Spooner Afternoon

Hiking to Spooner Lake in Tahoe

Tucked quietly away above Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore, Spooner Lake hides in plain sight. Just 12 miles north of Stateline on Highway 50, hikers, bikers, and beach loungers jet past this tranquil lake on their way to adventures on Tahoe, but with a bevy of activities and the serene 2.1-mile Spooner Lake Loop Trail, there are plenty of reasons to make it a destination stop.

Wildflowers grow in spades, coloring the meadows, shoreline, and forest with bursts of bright purple and red, and wildlife abounds, including plentiful ducks. Wandering through the wispy meadows and over wooden bridges feels more like a nature walk than a hike, emphasized by the placards along the trail describing the area’s flora and fauna. The lake is stocked for catch-and-release fishing, but swimming here isn’t recommended because of pesky leeches.

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Still, you can enjoy skimming the glassy surface on canoes, kayaks, or inflatable rafts. Bring a blanket and sprawl out on the beach or in the meadows, or picnic at the tables next to the park entrance on the west side of the lake. Pro tip: Do this hike late day when rays of sun seep through the trees and create a gleaming path across the lake.

To access Spooner Lake, park at the Spooner Lake – Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park entrance off Hwy. 28. From the parking lot, follow signs for Spooner Lake Loop Trail along a clearly marked paved trail till it intersects with the dirt trail that is the Spooner Lake Loop Trail. Dog-friendly!

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