Forest Service anticipates delayed spring openings at Lake Tahoe

As of May 1, 2023, a large amount of snow is still present at Inspiration Point and Bayview Trailhead near Emerald Bay. Photo credit: Charlie Westerhold, Tahoe Recreation.

Forest Service News Release

Public Affairs Specialist: Lisa Herron

(530) 721-3898

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif., May 3, 2023 – Spring conditions in the Lake Tahoe Basin have finally arrived, but our epic winter will likely delay the official opening of many National Forest recreation sites, including beaches, campgrounds, forest roads, and trailheads. We encourage patience and understanding as we work through the process of opening these sites.

“The Forest Service is aware of the public’s desire to access National Forest recreation sites as early as possible,” said LTBMU Deputy Forest Supervisor, Vicki Lankford. “We make every effort to open sites as soon as they are deemed safe for the public, we have adequate staffing on board, and can ensure precious natural resources will be protected.”

Before recreation sites can be fully opened to the public, the Forest Service must complete seasonal hiring of crews and staff to manage sites, clean up from winter, remove safety hazards such as damaged trees, and wait for the danger of a freeze to pass before turning on water systems for restrooms.

In a typical year, campgrounds, beaches, forest roads and trailheads start becoming accessible beginning in mid-May. This year, delays are unavoidable particularly in shaded areas such as Emerald Bay, north and west shores, and higher elevations. Snow in these areas will take longer for to melt and there is always the possibility we may receive additional snow. Sunny areas such as the east and south shores usually melt out earlier, but some delays are still possible. The Taylor Creek Visitor Center and Tallac Historic Site are scheduled to open around Memorial Day.

Backcountry and wilderness access will also be a challenge this year. We urge visitors to these areas to plan ahead for limited parking, snow and ice on trails and always be prepared with proper knowledge, equipment, clothing and footwear.

Until sites officially open, there is no parking, trash removal or restroom facilities available, so please plan accordingly. Do your part and pack out all trash and where pets are allowed, always clean up after them. Where gates are still closed, be sure to park vehicles completely off the roadway, avoid parking on vegetation, and do not block the gates.

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