Washoe Meadows State Park

Copyright © 2016 by Jared Manninen

Washoe Meadows State Park is open year-round. Hike and mountain bike in the park during the warmer months and snowshoe and cross-country ski in the snowy ones. Angora Creek and the Upper Truckee River run through Washoe Meadows, so much of the park’s terrain is moist and home to many varieties of wildflowers throughout the spring and summer. The park offers sweeping views of Freel Peak, Mount Tallac, Angora Peak, and nearby Twin Peaks.

Copyright © 2016 Jared Manninen

Click on the above map to enlarge it for printing and better viewing. This map is only for reference. Always carry a traditional topographic map and compass when traveling in the backcountry.

Trail Data (approximations):

  • Location: South Tahoe – Meyers
  • Category of Route: Family Fun Hike, Day Hike
  • Total Mileage: 3 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 100 feet
  • Highest Point: 6,388 feet
  • Trail: Hard-packed sand, meadow (portions submerged in wet months)

Considerations:

  • Parking at the gate is OK, but don’t block the gate
  • Sections of the trail in the northern portion of Washoe Meadows State Park can be submerged in water during wet months, especially during early spring
  • Dogs are not allowed in the park
  • Adhere to all Leave No Trace principles
  • There are few trail signs and markers on public lands in the Tahoe region, so unless there are tracks to follow, the correct route may be difficult to identify–when in doubt, turn back
  • Be prepared for inclement weather and carry plenty of warm clothes, food, and water
  • Leave an itinerary of your plans with someone who will call emergency services if you do not return by your prescribed time

Hiking through Washoe Meadows State Park (north) on May 16, 2016. © Jared Manninen

Parking:

Park at the Forest Service gate located on Lake Tahoe Blvd 2.5 miles west of the “Y” intersection of Highways 50 & 89. The gate is set back from the road in some trees just beyond Tahoe Mountain Rd and near the Lake Valley Fire District Station. An optional entry point to the park is on Mountain Meadow Dr (see above map).

Below is a Google Map to assist you in finding the parking area for accessing Washoe Meadows State Park. Remember, the hike featured on this post begins on the northern end of the park.

Travel:

The trail is generally a hard-packed sand walkway, often lined with granite rocks, but many of the lower portions of this trail can be submerged under water during wet months (particularly after big snow years). There are some beautiful wooden bridges to hike over, but ultimately this park is a meadow and, as a result, can be wet in many places other than where the bridges cross. And although this route arbitrarily turns around at the derelict wooden structure located 1.5 miles from the trailhead (set back from the meadow in the trees), you could continue south within the park for about two more miles.

Copyright © 2016 by Jared Manninen

View of Mount Tallac from Washoe Meadows State Park (north) on May 16, 2016. © Jared Manninen

If Lake Tahoe is experiencing a bigger snow year Washoe Meadows State Park can be very fun to cross-country ski or snowshoe through, particularly for beginners as the terrain is mostly flat. However, the snowpack needs to be significant because the park is located approximately at lake level (i.e. the lowest point in the Lake Tahoe Basin) which means that it can take awhile during the winter for snow to accumulate enough in which to ski or snowshoe.

Copyright © 2017 Jared Manninen

View of Mount Tallac from Washoe Meadows State Park (north) taken by Jared Manninen on February 27, 2017.

For those of you who are interested, here is a poster available for purchase that I designed featuring an image taken in Washoe Meadow State Park on January 25, 2017. Click on the image of the poster to go see all of the types of prints available at my RedBubble. Thanks for your support!

Click the image to view available prints of this poster.