About Spooner Lake & Backcountry
Nestled in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Spooner Backcountry is a widespread recreational and natural oasis, with a lake surrounded by aspens and more than 12,000 acres of forested, open space. The park features 50 miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails and primitive roads. A few of the more popular trails are the Marlette, Red House, Flume and Tahoe Rim Trails. Camping and cabins are also available. The Spooner Lake Cabin sleeps four people comfortably and Wildcat Cabin sleeps two. Both cabins have basic amenities such as composting toilets, beds, cook stoves and wood burning stoves.
Facilities & Amenities:
NEW! Spooner Lake Visitor Center & Amphitheater: The new visitor center and amphitheater will serve as the heart of Spooner's natural and cultural history programs and ranger-led hikes and tours, as well as provide a one-of-a-kind outdoor science venue for students. The project will also serve as a major portal to more than 60 miles of paths and trails spanning 13,000 acres of spectacular non-motorized primitive wilderness within the Lake Tahoe Basin. Read more about the Spooner Lake Park Improvement Project.
Camping: Camping is allowed in three primitive, walk-in campgrounds: Marlette Peak, Hobart and North Canyon. Each campground has a restroom and camp sites with picnic tables, fire rings and bear resistant food and trash storage boxes. While camping, store food and trash in these boxes. Pack it in, pack it out: when you depart, remove all food and trash from the boxes so they are available for use by other campers. Dispersed camping is not allowed around Marlette Lake or anywhere else within park boundaries. A camping limit of 14 days in a 30-day period is enforced.
Cabin Rentals: The Park also manages two backcountry cabins. The Spooner Lake Cabin (available May 1 - October 15) is located just north of Spooner Lake and sleeps four people comfortably. If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, the Wildcat Cabin (available May 1 - October 15) is approximately 2.5 miles up North Canyon (several hundred yards east of the road) and sleeps two. Both cabins have basic amenities such as composting toilets, beds, cook stoves and wood burning stoves, but other items such as sleeping bags, food and utensils will need to be packed in. Please contact the park for more information.
Hiking: The 5-mile trail to Marlette Lake via North Canyon Road is the most popular backcountry trail. A hiker and horse trail parallels this road for four miles. Access is from Spooner Lake, which is surrounded by a flat 2-mile trail that offers excellent opportunities for nature study.
The famous and historic 4.4-mile Marlette Flume Trail is accessed from the south via North Canyon or from the north via the steeper Tunnel Creek Road. Thirteen miles of the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail wind in and out of the park. The Marlette Flume Trail is closed to bikes between Hobart Road and Spooner Summit. The segment north of the park, between Tunnel Creek Road and the Mount Rose Highway, is open to bikes even days only.
Fishing: Fishing is a favorite backcountry activity. A Nevada fishing license is required and can be purchased online at ndow.org. At Spooner Lake, the limit is five and bait is allowed. The Marlette Lake season runs July 15 through September 30 and is catch-and-release only. Use only artificial lures and single barbless hooks in this catch-and-release lake. The Hobart Reservoir season runs May 1 through September 30. The limit is five, and only one may be longer than 14 inches. Only artificial lures and single barbless hooks are allowed.
Hunting: Hunters enjoy the backcountry in accordance with Nevada Department of Wildlife regulations and State Parks’ administrative authority. Please call the park for more information on hunting areas, or click here for a map of the No Hunting Zones in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park / Spooner Backcountry.
Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing: The park has entered into a partnership with Nevada Nordic, a non-profit group whose goal is to bring groomed ski trails to Nevada. The community ski trail grooming is free to the public and supported completely by donations. Cross-country skiers and snowshoe users are welcome, but all visitors should be careful not to damage the skiing surface or tracks. Groomed trails are located on the south side of Spooner Lake in Spooner Meadow and up North Canyon to Marlette Lake, snow permitting.
View an interview with Park Supervisor Jay Howard about the recreational opportunities in the Spooner Backcountry.
Volunteer Opportunities: Backcountry volunteer opportunities are available. Contact the park office at (775) 831-0494 or the Tahoe Rim Trail Association at 775-588-0686.
Programs: Information about program scheduling may be obtained from either park staff or kiosks. Upon request, special presentations can be arranged for groups.
American Discovery Trail: The American Discovery Trail is a great way to experience Nevada's beautiful and rugged backcountry. The Nevada portion of this 6,800+ mile trail covers 500 miles of Nevada's remarkable landscape, traversing 14 mountain ranges and challenging its explorers to a total climb of 34,000 feet! Six of Nevada's State Parks can be accessed by way of this route, including Spooner Lake State Park. Stay with Nevada State Parks while exploring the American Discovery Trail!