Lake Tahoe Travel Guide

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Lake Tahoe Desolation Wilderness Area – Zone Quotas

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|| Introduction

|| Trailheads

|| Overview

|| Zone Quotas

|| Regulations

|| Zone Map

|| Use Permits

|| Fees

Desolation Wilderness Area ─ Zone Quotas

Because of its beauty and accessibility, Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the United States. In order to protect its unique beauty and wilderness character, human access is limited and certain activities are restricted in the Desolation. There is a quota on overnight use from the Friday before Memorial Day through September 30 of each year. The overnight quota is based upon the number of people entering the wilderness each day, and their first night's destination zone. Visitors must choose a first night destination (see zone map in list to right). There are 45 zones which may be accessed by any of 15 trailhead entry points.

You must enter on the date specified on your permit and must spend your first night in the zone which you have chosen. The rest of your stay is not subject to zone requirements and you can change locations for the remainder of your trip.

> 50% of the quota is available by Reservation. Reservations start on April 15, 2004 for the entire quota season. The Information Center is permanently closed. Reservations and permits are now handled by the Pacific Ranger District.  

> 50% of the quota is available first-come, first-serve the day of entry and may not be reserved ahead of time.

> Note: Some zones have small quotas, as few as two people, so check the list below to determine if your destination allows enough people for your party size.

During the off-quota season there is no limit to the number of overnight users in each zone. Permits must be obtained in person at offices which issue Desolation Wilderness permits.
  

MORE ABOUT DESOLATION WILDERNESS

||  Desolation Critters ─ Desolation Wilderness provides visitors with the opportunity to witness a diverse population of wildlife.

||  Desolation Geology ─ The granitic mountains of the Desolation are part of the massive Sierra batholith, the combined masses of granitic rock that have been uplifted by tectonic action to form the 400 mile long Sierra Nevada range.

||  Desolation History  ─ The area now known as Desolation Wilderness has a long history of use by both Native Americans and European settlers.

||  Desolation Plant Life ─ As much of the ground surface in Desolation is bedrock granite, soils are limited. Plant life, however, has adapted and the flora is diverse.

 

What’s on Tap

Events

Lake Tahoe Festivals & Events:

 

Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival—7/8 – 8/21

North Lake—Imagine your toes in the sand, a fantastic bottle of wine nearby, a gourmet meal in hand and first-class entertainment before you…

Labor Day Lake Tahoe Fireworks Extravaganza—9/4/16 @ 08:30 PM

South Lake—This pyrotechnic exhibition explodes over Lake Tahoe after dusk and features a variety of patterns, shapes, and designs.

Big Band Jazz Concert at the Sugar Pine Point State Park—9/4/16

West Lake—Concert goers are encouraged to bring a picnic, low-back chairs, blankets, and be prepared to have fun.

The Great Reno Balloon Race—9/9 – 9/11/16

Reno—This is the 35th year for one of Reno’s most colorful and spectacular events! It attracts nearly 100 hot air balloons

For more event information, click on our Festivals & Events page for Half Moon Bay.
  
  

Attractions

Top Attractions:

Winter Outdoor Activities  – 2015/16

The ski areas were finally blessed with SNOW! The recent drought took its toll, but finally were seeing some action…

Summer Outdoor Activities – 2016

Lake Tahoe  – In a couple of months, Lake Tahoe will be bursting with outdoor activities!

Desolation Wilderness Area 

Awesome hiking from late spring to late summer. 

 

For more information on local attractions, click on the Lake Tahoe Attractions or Recreational Activities.
  
  

 

Advisories

The Region’s Fall Advisories:
  

Traffic Conditions. During the summer months, Lake Tahoe is inundated with tourists making driving challenging. Another issue, is the warm summer months are the best to complete road work. This combination can create very long delays in certain sections. Go to www.caltrans.com to learn about road conditions. 

Yes, It’s Still Water! California’s extreme drought has created some long-term consequences. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing may be impacted. It has also create EXTREME fire conditions, so be sure to check with local authorities about campfire and camp stove regulations.   

The Plague! It sounds medieval, but chipmunks and squirrels around Lake Tahoe can carry the Plague and health officials urge caution. Click here to learn more.

Yellow Jackets! I don’t know why it’s so bad this season, but from Tahoe City south  along the beaches the bees are everywhere! Click here to learn more.
  
  

  
  
  

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