Updated May 28, 2020
El Dorado County has lifted its non-essential travel ban and associated fine, but the Governor’s proclamation prohibiting non-essential travel still stands. Casinos and hotels are all still closed.
A lot of people have been wondering where you can camp in Lake Tahoe with Coronavirus restrictions.
Well, as of this writing (late April) almost all campgrounds are still seasonally closed. Things don’t normally open up until mid to late May due to snow (which was light this past winter).
Additionally, Zephyr Cove Resort, Sugar Pine Point State Park, the Spooner Backcountry, and Tahoe Valley Campground, which are normally open for most of the year, have closed to manage the spread of Coronavirus.
South Lake Tahoe Recreation Corridor
Update: The Recreation Corridor is now open, but non-essential travel is still prohibited.
The US Forest Service has temporarily closed all sites in the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Corridor until further notice. They include:
- Camp Richardson
- Fallen Leaf Campground & trails/beaches
- Pope-Baldwin Bike Path
- Pope Beach
- Baldwin Beach
- Tallac Historic Site & Beach
- Kiva Beach
- Taylor Creek
Rangers are issuing fines of up to $5,000 for individuals found violating this order.
Luther Pass Campground, Meeks Bay Resort, and Tahoe Valley Campground all plan to open in mid-May. The other Forest Service campgrounds are slated to open in late May as usually happens every year, but that’s subject to change due to the Coronavirus.
Please check the following links for the most current information on National Forest & state park campground openings:
- Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (South Tahoe/West Shore)
- Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (Mt. Rose)
- Tahoe National Forest (Truckee area)
- California State Parks COVID-19 Updates
- Nevada State Parks COVID-19 Updates
Should you camp in Lake Tahoe during Coronavirus?
So a few Lake Tahoe campgrounds are open during COVID-19. Does that mean you should camp?
Lake Tahoe’s infrastructure has been struggling for years to keep up with increasing tourism numbers. Anyone who has tried driving any road circumnavigating Lake Tahoe during the summer, unfortunately, knows this.
The infrastructure is especially strained now with a 100-year pandemic. Grocery stores are struggling to keep the shelves stocked enough just to feed the residents. Hospitals, which are already under-equipped to handle medical emergencies during peak seasons, are not capable of handling an outbreak in the Tahoe basin.
First responders are walking a fine line between keeping the public safe and keeping themselves safe. If they get sick, there will be no one left to assist in emergencies. Lake Tahoe’s outstanding Search and Rescue teams are an all-volunteer force, and asking them to rescue you during an ill-advised wilderness outing isn’t fair to them.
Additionally, “going to Tahoe to quarantine” is not quarantining; it’s a violation of state, county, and local “no travel” orders, and you risk being fined.
It sucks. Lake Tahoe depends on tourism. Long-established businesses are closing their doors, some for good. Many are out of work.
But visiting Lake Tahoe to “support the economy” is not the support we need during this time. We need to take care of ourselves, and we can’t do that if we’re also taking care of our valuable guests.
Nothing is open. There is nothing to do. There is no reason to come to Lake Tahoe right now. Please, stay home and take care of yourself and your family.
If we all fight this together as a team right now, the quicker we can all get back to the life we love.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to sharing our beautiful home with you once this is over.