Welcome to the winter wonderland of Lake Tahoe’s West Shore! Nestled among towering pines, winding through open meadows, following ancient stream paths, and meandering through a historic estate, we offer four cross country trails to meet the needs of both beginning and advanced adventurers. Whether your passion is on skis or snow shoes, you will truly enjoy all that Sugar Pine Point State Park has to offer this winter!
Winter visitors to the park will find over 20 kilometers of marked cross country ski trails and a heated restroom in the General Creek campground. A $6.00 Day Use Fee applies for parking unless you have a California State Parks Pass (sticker) – there is no charge for use of the cross country ski trails. For further information on Sugar Pine Point State Park, Call (530) 525-9528 or for current conditions call Snow Phone Information Line (530) 525-7982.
Cross Country Ski Trails (trail map): Sugar Pine Point State Park has 4 cross-country ski trails, two of which are groomed throughout the winter when conditions permit. The Yellow and Orange Trails, located on the east side of Hwy 89, are short loop trails which extend north and south respectively from the Ehrman Mansion parking area along the Lake Tahoe waterfront. The Yellow Trail is 3.2 kilometers long, and the Orange Trail is 1.9 kilometers long. These trails are located in natural areas with beautiful lake views and are never groomed. The Blue and Red Trails are located on the west side of Hwy 89 in the vicinity of General Creek Campground and are groomed when conditions permit. The Blue Trail is a loop trail approximately 3.4 kilometers long and begins at the cross-country parking lot near the General Creek Campground entrance station. The Red Trail is a 5.4 kilometer loop trail which begins at the western extension of the Blue Trail and follows General Creek. A new bridge has been installed on General Creek to replace the one lost in the 1997 floods, therefore opening up the entire Red Trail.
- PLEASE KEEP IN MIND:
- Do not take dogs on the trails. Dogs are only allowed in the parking areas and must be on a leash no more than 6 feet in length.
- Do not walk on the ski trails. Walk and snowshoe to the sides of the trails.
- Day- use parking fees are required ($6.00 per vehicle). Please self-register at the entrance stations.
- Be prepared for severe weather changes.
Interpretive presentations on a variety of winter related subjects are presented most weekends, from January through March. Topics include “Cold Weather Survival,” “Winter Wildlife,” and guided cross-country ski hikes. Call the park Snow Phone for dates, times and topics. You can Obtain the Sierra District’s Fall and Winter Hike Schedule by contacting Sierra District Ranger Station at (530) 525-9528 – you may also find Sierra District events posted on our Guide to Lake Tahoe Events..
There are 175 campsites in the campground. Each site has a table and stove. Restrooms with sinks and flush toilets are located nearby. Shower facilities and a sanitary dump station are also available during the summer. family campsites can accommodate a maximum of eight people and three vehicles. Ten group campsites can each accommodate up to 40 people and 10 vehicles. The campsites are suitable for tents, trailers up to 40 feet, and motor homes up to 30 feet. Reservations for family campsites can made up to eight weeks in advance by calling MISTIX at 1-800/444-7275. Group campsite reservations can be made up to 12 weeks in advance. Reservations are strongly advised during the summer (mid June through labor Day).
Winter Camping offers 25 campsites – first come, first served for winter overnight adventures. One restroom is heated, and the road and parking spaces are kept clear of snow, though considerable forethought and good camping equipment are important. Winter conditions at this elevation (6,200) include frequent snow storms and deep snow packs – take advantage of this unique situation, and dig out the fire pit for a campfire or make a snow cave for a cozy sleeping experience. Winter camping in the Sierra takes special planning and temperatures go down to near zero. Come prepared and leave with great memories!
Deep-line fishermen can try their luck along Lake Tahoe’s 300-foot-deep underwater ledges by trolling for lake trout (Mackinaw) and Kokanee Salmon. Top-lining (trolling near the surface) for rainbows is also popular. Shore fishing does not tend to be productive, though the lake’s tributaries can be. Be aware that these streams have a very short open season, usually from July 1 through September 30.
Trails serve almost every part of the park. A short loop trail through the Z’Berg Natural Preserve, the Dolder Trail follows the lakeshore and passes the world’s highest working lighthouse. For those with more time, the General Creek Trail is a 6 ½ mile loop, offering an optional side trip to Lily Pond. Lost Lake, a beautiful alpine lake, is a full 15 mile round trip, and should only be tackled by seasoned hikers with ample time (6 to 7 hours).
Mountain bike use has increased significantly over the last few years. Mountain bikers are asked to be responsible riders, treading lightly, staying on designated riding trails only and announcing their presence when coming up on hikers. Trails not shown as hike/bike trails are off limits to bikes. Please help us protect the park by not creating new trails. The paved West Shore Bike Trail parallels the highway through the park as far as the south boundary where it officially ends.
Dogs must be kept on leash (six-foot maximum length) and are allowed only in the developed areas of the park. Dogs are not permitted on park trails.
Those wishing to enter Desolation Wilderness through the park will need to obtain a wilderness permit from the U.S. Forest Service for both day-use and overnight trips. Permits are available at the South Lake Tahoe Forest Service Headquarters, the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, or (when staffed) William Kent Campground. Day-use permits are available at most Forest Service trailheads.
The Park’s beach and central pier are popular places for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and fishing. Please swim with appropriate caution; Tahoe’s waters are quite cold. Nearby marinas provide boat launching, mooring, and rentals for fishing, water skiing or just exploring. Due to space limitations, boats may not be beached or moored overnight at Sugar Pine Point. There is a special boat camp at Emerald Bay State Park.