RV Camping in The Lake Tahoe Region
Portrayed with love as the “Jewel of the Sierras,” Lake Tahoe’s alpine waters sparkle in the summer sun and glisten in the winter snows. Her bottom is visible to a depth of 100 feet in places, and her crystal waters never freeze!
The lake is nestled in a high sierra valley (6230 ft.) and is 22 miles long, 12 miles wide. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America – and truly the “Jewel of the Sierras.” As such, the surrounding Tahoe region must be appreciated as the forest-green brooch that clasps this azure jewel.
The Tahoe Area
Lake Tahoe straddles the California-Nevada border and is embraced by forested mountains. In California, the Eldorado National Forest spreads to the southwest, while the Tahoe National Forest is actually northwest of the lake. The beautiful Toiyabe National Forest covers the Nevada shoreline.
California highways 89 and 28, Nevada Highway 28 and Federal Highway 50 combine to provide an approximately 75-mile drive around the lake. The loop is a beautiful and interesting drive – well worth an afternoon’s time! This gorgeous area is a year-round playland, with skiing in winter and, of course, camping and water sports in summer.
Lake Tahoe Campgrounds and Parks
There are many nice parks and campgrounds along Tahoe’s California shoreline, but they are surprisingly absent on the Nevada side of the lake. Nevada’s Lake Tahoe State Park provides a host of outdoor activities, lovely beaches, and rental cabins – but no camping facilities. You can find casinos and all the gambling you may desire at Stateline, Nevada. The city of South Lake Tahoe is just 10 miles south of the park. Emerald Bay is not for everyone, however, as it has a 22-foot limit on RVs.
Adjacent to Emerald Bay and just north of it, D.L. Bliss State Park offers a wonderful swimming beach and is open year-round. Bliss has some great hiking and nature trails, a 114-site campground with an 18-foot limit and a dump station.
Further north, Sugar Pine Point State Park is the largest of the California Lake Tahoe parks and provides fantastic deep trout and salmon fishing. A heavily wooded, natural area, it has 125 sites and is open all year. A dump station is among its many amenities. This is the right park for larger RVs, with a 32-foot RV limit. Sugar Pine is about 10 miles south of Tahoe City. For information on the other California State Parks near Lake Tahoe, Park-Net provides a complete listing at its Park Search web site.
Places to Go/Things to See
There are activities and attractions to fit everyone’s taste in this magnificent and diverse Tahoe Region. Carson City (named for Kit Carson) is but a 25-mile drive east of South Lake Tahoe. Virginia City, with its gold and silver past, is about 30 miles northeast of Carson City. The Donner Memorial and lake is only a 20-mile drive north of Tahoe City via highway 89.
If you are driving to Tahoe from the south, California Highway 4 out of Stockton is an unforgettable drive! This route takes you through California’s old gold-camp country, through Bear Valley and over Ebbetts Pass (elev. 8730 ft.).
Indeed, much can be written on Lake Tahoe. Winter sports are fantastic in this region, but camping between the months of May and September is hard to beat! No matter what your idea of a camping vacation may be, Lake Tahoe can fit the bill.