Friday, May 22, 2015

Washoe Lake State Park, Nevada Via Lake Tahoe



It was another early departure for us on Tuesday, hooked up and leaving Glory Hole Recreation Area before 9:30. Based on advice from a friend we decided to head east on 88 over 8,600’ Carson Pass and rain was predicted after 11. Just before we got to the pass it started raining lightly but we drove out of it. We were a little concerned about the road becoming icy since it was so cold. There are lots of forest service campgrounds along the way but not even a consideration in this kind of weather.


It was a pretty drive and the road was not bad considering the elevation gain and loss.


Since we’d never been before we decided to spend a night at a Passport America park in South Lake Tahoe, CA to check it out. It was only in the 40s and rain was in the forecast but we got to Tahoe Valley RV Resort before it began. I forgot to take photos but remembered the next morning as we were pulling out. Sites are squeezed in among the pines on the dirt. The only “resort” feature we took advantage of was the laundry, which was cheap and adequate, so we got that out of the way.


We decided to go for a walk to see if we could find the lake, which looked to be fairly close, but it started raining and we realized we were actually at least a couple miles from the water so we turned back and got the car. Found a park to the east where it was not raining and a pleasant trail along the lake.


This appears to be a really bike friendly area, with trails and bike lanes everywhere, although it is probably so crowded in the summer it wouldn’t be much fun.


The next morning we took off for a short drive to Washoe Lake State Park near Carson City, Nevada. Paul and Nina (Wheeling It) recommended this park, and I called to see if we would have any trouble getting a site before the holiday and was assured it should not be a problem. Probably because there is not a drop of water in the lake right now, but water or not, as soon as we drove in we knew we were going to like it here. Huge sites, 360 views, and very few people. It reminds us of our favorite park, McDowell Mountain in Arizona, minus the saguaro cactus.


The rain began shortly after we arrived but it cleared up a couple hours later so we managed to take a hike on the beach trail, through the lake, and back over the dunes.


Jim standing in the middle of dry Washoe Lake.  


Being a shallow lake (only 12’ when full), and depending on snowpack for its water, of which there was little this year, it is not uncommon for the lake to dry up. Apparently it’s happened several times since the 70s.





Terry and LuAnn (Paint Your Landscape) arrived here yesterday, being driven out of Lee Vining by the weather, and just as they got here we had a phone call from our Lazy Daze friends Robin and Lydia from Ridgecrest, wondering where we were. They were on their way up 395 heading to Santa Rosa and thought we might be along their route. So they ended up stopping here for the night and we had a nice visit with them and their new kitten last evening. Never know who we’ll run into, even in what feels like the middle of nowhere.



  1. Dry or not the landscape is spectacular. Nice to have friends on the road.

  2. Loved the dunes....even better that there was' t a 4 runner in sight. Great rainbow shot.

  3. I guess fishing won't be on the agenda for the holiday. ;)

  4. That is a dry lake! So sad especially knowing the water sitaution in the west. Well, Colorado (and southeastern Utah) are getting plenty of rain!!! The SP looks so nice. What a variety of views! Have a fun time catching up with Terry and LuAnn:) Hope it warms some for you!

  5. We had Washoe on our list of stops next month but had a change of plans - it still looks wonderful without the water. Glad to hear it's fairly common and likely to have water again with a couple good snow years :-) Great photos of the area - love the big dune.

  6. Hopefully we will be able to get out sometime this weekend and enjoy the area. So good to see you both again.

  7. Looks like you are dressed for winter… But it's a dry cold… :)

    1. I know, these kind of temps would have had you in speedos and wife beater t shirt.