Luther Pass Campground is the only free, established campground in the Lake Tahoe basin.
The campground is set in a large wooded area next to a meadow at the Tahoe Rim Trail Big Meadow Trailhead. There are fire rings, picnic tables, food storage, and vault toilets available at Luther Pass Campground.
Campsites are considered “dispersed” but are all within yelling distance of each other. You will still have more privacy than other established campgrounds in Lake Tahoe. Some of the sites are right next to parking spaces while others are positioned up to 50 yards back.
The road is steep, narrow, and curvy, and parking is limited. Large motorhomes and trailers greater than 25′ are not advised. Long vehicles may bottom-out at the west entrance to the campground.
Luther Pass Campground is extremely busy during the summer, especially on weekends. It is 15 minutes south of South Lake Tahoe, free, and right on the Tahoe Rim Trail, all contributing to its use. It’s also one of our picks for the best fall season campgrounds in Lake Tahoe.
Luther Pass Campground Activities
Luther Pass Campground makes a great base for mountain biking the Tahoe Rim Trail. Mountain biking is permitted without restriction 35.6 miles north up to Spooner Summit, and 5.2 miles south to the connector to the Pacific Crest Trail.
There is also a lot of great hiking near Luther Pass, mostly along the Tahoe Rim Trail. Freel Peak, the tallest peak around Tahoe at 10,881′, is probably a little far for an out-and-back at around 13 miles, but there is some great camping below the peak on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Hiking trails south of Luther Pass Campground will take you to scenic Big Meadow, where you can occasionally find small fish in Meadow Creek. Other trails will take you to Scotts Lake, Dardanelles Lake, and Round Lake, all within a few miles of Luther Pass.
Hopping in your car or on your bike, you’re 4.6 miles from Meyers where you will find Holiday Market grocery (formerly Lira’s), Freel Perk Coffee, Burger Lounge Meyers, Meyers Downtown Cafe, and Bob Dog Pizza. But our favorites are The Getaway Cafe (breakfast & lunch) and The Divided Sky (bar, sandwiches & salads).