Winter Weather Returns

This morning it’s cool and breezy. A wind warning goes into effect at 11 AM so it’s likely to get much breezier

Beginning tonight there is cold, winter-like weather coming in with some snow, frosty winds, and slick roads for much of the day Sunday and all of Sunday night.

Get out the jackets and tire chains, they may come in handy.

Yosemite News


Photo: Yosemite Conservancy

Here are a couple of items about Yosemite National Park.

For you adventurous folks, the Half Dome cables will be up beginning Friday, June 2. I believe reservations are necessary so you might want to check in advance.

Crews on Tioga Road (SR 120) are still plowing through deep snow of 6′ to 10′ and drifts as deep as 20′. It will probably be the latter part of June before the road is opened. Till then there is no access to the park from the east via the Tioga Pass entrance.

Recreation Facilities Opening Dates

Springtime has finally arrived at Lake Tahoe. Our extraordinarily deep snowpack has started to slowly melt and with the lake level already unusually high officials are releasing a considerable amount water through the dam at Tahoe City to make room for the runoff from the higher elevations.

A few ski resorts closed for the season last weekend and several more closed today. They all still had tons of snow but with the arrival of warmer weather the number of skiers dropped considerably.

Below is the USFS list of projected opening dates for summer recreational sites around the lake.


Opening/closing dates for campgrounds, beaches, and forest roads

Scroll down to find projected opening dates for campgrounds, day-use areas, beaches, general recreation areas, interpretive sites, picnic sites and resorts in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Campgrounds and day-use areas typically open in mid-May and close in mid-October.

Please note: Dates are subject to change. Trailheads remain open year-round, but gate/road opening and closing dates are determined by the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the Lake Tahoe Basin. To learn more about the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) or to download a copy, visit Free copies of the MVUM are available at the Forest Supervisor’s office at 35 College Drive in South Lake Tahoe.
Developed Campgrounds

Developed campgrounds offer a range of amenities for the tent or RV camper. All developed campgrounds at Lake Tahoe charge a fee and there are many around the Basin to choose from. Reservations must be made through The open season for campgrounds is dependent on snowfall, but they are generally open from mid-May to mid-October. For more information on developed campgrounds as well as wilderness camping and campfire permits, visit
Taylor Creek Visitor Center

The Taylor Creek Visitor Center facilities (grounds are open year-round) are generally open daily beginning Memorial Day weekend through the month of October. Hours may vary. Restrooms are available at the Visitor Center only during hours of operation. The Stream Profile Chamber closes 30 minutes before the Visitor Center. For more information, visit, or call the Forest Supervisor’s office at (530) 543-2694.
Tallac Historic Site

The Tallac Historic Site facilities (grounds are open year-round) are generally open Memorial Day weekend through mid-September. For more information, visit, or call the Forest Supervisor’s office at (530) 543-2694.
Facility Open/Close Date

64 Acres Beach Year-round (walking access)

Angora Road/Lookout May 25 through Nov. 15

Angora Resort Mid-June through mid-Sep.

Baldwin Beach April 29 through Oct. 15

Bayview Campground May 12 through Oct. 15

Bayview Trailhead Year-round (restrooms/trash service May 13 – Oct. 15)

Big Meadow Trailhead May 1 through Nov. 15 (restrooms/trash service May 26 – Oct. 27)

Blackwood Canyon Campground June 1 through Nov. 15 (Restrooms/trash service June 1 – Oct. 29)

Camp Richardson Resort Restaurant open year-round
RV park – May 26 through Oct. 30
Eagle’s Nest – June 12 through Oct. 3
Badger’s Den – June 12 through Oct. 3

Chimney Beach May 1 through Oct. 31 (restrooms/trash service May 26 – Oct. 27)

Eagle Falls Year-round (restrooms/trash service May 19 – Oct. 29)

Echo Chalet Mid-June through Labor Day

Echo Lakes Trailhead Year-round (restrooms/trash service May 26 – Oct. 27)

Explore Tahoe Year-round

Fallen Leaf Campground May 12 through Oct. 15

Glen Alpine Trailhead Year-round (restrooms/trash service May 26 – Oct. 27)

Kaspian Beach May 12 through Oct. 15

Kaspian Campground May 12 through Oct. 15

Kiva Picnic Area May 1 through Nov. 15 (restrooms/trash service April 29 – Oct. 29)

Inspiration Point Early spring through late fall (restrooms/trash service April 15 – Nov. 26)

Logan Shoals Vista Year-round (restrooms/services May 26 through Oct 27

Luther Pass Campground May 25 through Nov. 15 (restrooms/services May 26 – Oct. 27)

Meeks Bay Beach May 12 through Oct. 16

Meeks Bay Campground May 12 through Oct. 16

Meeks Bay Resort May 12 through Oct. 16

Meeks Trailhead Year-round (walking access)

Nevada Beach April 29 through Oct. 15

Nevada Beach Campground May 12 through Oct. 15

Pope Beach May 26 through Oct. 15

Round Hill Resort Mid May through Oct. 1

Sand Pit OHV area May 10 through Nov. 15

Sawmill Pond Picnic Area May 15 through Nov. 20 (restrooms/trash services May 26 – Oct. 27)

Secret Harbor May 1 through Nov. 15 (restrooms/trash services May 26 – Oct. 27)

Stateline Lookout Year-round (walking access) (restrooms/trash services May 26 – Oct. 27)

Tallac Historic Site The gate opens May 1 through Nov. 15, 2017. (restrooms/trash services May 27 – Sep. 24)
(grounds open year-round)

Tallac Trailhead Year-round (walking access)

Taylor Creek Visitor Center May 19 through Nov. 15 (restrooms/trash services May 19 – Oct. 30)
(grounds open year-round)

Watson Lake June 1 through Nov. 15 (restrooms/trash services June 1 – Oct. 29)

William Kent Beach May 12 through Oct. 16

William Kent Campground May 12 through Oct. 16

Zephyr Cove Resort Year-round

Looking Ahead

As Spring begins there is already considerable snowmelt occurring in the lower elevations, especially around lake level. In fact many places are completely snow-free.

The lake is only a couple of feet below what’s considered completely full and is expected to reach that level once the runoff from the upper elevations begins. They’ve been releasing water through three gates at the dam and as the lake continues to rise more gates will probably have to be opened.

Needless to say there will be plenty of rafting opportunities this Spring and Summer. In fact there may be too much water for awhile because there are some low clearance bridges between the dam and the take-out point and if the water is too high a raft can’t pass under them.

The roads took a real beating this past winter so be prepared for a lot of delays while the road crews work to repair potholes and such. Hey, if you gotta be stuck in traffic there probably isn’t a more scenic place to sit and wait than Tahoe.

Active Weather

After about a week of warm and mostly sunny days, unsettled weather is due to return to Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada for the next week.

The weather service is predicting a series of storms consisting of rain or snow, depending on the elevation. Probably mostly rain at lake level.

The passes will probably be snow covered however so driving over them may be a challenge.


First Visit To Lake Tahoe – Part 1

In the 1980s we were on a trip out west. We stopped at the junction of US 6 and SR 120 to get gas. I wanted to go to Yosemite so we asked if Tioga Pass was open. We were told they were still clearing the winter snow so it was still closed.

We headed west on SR 120. That road was a constantly up and down affair, like a roller coaster made up of continuous small dips. When we got to US 395 we followed it north and just outside of the town of Lee Vining we came to the junction of Tioga road. Sure enough, it was closed.

I really wanted to see Yosemite but we would have to go considerably out of the way to get there. My wife said that was ok, we could visit Lake Tahoe on the way. I’d never been there…in fact I’d never even heard of it.

It was already dark as we drove on through Lee Vining and continued northward. After what seemed like forever we entered the little town of Gardnerville and then Minden. Just outside Minden we pulled into a rest area.

I asked my wife how much further was Tahoe and she said it was up in the mountains just west of us. I told her I was exhausted and asked her to drive. We changed places and she headed for the mountains.

When we got over to the foothills things seemed a bit confusing for there was an arrow and a sign that said Lake Tahoe yet there was a partial barricade and a second arrow pointing a different direction. We finally decided to take the road that looked like it headed up the mountain to the lake.

After following what seemed like the narrowest and curve-filled road imaginable we finally arrived at the casinos. Since I had never been in a casino we parked and went into a couple of them for a little while. Soon, however, exhaustion overcame us and we found a nice motel room close by for some much needed rest.

In a future post I’ll continue this with the events of the next day when I actually got my first view of the lake.