Tranquil Tahoe Retreat: Lake of the Woods

Free Campground, Tahoe National Forest

I have a knack which borders on an obsession for discovering great new places.   I’m using the word “obsession” loosely.  It’s not that I constantly yearn for new destinations or can’t control my travel urge.  It’s that, if I am traveling and I see a sign for a location which summons my interest, I must attain the destination–if not on that trip, then on the next or the next or the next.  Never do I forget a place I wanted to visit but couldn’t because my husband and I were obligated to stick to our itinerary for safety reasons or due to other commitments or because we weren’t equipped to digress on an auxiliary journey in the midst of a trip-in-progress.

These types of hindrances to my spontaneity in travel tend to be characteristic of roadblocks I encounter during expeditions in the Nevada desert, where a journey can be quite rigorous, and tend to apply less to ventures into the Tahoe National Forest, where my husband and I often assume less aggressive goals.  In Tahoe there are more people around, making it easier to deviate from our itinerary and still get help if we need it.  And in Tahoe in summer, at least, the weather is more moderate than in the desert, making overall travel easier.

That said, the impediment to our driving to Lake of the Woods in Tahoe last June was a road closure due to snow.  Of course I was disappointed.  But in my mind I stored the possibility of the lake in a compartment labeled: “Go.”

For thirteen months.

And then a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I happened to linger in the Tahoe area on our way home from camping in the Nevada desert.  (In Tahoe, we camped at Bear Valley Campground, which several years ago began as an obsession of its own and has since become a family favorite.)  We happened to be enjoying an afternoon of exploring.  I happened to remember the general location of Lake of the Woods.  And I happened to see a sign for it.

I urged my husband to turn toward the lake.

There are many things I love about my husband.  The first is that he has a reverential love for God.  A second thing I love about my husband is that he marvels at the beauty God has created on this earth.  And a third thing I love about my husband is that he–eventually–humors me when I am intent on visiting a place I have previously had to forego.

During the past few years my husband and I have been privileged to see some amazing sights.  We’ve taken risks and ventured into isolated regions of the northern Nevada desert.  Adventure travel is hard work and sometimes we simply want to relax.  Lake of the Woods is the perfect place for it.  We were enthralled from the moment we saw it.  It is a classically beautiful small jewel-blue lake edged by spring green reeds.  Even better it has about 15 campsites, all on the water’s edge.  Each campsite has a fire pit and a picnic table.

Lake of the Woods in the Tahoe National Forest will be our next camping destination.  My husband wants to learn to fish and could almost cast his line from a bench at one of the picnic tables there.  I’m enamoured with my husband’s  promise to grill trout on our campfire.  If you don’t know my husband, you might think it premature to jump from “learning to fish” to “grilling trout” but he has a knack for learning and quickly masters any skill in which he takes an interest.   I’m interested in reading in our roof top tent which will have a view of the lake.  Later we’ll go swimming or float on the lake.  Lake of the Woods is an ideal waterfront retreat that won’t cause a ripple in our budget.

It is as memorable as I knew it would be.

Directions from Truckee to Lake of the Woods in Tahoe National Forest: Take Highway 89 north for approximately 12.5 miles.  You will see a sign on the right for Bear Valley Campground.  Directly opposite it, turn left on to Primary Forest Road #7.  Drive about 6 miles.  Watch for sign for Lakes of the Woods.  Turn right onto Forest Road 07-40.  It’s approximately 2 miles to Lake of the Woods (bear left at the fork en route.)

Camping is free and on a first-come basis.

Pack it in, pack it out.

The lake is stocked annually with brown trout fingerlings.  It also has rainbow trout.  A fishing license is required.

10 thoughts on “Tranquil Tahoe Retreat: Lake of the Woods

  1. I have a few beautiful memories of Lake Tahoe! I was thrilled to see this post on your blog. My favorite is forever present in, not only my mind, but also a picture. My parents and I went there around Thanksgiving one year with some friends. We stayed in a large cabin and had a beautiful evening. The next morning I woke up before everyone else and the entire world outside was covered in white and completely untouched. It was what I always thought the land of Narnia would look like when it was in the winter. Incredibly beautiful. I’m glad you were able to enjoy it as well. Thanks for liking my post. I hope you come by again and share some of your adventures.

    • Thank you for visiting! I’m happy that you enjoyed the post. Tahoe is a beautiful area and a great place to make happy memories. We love it in winter, too.

      I peeked at your blog. It looks like you are enjoying some very exciting travels of your own. And that baby! We always travel with our dogs, a Plott Hound and a Pointer, both seasoned travelers.

      Happy trails!

  2. Has anyone seen or spoken to anyone at the cabin at the lake? My family has always had a fond attraction to Haypress Creek, just north of Lake of the Woods on FR12, but only in the last month did we discover Lake of the Woods. We took my cousins big truck and did some exploring after a rather uneventful day of creek fishing and stumbled across this hidden gem. I’m so excited to finally get details on the camping! I was hesitant to pack up and make solid plans to camp at the lake if we weren’t welcome. GREAT blog!

    • Hi, We haven’t seen the cabin, where is it relative to the campground? We might be going up this month and will have a look. I’m not familiar with Haypress Creek–is it usually good fishing? I’m delighted that you enjoy the blog, thank you so much for writing. –Viv

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