Lake Tahoe Travel Guide


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Lake Tahoe Beaches, Parks and Open Spaces

Lake Tahoe’s #1 attraction is of coarse the Lake itself.  With a maximum depth of 1,645 feet, it is the second deepest lake in the United States — trailing only Crater Lake in Oregon.  It is approximately 22 miles long and 12 mile wide — creating 72 miles of shoreline that vary from beautiful golden and white sandy beaches on the South, West and North side of the lake to rugged rock outcrops on the east side. 

For more on Lake Tahoe Parks and Beaches, please scroll down the page or click here >>

For Lake Tahoe Park and Forest Management offices, please click here >>

Lake Tahoe State Parks and Beaches and National Forest Areas

Desolation Wilderness Area

870 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Part of Eldorado National Forest, it includes 63,475 acres of unspoiled beauty. Great for hiking, primitive camping and backpacking. Permits required. (530) 644-6048

Donner Memorial California State Park 

Hwy 80, Truckee, CA  (530) 582-7894  (Located 13 Miles North of Lake Tahoe)

The Donner Memorial State Park’s campground has 150 campsites and a day-use area along the lake with picnic tables, restrooms, and a beach. Campsites can accommodate campers up to 28 feet and trailers up to 24′ long.

The park has also almost 2.5 miles of hiking trails within its borders–more enthusiastic hikers can explore even further by visiting the neighboring Tahoe National Forest. Other park activities include fishing and a lakeside interpretive trail. For a small fee, a public boat ramp–operated by the Truckee Donner Recreation & Parks District–is available in the northwest corner of Donner Lake.

For more park and campground information visit their Web site. The park’s campsites can be reserved by calling the California State Parks reservation hotline at (800) 444-PARK, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) seven days a week.

D.L. Bliss California State Park 

Hwy 89, South Lake Tahoe, CA  (530) 525-7277

D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay State Parks Cover 1,830 acres in California’s Sierra Nevada and include some six miles of Lake Tahoe shoreline. From promontories such as Rubicon Point in D.L. Bliss State Park you can see over one hundred feet into the depths of Lake Tahoe. From the top of Eagle Falls, in Emerald Bay State Park, you can see a brilliant panorama of Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, Lake Tahoe, and the distant Nevada shore.

D.L. Bliss’ campgrounds offer over 150 campsites, and it can accommodate campers up to 21 feet long and trailers up to 15 feet.  Sorry, no RV hook ups are available, but the park does have showers and flush toilets.

For more information on the park and its campgrounds visit their Web site. The park’s campsites can be reserved by calling the California State Parks reservation hotline at (800) 444-PARK, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) seven days a week.

Emerald Bay State Park 

Hwy 89, South Lake Tahoe, CA  (530) 525-7277

Emerald Bay State Park’s Boat Camp campground has 20 campsites with mooring buoys. Boaters can either sleep on board their boat, or camp in a designated site on shore. Each campsite has a table, storage locker, and fire ring. Water is available in the campground, and there are chemical toilets. There are no showers.

The Boat Camp is normally open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, depending upon weather conditions. All campsites–with buoy–are available on a first come, first served basis, and require a nominal fee and registration. For more information on the campgrounds, campsite fees, regulations, and reservation system, visit their Web site or call (530) 525-7277.

Emerald Bay State Park also features the Vikingsholm–one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the western hemisphere. Touring the Vikingsholm is like a stepping back into medieval times. The Vikingsholm home may be toured from mid-June thru Labor Day. Tours are given from 10:00 am thru 4:00 pm, every half hour. Tour fees are $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for children, and children under 6 are free.

Fallen Leaf Lake 

Hwy 89, South Lake Tahoe, CA  (530) 544-5994

Fallen Leaf Lake Campgrounds have over 208 campsites. The park can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet long. Sorry, no showers or RV hook ups. Flush toilets are available.

Granite Chief  Wilderness Area

North Lake Tahoe, CA (530) 587-3558

Located west of Truckee, this area is made up of over 25,000 acres. Great trails and view.

Grover Hot Springs California State Park

This busy park has a natural hot spring swimming pool. (503) 694-2248.

Kings Beach Recreation Area

Kings Beach, North Lake Tahoe  (775) 546-7248

Playground areas for children, swimming, sunbathing, picnic areas, fire pits, barbecue grills and restrooms. Entrance fee $4.00

Meeks Bay Campgrounds 

Hwy 89, West Lake Tahoe, CA  (530) 544-5994

Meeks Bay Campgrounds has 40 tent & RV campsites. The campground can accommodate RVs up to 20 feet long. Sorry, no RV hook ups are available, but the campground does provide showers, water, bbq rings, and flush toilets.

Memorial Point and Hidden Beach  

Nevada State Park (775) 831-0494

Situated between Incline Village and Sand Harbor, are areas which offer outstanding views of the lake and more secluded access to its shores.

Sand Harbor 

Nevada State Park Highway 28,  (775) 831-0494

Sand Harbor is located three miles south of Incline Village on State Route 28. With its sandy beaches, boat launch, picnicking and group use facilities, it is an extremely popular summer destination.   Lifeguards on duty at scheduled times.

Sugar Pine Point California State Park 

Hwy 89, West Lake Tahoe, CA  (530) 525-7982

Home of the Ehrman Mansion, Sugar Pine Point State Park’s campgrounds have 175 campsites, and it can accommodate RV’s up to 30 feet and trailers up to 24 feet long. Some of the campground’s  amenities include: hot showers (during the summer), flush toilets, dump station, museum, pier, nature trails, and cross country skiing. Open year-round.

With over 2,000 acres of conifer forest, the park has many miles of hiking trails within the park and a swimming beach that provides visitors with a variety of relaxing summer activities. The park also contains General Creek which has some of the clearest waters flowing into Lake Tahoe. The stream is open to fishing from mid July to mid September.

For more park and camping information visit their Web site. The park’s campsites can be reserved by calling the California State Parks reservation hotline at (800) 444-PARK, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) seven days a week.

Tahoe State Recreation Area — Camping & RV Parking

Tahoe City, CA  (530) 583-3074

Tahoe SRA Campgrounds have 31 available tent & RV campsites. The park can accommodate campers up to 21 feet and trailers up to 15 feet long.  Park’s amenities include: flush toilets,  showers, picnic sites, fishing pier, store, and laundry.

Taylor Creek Visitor Center — South Lake Tahoe

3 miles north of the “Y” on Hwy. 89 past the Tallac Historic Site.     (530) 573-2674.

More than just a travel store for the Forest Service, the complex is home to many exciting activities such as:

The Stream Profile Chamber which has served as the primary attraction for the complex since it was constructed in 1968.  The Chamber provides a view of the stream environment by allowing visitors to study a diverted section of Taylor Creek. And four nature trails including: The Rainbow Trail, The Tallac Historic Site Trail, The Lake of the Sky Trail, Smokey’s Trail .  It also offers  items for purchase such as maps, brochures, souvenirs, hiking permits and other items.  More >>

Wrights Lake — Camping & Equestrian Campgrounds

Desolation Wilderness — South West Edge  (530) 647-5415

A fee is charged. There is piped water, picnic tables, handicapped accessible toilets, grills, and fire-rings, but no hook-ups. Call 1-877-444-6777 for campsite reservations. Reservation season in the first Friday after the Fourth of July weekend through Labor Day. Usually open first-come, first served into early October.   For a USFS Equestrian brochure, click here; USFS Camping information, click here. For more information on the lakes of the Crystal Basin Recreation Area (Loon Lake, Union Valley, Ice House and Wrights Lake), click here.

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USFS Offices

Tahoe National Forest

631 Coyote St., Nevada City, CA 95959   (530) 265-4531

Eldorado National Forest

100 Forni Road, Placerville, CA 95667     (530) 622-5061 

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

35 College Drive., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150-4500    (530) 543-2600

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State Park Department Offices

California State Parks – Sierra District

P.O. Box 266, Tahoma, CA 96142-0266     (530) 525-7232631

Nevada State Park – Lake Tahoe District

P.O. Box 8867,  Incline Village, NV     (775) 831-0494  


What’s on Tap


Lake Tahoe Festivals & Events:


Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival—7/8 – 8/21

North Lake—Imagine your toes in the sand, a fantastic bottle of wine nearby, a gourmet meal in hand and first-class entertainment before you…

Labor Day Lake Tahoe Fireworks Extravaganza—9/4/16 @ 08:30 PM

South Lake—This pyrotechnic exhibition explodes over Lake Tahoe after dusk and features a variety of patterns, shapes, and designs.

Big Band Jazz Concert at the Sugar Pine Point State Park—9/4/16

West Lake—Concert goers are encouraged to bring a picnic, low-back chairs, blankets, and be prepared to have fun.

The Great Reno Balloon Race—9/9 – 9/11/16

Reno—This is the 35th year for one of Reno’s most colorful and spectacular events! It attracts nearly 100 hot air balloons

For more event information, click on our Festivals & Events page for Half Moon Bay.


Top Attractions:

Winter Outdoor Activities  – 2015/16

The ski areas were finally blessed with SNOW! The recent drought took its toll, but finally were seeing some action…

Summer Outdoor Activities – 2016

Lake Tahoe  – In a couple of months, Lake Tahoe will be bursting with outdoor activities!

Desolation Wilderness Area 

Awesome hiking from late spring to late summer. 


For more information on local attractions, click on the Lake Tahoe Attractions or Recreational Activities.



The Region’s Fall Advisories:

Traffic Conditions. During the summer months, Lake Tahoe is inundated with tourists making driving challenging. Another issue, is the warm summer months are the best to complete road work. This combination can create very long delays in certain sections. Go to to learn about road conditions. 

Yes, It’s Still Water! California’s extreme drought has created some long-term consequences. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing may be impacted. It has also create EXTREME fire conditions, so be sure to check with local authorities about campfire and camp stove regulations.   

The Plague! It sounds medieval, but chipmunks and squirrels around Lake Tahoe can carry the Plague and health officials urge caution. Click here to learn more.

Yellow Jackets! I don’t know why it’s so bad this season, but from Tahoe City south  along the beaches the bees are everywhere! Click here to learn more.


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