Camping on the Tahoe Rim Trail

tahoe rim trail
Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, and Fannette Island from South Camp Peak. Photo John Peltier

The Tahoe Rim Trail offers some of the best free camping opportunities in Lake Tahoe, but you’ll have to work for them.

It would be futile to try to add all of the campsites on the Tahoe Rim Trail to this map.  You can quite literally camp anywhere along the 165-mile trail (with a couple of exceptions).

This map will instead highlight the Tahoe Rim Trail trailheads and selected campsites to get you started on planning an overnighter.

Visit the Tahoe Rim Trail Association for section maps and more info about Tahoe’s signature trail.

Rules for camping on the Tahoe Rim Trail

  • You may camp almost anywhere along the Tahoe Rim Trail provided you are at least 200 feet from water and between 100 to 300 feet from the trail corridor.  Remain within 300 feet of the trail.
  • Exception. Permits are required for camping in the Desolation Wilderness.  Only thru-hikers may bypass the quota system.  More information on Desolation Wilderness permits.
  • Exception. Camping is only allowed at three campsites in the Spooner Backcountry.  The three sites are Marlette Peak, Hobart, and North Canyon.  The Spooner Backcountry extends from Tunnel Creek in the north to Spooner Lake in the south.
  • Permits are not required for Granite Chief and Mt. Rose Wilderness areas.
  • Dogs are allowed along the Tahoe Rim Trail and must be kept in control at all times.  Always have a leash ready.
  • Campfires are generally prohibited in the Lake Tahoe Basin.  There may be one or two small areas without restrictions, but it’s just a better idea to forgo this camping tradition in the Lake Tahoe tinderbox.
  • The Tahoe Rim Trail Association has the most current rules for camping.