Grab Your Backpack

There’s simply no better way to enjoy those economic stimulus checks than at North Lake Tahoe, pitching a tent in a lakeside or wooded campground, toasting up a s’more, counting stars and falling asleep under the night sky.

And camping is more popular than ever. In fact, camping is the number one outdoor vacation activity in America according to the Adventure Travel Report, with one third of U.S. adults having gone on at least one camping vacation in the past five years.

Lakeside campground options in North Lake Tahoe include D.L. Bliss State Park, adjacent to Emerald Bay and boasting one of the West Shore’s finest beaches; Sugar Pine Point State Park, home of the historical Ehrman Mansion and offering wireless Internet services;  
Tahoe State Recreation Area, conveniently located within walking distance of Tahoe City; William Kent, just south of Tahoe City with a large sandy beach; Lake Forest, offering a boat ramp; and Sandy Beach near North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista. Kaspian Campground, directly across the street from the lake on the West Shore, leads into Blackwood Canyon, an extremely popular location for biking and hiking.

There’s also Meeks Bay Resort and Marina, which offers private cabins in addition to campsites and activities — not to be confused with Meeks Bay Campground — run by the U.S. Forest Service, with easy access to hiking in Desolation Wilderness. Not far from Meeks Bay is the Emerald Bay Campground, which lets campers sleep within steps of  
the historic Vikingsholm mansion and gives first-class views of the renowned Fannette Island. Along the Truckee River, between Tahoe City and Truckee, there’s Granite Flat, Silver Creek and Goose Meadows.

Trekking travelers will find endless options in Desolation Wilderness with more than 63,000 acres of alpine forest, granite peaks and glacially formed valleys and secluded lakes. The Pacific Crest Trail  runs through the area, which is also home to some of the region’s  
tallest peaks, including Pyramid Peak. With no motorized vehicles allowed, campers will enjoy the true peace of outdoors. There is a fee and permits must be picked up in person at one of the Lake Tahoe Basin or Pacific Ranger Eldorado National Forest stations. In North  Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness is best accessed in Meeks Bay.

For those looking for something a little less rugged with a roof over their head, the Spooner Lake Cross Country Ski Area on the East Shore offers two unique log cabins with some amenities, including a heating stove, kitchen utensils and futon. The hand-hewn, Scandinavian-style cabins are only a short hike from the parking area, but still well out of view of the trails.

There are also five Sierra Club huts nestled in the hills above North Lake Tahoe, all within a day’s hike of each other and trailheads.  Sparse amenities vary with each hut, which are popular retreats for ambitious (and experienced) skiers and snowshoers in the winter.  
Reservations are required.

Boating and kayaking campers will find guidance in the Lake Tahoe Water Trail, which allows paddlers to plan a custom trip around the 72-mile shoreline. The trail map includes information about access points, resting places, campgrounds, points of interest and related  

North Lake Tahoe is a 45-minute drive from the Reno Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento International Airport and just over three hours from San Francisco International Airport. For lodging reservations, recreation and event details, call North Lake Tahoe at 1-877-949-3296 or visit Visitor information centers are located at 380 North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City and 969 Tahoe Boulevard in Incline Village. The North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureaus, Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association work together to promote North Lake Tahoe as a premier, year-round destination.