Nevada City, Calif. April 23, 2020 – The Tahoe National Forest has closed all developed recreation sites excluding trails, trailheads and specific picnic areas, boat launches, and staging areas that function as trailheads for dispersed recreation activities. All toilet facilities have been closed and all trash removal has been suspended, even if the trailhead remains open. While these specific areas remain open for use, the Tahoe National Forest recommends exercising close to your home and complying with local and state guidance for not traveling for your recreation needs. Please see the Background information below for specific information on this Closure.
If you do plan on recreating locally on the Tahoe National Forest please be aware that:
- No trash removal is currently offered –please pack out all trash and waste.
- All toilet facilities are currently closed –please plan accordingly.
- Law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited. High-risk activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided.
- If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location.
Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind if visiting the Tahoe National Forest. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions.
Background: The Tahoe National Forest is part of the Pacific Southwest Region of the US Forest Service which includes most National Forests within California. On March 25, 2020, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore issued a Closure Order for all developed recreation sites, excluding trailheads, across all National Forests within the Pacific Southwest Region including the Tahoe National Forest. This Order is effective through April 30, 2020. The Closure Order was implemented to limit the congregation of groups of people and to promote physical distancing, while balancing the benefits of outdoor recreation.
We appreciate your cooperation. For specific details on recreation closures and current conditions, as well as our transition to providing virtual service and updated firewood cutting information, please see below.
The opening of Tahoe National Forest campgrounds will be postponed until further notice for the 2020 summer season. This postponement is based on several factors including:
- The aforementioned Regional Closure Order which applies to all Tahoe National Forest campgrounds.
- Even without the Regional Closure, late winter snow would delay the opening of most high elevation campgrounds including:
- Carr Lake
- Grouse Ridge
- Packsaddle Campground
- Chapman Creek
- The Jackson Meadows Area Campgrounds
- Robinson flat
- Jackson Meadows area campgrounds
- French Meadows area campgrounds
- North Fork
- Onion Valley
- Tunnel Mills
- Lake of the Woods Campground
- Little Lasier Horse Camp
- Meadow Lake Campground
- Meadow Knolls Campground
- Please check back for updates on the status of campground openings. The Tahoe National Forest will provide weekly updates on campground status.
Motorized Routes and Trails
Most motorized routes and trails remain closed through April 30, 2020. The Tahoe National Forest has issued a Forest System Road Closure Order postponing the opening of most motorized roads and trails that have a seasonal closure date, due to a considerable amount of rain and snow that occurred during the month of March across the Tahoe National Forest.
The Tahoe National Forest will provide an update next week with the conditions of all routes and trails before they OPEN on May 1, 2020. As of now, soil moisture conditions on the Sugar Pine OHV system is trending toward favorable and allowable riding conditions. The westside of the Burlington Motorcycle Trail system is also trending to toward favorable and allowable riding conditions. The Downieville multiple use trail system will still have moderate to heavy snow in higher elevations (much like every year) and connection routes to higher elevations will be impassable. The Boca/Stampede area OHV system soil conditions are also trending toward favorable and allowable riding conditions.
For those motorized trail systems that look to have favorable and allowable riding conditions by May 1, 2020, the Tahoe National Forest is working in the field to clear down trees and inspect all trails.
Specific roads/trails closed by this Order through April 30 include:
Westside of the Tahoe National Forest
- Diamond Creek
- Gold Valley – Closed at Gold Lake HWY
- Chalk Bluff
Eastside of the Tahoe National Forest
- Yuba Weber
- Carmen Valley
- Nicholas Mill (from mile post 2.375 until its termination)
- Verdi Peak
- Haskel Peak
The following roads do not have a seasonal closure date and are NOT subject to the Closure Order and are legally OPEN. Local conditions may apply:
- Bowman – Accessible to mile post 4.25, then snow
- Bear Valley
- Nicholas Mill –from milepost 0.0-2.375 (CLOSED after that)
- Cal-Ida – Although not accessible from the 25 road
- Fiddle Creek -Although not accessible from the 25 road
- Texas Hill –From mile post 1.378-9.187 (CLOSED after that)
- Eureka – Accessible to mile post 2.5
- Long Point Access
- Jouberts – Tree limbs in road
- Madrone Spring
- Washington Ridge
The Tahoe National Forest has also received reports that Foresthill Road is now clear to Humbug. Snow on the road around 5,500’-6,000’. The road to French Meadow has been plowed to the dam.
Developed Recreations Facilities
All developed recreation facilities are closed. This includes:
- All toilet facilities and trash removal
- Oregon Creek
- Dark Day
- Glenshire Bridge Day Use Area
- Manzanita Day Use, Swim Area & Picnic Site
- French Meadows Picnic Site
- Calpine Lookout
- Sardine Lookout Rental
- Golden Quartz
Trailheads, boat launches, and staging areas.
Generally, trailheads, boat launches, and staging areas are open but may be inaccessible due to late season snow and other factors. Again, all restrooms are closed and trash removal has been suspended. Please pack out all trash and human waste.
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- Castle Valley – Inaccessible due to snow
- Big Trees Nature Trail – Inaccessible due to snow
- Sierra Buttes Trailhead – Gates locked at Gold Lake Highway
- Lindsey Lake Trailhead – Inaccessible due to snow
- Prosser Boat Ramp –Accessible
- Boca Boat Ramp –Accessible
- Stampede Boat Ramp –Patchy snow on road
- French Meadows – Plowed to the dam
- Pass Creek & Woodcamp Boat Ramp – Inaccessible due to snow
Generally non-motorized trails are open, but may be inaccessible due to late season snow and other factors. Snow has now melted out below 5,000’.
Below 5000’: Trails have not been cleared. Expect down trees and muddy conditions on trails below in this elevation. This applies to:
- Pioneer Trail
- Bullards Bar Trail Complex
- Joshua M. Hardt Memorial Trail
- North and South Yuba Trail
- Dascombe Trail Complex
- Western States Trail
5,000’ -6,000’: Trails have not been cleared. Expect down trees, muddy conditions, and patches of moderate to heavy snow on trails in this elevation. This applies to:
- Blue Lake Trail
- Spaulding Lake Trail
- Forest City Trail Complex
6,000’ to 7,000’: Trails have not been cleared. Expect down trees and moderate to heavy snow on trails in this elevation. This applies to:
- Hole in the Ground Trail
- Loch Leven Trail
- Castle Valley Loop Trail
- Commemorative Overland Emigrant Trail
- Loyalton/Boca Railroad Trail
- Deer Creek Trail
Above 7,000’: Trails have not been cleared. Expect down trees and heavy snow in this elevation. This applies to:
- Mt. Lola Trail
- Mount Judah Loop
- Granite Chief Trail
- Pacific Crest Trail
- French Lake Trail
Tahoe National Forest and Virtual Services
The Tahoe National Forest has closed all offices to in-person visits and is implementing virtual services to protect the health and safety of employees and members of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with guidance from federal and state authorities.
Many services traditionally offered in our public offices are available online.To access these virtual services, please visit our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe/. We will continue to update our website with current virtual service information as conditions change. To email the Tahoe National Forest, please use the ‘Contact Us’ function on our website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/contactus/tahoe/about-forest/contactus.
Firewood Cutting Permits
The Tahoe National Forest Firewood Cutting permit process has changed. Please refer to our ‘permits’ page for more information: