Wilderness and bear canisters are required for overnight visits.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.