Forest Service encourages responsible recreation July 4 at Lake Tahoe

Forest Service News Release

Public Affairs Specialist: Lisa Herron

(530) 721-3898

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif., June 27, 2023 – The Fourth of July holiday is next week and marks one of the busiest times of year in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) has provided the following helpful information and links to ensure a safe holiday weekend at Lake Tahoe.

“The Independence Day holiday period is a time to celebrate our nation’s history and our shared value of public land access,” said Public Services Staff Officer, Daniel Cressy. “One way we can all do this is by caring for Tahoe’s lands, waters, communities, and people while we safely enjoy this spectacular place together.”

Alcohol Prohibition

To promote public safety, the annual alcohol prohibition will be in effect at Nevada Beach and Zephyr Cove Resort on July 4, and at Chamber’s Landing Beach from July 1-4. The Forest Order with maps will be posted on the LTBMU forest orders webpage as soon as they are available. To ensure compliance, these areas will be patrolled by law enforcement personnel from the Forest Service, state and local law enforcement, and private security staff.

Campfires, Charcoal, Fireworks and Fire Restrictions

National Forest lands at Lake Tahoe are under year-round fire restrictions which prohibit wood and charcoal fires in any location except open, designated campgrounds with permanently installed metal campfire pits and/or barbeque grills. Always do your part to follow fire restrictions. The Forest Order is posted on the LTBMU Fire Restrictions webpage. Unless restricted, portable stoves with on/off valves are allowed with a valid permit.

All personal use fireworks are illegal in the Lake Tahoe Basin because of the wildfire danger they pose to our communities and forests. Please leave the personal use fireworks at home and attend one of the professional displays over Lake Tahoe instead. For information on July 4 public events, visit Visit Lake Tahoe and Go Tahoe North.

Wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility! Residents and visitors should do their part to keep Tahoe wildfire ready. If you see something, say something by reporting illegal fire activity to 911 immediately. Learn how to Get Prepared, Get Informed and Get Involved at Tahoe Living with Fire.

Camping, Beaches, Picnic Areas, and Parking

July 4 is one of the busiest holidays at Lake Tahoe. Visitors should arrive early as parking areas at beaches, picnic areas and trailheads fill up quickly. Due to our wet winter, Lake Tahoe is approaching its maximum limit. Beachgoers can expect Lake Tahoe beaches to be smaller and narrower than previous years due to high-water levels. Beaches with vegetation or rocky shoreline may be inaccessible. We suggest visitors arrive early to beat the crowds and use this opportunity to explore new areas.

Campsites should be reserved before traveling to Tahoe and are typically at capacity this time of year. View a list of Lake Tahoe campgrounds and keep in mind, camping at Lake Tahoe is only permitted in these designated campgrounds. Dispersed or “car camping” is not allowed. View the camping restrictions forest order

Consider public transportation as holiday traffic causes extremely crowded roads and parking areas. Walk, carpool, or bicycle to avoid limited parking in crowded recreation areas, heavy traffic and delays after the firework displays.

At most developed recreation sites, parking is only permitted in designated parking spaces inside parking lots, not along the roadway. Vehicles should avoid blocking gates, road access or narrow lanes which could delay emergency response vehicles. Where parking on the side of the road is allowed, please avoid parking on vegetation as this causes damage to the environment and can spark a wildfire.

To cover increased security and facility maintenance costs of the holiday, day-use parking fees on July 4 will be $40 at Baldwin, Nevada, and Pope beaches, and $20 at Meeks Bay Resort. The increased fee at Zephyr Cove Resort will be $40 (each day) July 1-4. 

Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute

Trash and debris left behind can be harmful and even fatal to wildlife. It represents a human health hazard and degrades Lake Tahoe. Every year, volunteers pick up thousands of pounds of trash left behind after holiday weekends. Plan ahead and bring a trash bag in case trash cans and dumpsters are full or unavailable. Never leave trash outside of or on top of receptacles. Become part of the solution and pack out your own garbage. Learn more about Leave No Trace Principles.

Consider volunteering for the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s 10th Annual Keep Tahoe Red, White and Blue Beach Clean-Up from 8–11:30 am on Wednesday, July 5, to help clean-up sites all around Lake Tahoe.


Lake Tahoe is bear country. Help keep Tahoe bears wild by properly securing food, garbage, and other scented items. Never approach bears or cubs, always keep your distance, and don’t feed bears or other wildlife, it’s illegal. Feeding wildlife encourages them to enter human occupied areas to seek out human food and garbage and disturbs their natural feeding habits. Bear canisters are required for overnight visits to Desolation Wilderness and are highly recommended in other backcountry areas. Visit Tahoe Bears.Org and BearWise for more information on co-existing with bears.

Cold Water

Visitors should be aware our enormous snowpack is melting, and rivers, creeks and streams are still flowing high, fast, and cold! Exposure to snowmelt water can be life-threatening. Never swim alone, always wear approved life jackets, keep a close eye on children and pets, and avoid strong currents. Wearing a life jacket even if you’re a strong swimmer significantly increases your chance of survival. Visit these links to learn more about cold water safetycold water shock, and water and waterfall safety.

Backcountry Safety

Backcountry enthusiasts should always tell a family member or friend where they are going, when they expect to return and then stick to the plan. Always check the weather before heading out on the trail. Sturdy footwear, proper clothing and gear is essential, and an old-fashioned paper map and compass can come in handy on snow-covered trails. Always travel with a buddy, never alone. Keep in mind that mobile devices may not work in remote areas. Develop an emergency plan in case you cannot call for help.


Weather in the mountains can change rapidly. Summers are usually warm in the afternoon and cold at night. Afternoon thunderstorms are typical in the summer, and snow is possible during any month of the year. Be prepared for changeable weather and bring clothing that will keep you warm and dry. Always check the forecast before heading into the backcountry and follow National Weather Service Reno or Sacramento Facebook pages for the latest updates.

For more information on recreating responsibly, visit Know Before You Go and Recreate Responsibly. Visit the LTBMU website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and information.

The LTBMU wishes everyone a safe and fun Independence Day!

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