The Spooner Lake Trail Loop

This is one of the shortest loops in the Tahoe area at 2 miles, and is flat the entire way (the Tahoe definition of flat).  It’s full of wildlife from geese, ducks, beaver, dear, and black bear.

  • dayhikestahoeTrailhead: Lake Tahoe State Park parking area (Spooner Lake) on Highway 28 (fees) – Open in Google Maps.  OR Spooner Summit Trailhead on Highway 50 (limited parking, much lower fee) – Open in Google Maps.
  • Length: 2-mile loop, 1 hour.
  • Difficulty: Easy.
  • Usage:  Hikers & horses, pets allowed.  $10 in the main parking area ($8 for Nevada residents); $1/person from Spooner Summit parking.
  • Best Time for Photography: Take your pick.  There is good lighting throughout the day.  Dawn & dusk are best for wildlife.  The fall colors are amazing in the aspen groves.
  • Trail Info Current: April 29, 2015
  • Further Reading: Best Easy Day Hikes Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe State Park Map
  • Go back to Lake Tahoe Hikes map
map

Plots created using digital topographic map data, not actual GPS logs. Distance and elevation profiles are approximate.

Spooner Lake Loop Narrative

There are two places to start this loop.  You can park in the State Park parking area which has a $10 fee per vehicle ($8 for Nevada residents).  The start of the loop is very close to parking.  Or you can park at the Spooner Summit trailhead parking area.  There are signs directing you to Spooner Lake.  With this route you’re asked to pay $1 per person and it will add about 3/4 of a mile to your round-trip distance.

Spooner Lake Trail

The trail connecting the Spooner Summit trailhead to the Spooner Lake loop.

The trail is relatively straight-forward and easy to follow.  There are interpretive signs around the lake describing the natural history and human history (you can still see signs of the Native American tribes that stayed here).

A wide variety of wildlife occupy the area and it’s a great spot for photography.  There’s no need to rush this trail, and there are benches spread throughout so that you can have a seat, relax, and take in the scenery.  The lake is fairly close to Highway 50, so you will get some traffic noise.

Fishing is also allowed.  See the Spooner Backcountry website for more information.

Rocks carved by Indians at Spooner Lake

The Native American tribe ground mortars into these rocks at Spooner Lake for grain.

The Spooner Lake Loop is a good starting point for other trails in Spooner Backcountry.  This is where you’ll jump off onto North Canyon Road and the Marlette Lake Trail, leading to Marlette Lake and into various primitive campsites.

Spooner Lake Trail

Standing on the dam on the west shore of Spooner Lake.

Corrections, suggestions, or questions?  Please leave a comment below!

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