Lake Tahoe Basin Management Area

Leave review

About Lake Tahoe Basin Management Area

Lake Tahoe Basin is the southern shore of Lake Tahoe, encompassing several gorgeous wilderness areas like the famous Desolation Wilderness, many small alpine lakes, dreamy forests, and wildflower meadows. You can do everything and anything here: jet ski, fish for trout, kayak down the Truckee River, explore the beautiful untouched backcountry, ride one of the best OHV trails in the country, engage in all sorts of snow sports in this winter wonderland, and so much more! The hotspots in Tahoe can become very crowded, so make sure you take the opportunity to explore this national forest instead!

Campgrounds in Lake Tahoe Basin

Fallen Leaf Campground

1. Fallen Leaf Campground

90% Recommend (5 Campers)

If you’re looking for a late summer-early fall getaway, Fallen Leaf Campground has your name written all over it. Lesser known than its neighbor,...

Tam
Tam: Great place! Super clean fully enclosed bathrooms w/ showers, pressure-washed daily. Bring quarters - $1 for 3 min of hot...
101 Saves
William Kent Campground

2. William Kent Campground

Mountain bikers, assemble! William Kent Campground is the perfect place to don those biking shorts and head to the trails. Bike along Lake Tahoe,...

Kate
Kate: This was a great little spot just outside Tahoe city, about a 5 minute drive from the high street. We were really lucky to find...
23 Saves
Camp Richardson

3. Camp Richardson

As you plan your visit, please check out the official campground webpage on the Forest Service website to find information on seasonal closures,...

16 Saves
Meeks Bay Campground

4. Meeks Bay Campground

As you plan your visit, please check out the official campground webpage on the Forest Service website to find information on seasonal closures,...

B
B: Best part about this campground is that it has great beach access - all sites are just a short stroll away from the lake....
14 Saves
Nevada Beach Campground

5. Nevada Beach Campground

Beach-front camping… The shores of Lake Tahoe… Could it get any dreamier? At Nevada Beach Campground, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy a...

6 Saves
Kaspian Campground

6. Kaspian Campground

Your Tahoe adventure begins here, at Kaspian Campground, on the western shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Towering over this tent-only campground is...

6 Saves
Meiss Country Roadless Area

7. Meiss Country Roadless Area

As you plan your visit, please check out the official campground webpage on the Forest Service website to find information on seasonal closures,...

Josh
Josh: Dardanelles Lake is a beauty just a few miles from the Big Meadow trailhead. Dispersed camping, so no fire pits or picnic...
6 Saves
Zephyr Cove Resort & Campground

8. Zephyr Cove Resort & Campground

As you plan your visit, please check out the official campground webpage on the Forest Service website to find information on seasonal closures,...

Lana
Lana: Phone number for this camp ground is actually 775-589-4907
4 Saves
Bayview Campground

9. Bayview Campground

As you plan your visit, please check out the official campground webpage on the Forest Service website to find information on seasonal closures,...

Will
Will: This campground provides no privacy or isolation. It's located next to the very busy Inspiration Point and the popular Cascade...
3 Saves

17 Reviews

750
No one? Bueller? Sharing is caring, y'all.
Drop some Lake Tahoe Basin knowledge on us.
Hipcamper Tam

Great place! Super clean fully enclosed bathrooms w/ showers, pressure-washed daily. Bring quarters - $1 for 3 min of hot showering. 5 min walk or less from your site to Fallen Leaf Lake, bring your floats/boards/kayaks.

Helpful 2
Helpful 2
Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Megan

Fun campground for hanging out with friends. Not much privacy but enough wooded area for the kids to run through. Bring your bike! Trails connect to bike trail system from the campground. Right on 89 are some great places for sandwiches, coffee, etc...

Helpful 1
Helpful 1
Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Tam

Visit nearby Camp Richardson if you're looking for some civilization. There's a general store, beach w/ rentals, bike rental, bar for a drink, or a giant ice cream cone. It's about a 15 min walk, 5 min bike ride, or 5 min drive.

Helpful 1
Helpful 1
Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Will

This campground provides no privacy or isolation. It's located next to the very busy Inspiration Point and the popular Cascade Falls hiking trail. Both those attractions are beautiful and crowded. The campground itself consists of car-camping spots packed.

Helpful 1
Helpful 1
Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Kalai

Heavy traffic during daytime cause it´s located at the trail head of Cascade Falls and Desolation Wilderness. My tip is that you hike and play the whole day and come to sleep and enjoy the campground at night when everyone is gone!. Very convenient spot

Hipcamper B

Best part about this campground is that it has great beach access - all sites are just a short stroll away from the lake. Unfortunately, the sites are pretty small and tightly packed, so there is not much privacy. The campground is also really close to Highway 89 which makes it pretty loud during the day - you can hear the cars zooming by. Not a bad place to stay if you want to explore the Tahoe area but definitely not a campsite at which I would recommend spending too much time.

Hipcamper B

Also - this campground does accept bookings and is generally booked up so do not expect to be able to walk in.

Hipcamper A
A

The Stream Profile Chamber by the Taylor Creek Visitor Center has really cool views of Taylor Creek, where you can learn about the stream environment and look through huge glass windows! Excellent for those interested in conservation and environmental education.

Hipcamper A
A

There’s a Shakespeare festival every summer!

Hipcamper A
A

Take the Gondola at Heavenly up to Adventure Peak for absolutely incredible views!

Hipcamper A
A

Be sure to spend some time in Desolation Wilderness (it’s not as desolate as it sounds)!

Hipcamper A
A

The Valhalla is “Viking heaven,” a beautiful building available for weddings and other event rentals, with a boathouse, community theatre, and twin guest cabins that sell arts and crafts, all of which support the annual Arts and Music Festival!

Hipcamper A
A

The Tallac Historic Site used to be THE spot… the “grandest resort in the world,” which housed the three most socially elite families in the Bay. Now, this resort celebrates its history with programs, guided walks, and all sorts of activities; not to mention the snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter.

Hipcamper Josh

Dardanelles Lake is a beauty just a few miles from the Big Meadow trailhead. Dispersed camping, so no fire pits or picnic tables, but an alpine lake all to yourself is worth that.

Hipcamper Josh

http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/big-meadow-to-dardanelles-lake-trail

Hipcamper Kate

This was a great little spot just outside Tahoe city, about a 5 minute drive from the high street. We were really lucky to find a campground that was open on the east side of the lake as the summer season had only just opened the day before we arrived!! Situated right across the road from the lake, William Kent is a large campground fitted with about 70 sites. As we were staying really early in the season there was only about 4-5 other guests staying around the camp which made for a lovely peaceful night. There is the sweetest deli right across the road that is fully stocked with go that is fully stocked with gourmet produce that is open late on weekends! $35 to camp, large sites & clean toilets would definitely stay again!

Hipcamper Lana

Phone number for this camp ground is actually 775-589-4907

History of Lake Tahoe Basin Management Area

In 1973, this most unique area of America's National Forest System was established. The establishment of the LTBMU was not really the creation of a "new" National Forest, but rather a re-organization of National Forest Lands that had already existed in the Tahoe Basin since 1899. In the last year of the 19th century, President McKinley created the "Lake Tahoe Forest Reserve" to conserve the remaining forests of the basin following the decades of logging for the Comstock mining boom. National Forests were beginning to be established over the years since 1891, and the Lake Tahoe Forest Reserve would officially enter the National Forest System when the U.S. Forest Service was established in 1905.

Creation of the Lake Tahoe Forest Reserve was the first official step in a process of conservation at the Tahoe Basin that is now over a century in development. As the years rolled on, the reserve lands of the basin were divided between three large and separate National Forests that surrounded the basin on three sides. To the east was the Toiyabe, to the south and west was the Eldorado, and to the north the Tahoe National Forest. Each of these separately managed forests had land reaching into the basin, yet most all of the shoreline land was privately held.

By the 1960s development around Lake Tahoe was in high gear, while early attempts at regional planning were being forged. By the early years of the 1970s, it became clear to Forest Service managers that the divided forest management of the basin hindered a unified approach to public land management. The Forest Service and the National Forests they managed were changing. Science and ecosystem-management were becoming more important tools for the Rangers and Foresters. Urbanization and development were clashing with a growing environmental awareness of the public. To manage the values and resources of the Tahoe Basin effectively into this new future, the National Forest Land of the basin needed its own unique "management unit."

In April of 1973, the National Forest Lands of the basin were consolidated into the new Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. This new and unusual sort of forest area would be small in comparison to other National Forests, yet its issues, resources and values would in comparison remain very large. A core job for the new unit would be comprehensive watershed protection and restoration, as part of an ecosystem approach to management. The forests, the wildlife, the soil, as well as the recreational values and uses would be managed as a dynamic system.
As the largest land manager of the basin, the Forest Service has, and will continue to play a key role in managing, conserving and improving the lands that contribute so much to the quality of Lake Tahoe, its special communities, lifestyle and experiences.