Spooner Backcountry


Nevada Nordic Cross Country Ski Club http://nevadanordic.org/

The Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park Spooner Backcountry is a widespread recreational and natural oasis. Spooner Lake, at the intersection of State Route 28 and U.S. 50, is popular for picnicking and catch-and-release fishing. It is also home to the new Spooner Summit rental concession. Services include an overnight stay in backcountry cabins and mountain bike rentals for riding miles of trails in the summer months. Spooner Lake is also a major trailhead for gaining access to the Spooner Backcountry. The backcountry comprises more than 12,000 acres of forested open space with over 50 miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails and primitive roads. Vehicles are not permitted in the backcountry, which has been designated as a state primitive area. A few of the more popular trails in this area are the Marlette and Red House Flumes as well as the Tahoe Rim Trail that runs along the crest of the Carson Range.


  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Winter Sports
  • Picknicking
  • Group Picnicking
  • Trails
  • Nature Study
  • Historic Sites
  • Pets Allowed
  • Fees


PO Box 6116 Incline Village, Nevada 89452 Phone: (775) 831-0494

During Peak season -(775)749-5980 Email


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Road Conditions

Miles of Trails 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 (TRT) wind in and out of the park. The TRT 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. Roaded 4-wheel drive access into the Spooner Backcountry is available out of Carson City via Ash Canyon Road and reaches the park boundary about a half mile from Hobart Reservoir. Other roadways that lead into the backcountry but only allow permitted vehicles include Tunnel Creek Road (west side of park) and Lakeview Road (east side of park).

Hours – Open 24 hours. No gates at the entrance due to overnight campers in the backcountry and late visitors due to various reasons and emergencies. Also fishing is allowed two hours after sunset at Spooner Lake. From sun-up to sundown there is no overnight parking except for cabin and backpacking visitors.

Camping Camping is allowed at no charge (entry fees still apply) only in three primitive, walk-in campgrounds: Marlette Peak, Hobart and North Canyon. Each campground has a toilet and four or five camp sites with picnic tables, fire rings and bear resistant food and trash storage boxes. While camping, store food and trash in these boxes. 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.

Fishing Fishing is a favorite backcountry activity. A Nevada fishing license is required. 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. Report violators to the Nevada Department of Wildlife at (800) 992-3030.

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.

Pack It In, Pack It Out Trash is not collected in the backcountry. Please pack out all trash.

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.

The Spooner Summit Rental Concession Come visit the new concession operation in the upper part of the parking lot. Whether you make a day out of it and rent one of our Kona bikes or enjoy a few days of blissful solitude at one of our two Scandinavian style hand-hewn log cabins, you'll experience the best of Lake Tahoe mountain biking and an unforgettable getaway. The Spooner and Wildcat cabins are only available for rent during the summer season at this time but winter rentals may be coming soon. For more information, visit www.zephyrcove.com.

Motor Vehicles The backcountry is managed as a non-motorized area to preserve the area’s ecological and recreational attributes. Only motorized vehicles displaying official agency designations or a State Parks motorized vehicle permit are allowed in the backcountry. Please report violators by calling (775) 831-0494.

Environmental Improvement: Pardon our Dust Occasionally you will encounter State Parks, fire, wildlife and other official vehicles in the backcountry on water system, ecological restoration and park business. Nevada’s Tahoe Resource Team implements environmental improvement projects in the park in response to a 1997 presidential forum promoting the protection and improvement of Lake Tahoe’s water quality and outstanding environmental resources. These projects are designed to improve water quality, control erosion, enhance wildlife habitat, restore forest health and improve recreation opportunities. Environmental projects mean that there may be vehicle traffic, chainsaw and tree chipper noise, trail crews and construction. Please excuse any inconvenience.

More than Recreation The backcountry is more than a recreational playground and an ecological resource. It is also the site of the Marlette Water System, the water provider for Virginia City, Gold Hill, Silver City and parts of Carson City. Developed in the last half of the 1800s to furnish the timber and water required by the gold and silver mines in Virginia City and Gold Hill, the system is comprised of Marlette Lake, Hobart Reservoir and an intricate system of flumes and pipelines. The Marlette Flume and another flume from the north entered a 4,000 foot tunnel that emptied on the east side of the Carson Range and joined the Inverted Siphon, the key pipeline of the Comstock era. This high pressure pipeline brought water to a reservoir near Virginia City. It could deliver up to 10 million gallons a day. This pipeline is still in use.