Heavy snowpack closes some Tahoe campgrounds through Memorial Day

California State Parks battle leftover snow from winter storms.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 5:37 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Memorial Day weekend is often considered the unofficial start to summer camping.

But due to heavy snow over the winter, some California State Park campgrounds near Lake Tahoe have delayed openings.

“This is my 18th winter here in Sierra District and it’s by far the heaviest I’ve seen in terms of total snowpack,” said Scott Elliott, the Sierra District Superintendent of California State Parks.

This winter brought many feet of snow to the Sierra and he says it takes more than a few sunny days to melt snowbanks left behind.

“We’re just now just seeing the damage of picnic tables that needs to be repaired, water lines haven’t been charged in all our campgrounds yet,” Elliott said.

“Some campgrounds, we still don’t have full access to and then a couple campgrounds we have some flooding in.”

Elliott says it could be several weeks before all the camping loops reopen.

“We just ask folks to be a little patient with us as we deal with the after affects of this really heavy winter,” Elliott said.

Current conditions and re-scheduled openings are as follows:

  • Donner Memorial State Park: Still under snow coverage, with ponding after snowmelt. Originally, scheduled to open on June 8. Note that opening of the back loop (Split Rock) may be delayed.
  • Emerald Bay State Park: Eagle Point Campground still has significant snowdrifts and a large melt pond in the roadway. Originally scheduled to open on June 8, now on reservations starting Friday, June 16.
  • Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park: Currently there is 3-6′ of snow in the campground and many areas areinaccessible for staff, including facilities and water valves. Originally scheduled to open for Memorial Day weekend, now scheduled to open for reservations on Thursday, June 15.
  • Grover Hot Springs State Park: Sparse snowdrifts, some ponding of standing water, and repairs to the water system being made. Campground will be on reservations starting Friday, June 2.
  • Plumas-Eureka State Park: This campground has the most snow of any of the Sierra campgrounds, there is still unassessed damage under snow. Originally scheduled to open on Memorial Day weekend, now scheduled to open Friday, June 16.
  • Tahoe State Recreation Area: Still under several feet of snow withwater system repairs scheduled. Originally opening on Memorial Day weekend, now scheduled to open Friday, June 16.

It should be noted that these openings could be further delayed if additional damage or conditions warrant. Additionally, if conditions improve, camping may reopen sooner on a first-come, first-serve basis. State Parks thanks the public for its patience and understanding.

Find more information here: https://www.parks.ca.gov/ParkIndex