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Spooner Lake and Backcountry

Spooner Lake and Backcountry

Spooner Lake Overview

Nestled in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Spooner Lake and Backcountry is a manmade lake on the Nevada side of Tahoe that is a widespread recreational and natural oasis. 

Spooner Lake as well as much of the backcountry surrounding it lies within Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.

The park features 50 miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails, and primitive roads. A few of the more popular trails are the Marlette, Red House, Flume, and Tahoe Rim Trails. Camping and cabins are also available.

Spooner Lake is one of the four units that make up Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park—which also includes Sand Harbor, Cave Rock, and Van Sickle.

Golden light on Spooner Lake in Lake Tahoe

Spooner Lake History

Spooner Lake was originally created for use as a millpond for a timber company. A dam was constructed across Spooner Creek in the 1850s for this purpose.


  • 1927 – A dam constructed to store irrigation water converted the eastern part of Spooner Meadow into a small lake.
  • 1930s – Spooner Lake has also been used for recreational fishing
  • 1973 – The Nevada Department of Wildlife started stocking fish in the lake

Area Size

The lake is surrounded by aspens and more than 12,000 acres of forested, open space.



GPS Coordinates

39°06′25″N 119°54′31″W

How to Get to Spooner Lake

From Incline Village take California Highway 28 south along the east side of the lake. About 10 miles south of Incline Village, turn left when you see the Spooner Lake sign.


Park entrance to Spooner Lake & Backcountry is $10 per vehicle. (Non-NV vehicles are $15 per vehicle.)

If you’re looking to bike in, admission is $2 per bike.

For more information on cabin rental costs, get in touch with the park directly at (775) 831-0494.

Visitors Center

Construction is underway to build a new Visitor Center and Amphitheater at Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, Spooner Lake. A temporary park closure is necessary to protect the safety of park visitors due to the presence of open trenches and heavy equipment operations. The main entrance, parking areas, and the front country will be closed to public access beginning on July 19, 2021, and are anticipated to re-open in early September 2021.

Hours Open

Spooner Lake & Backcountry is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset.

For the most up-to-date info on hours, campsite, and cabin availability, get in touch with the park directly at (775) 831-0494.


The Spooner Lake Cabin sleeps four people comfortably and Wildcat Cabin sleeps two. Both cabins have basic amenities such as composting toilets, beds, cookstoves, and wood-burning stoves.


Spooner Lake Fishing The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) has been stocking Spooner Lake, Marlette Lake, and Hobart Reservoir with rainbow trout, brook trout, and cutthroat trout since 1973. 

Trout species include the native Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi), as well as multiple non-native species and hybrids including rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), brown trout (Salmo trutta), Bowcutt Trout (rainbow x cutthroat), brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), and tiger trout (brown x brook). However, the lake’s shallowness has made trout overwintering difficult and native Lahontan tui chub (Gila bicolor pectinifer) have come to dominate the lake’s fish species.

All ages enjoy Spooner Lake fishing, catching rainbow, brown and large cutthroat trout. The best time to fish is from June to July. It’s all catch-and-keep with a limit of 5. Ice fishing is great in the winter months.

References Used

Spooner Lake and Backcountry