Camping reservations in California are surprisingly hard to come by. Most places are booked for weekends at least a month in advance, with the most popular sites (Yosemite) booked 6 months in advance! Jack and I are always on the hunt for a spontaneous campsite, and we decided to risk it one weekend in August for a walk-in site in Lake Tahoe.
I’ve mentioned this before, but we are all about the early Saturday morning drive vs. trying to get out of the Bay Area on a Friday night. Not only do we save a night of lodging, but we also avoid any traffic. We left early Saturday 5:30 AM with the goal of arriving at the campsite right when the ranger station opened at 9. And since there was barely any traffic, we succeeded in arriving right at 9:15 (after stopping for McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches of course!). Unfortunately the first campsite we tried put us on a waiting list, but the second spot (Eagle Point Campground) had 3 spots open! We were in luck and so excited to have secured a spot.
Since our campsite was still occupied, we parked and went on a little hike. Eagle Point is along the Rubicon Trail, and we walked over to the end of Emerald Bay to see Vikinghaus. We didn’t go on a tour, but the view was gorgeous and the water was clear. The hike took about 2 hours total. Once we finished up hiking, we headed back into town to pick up some food for lunch/dinner/breakfast. We like to keep it easy when we go camping, so normally pick up brie, salami, and a baguette for a quick lunch, and hot dogs/buns/marshmallows for dinner. We eat whatever we have left for breakfast along with some iced coffee bottles from Starbucks. And of course, no car camping trip is complete without wine!
After we got back to our campsite, we set up the tent and headed down to the beach. Eagle Point has a small private beach for campground usage, and even though it was crowded we still had a nice time drinking wine and dipping out toes in the icy water. The only problem was the looming clouds and thunder in the distance. Just as we started to feel raindrops fall, we headed back up to the campground for some dinner.
Jack and I both also love campfires, and we quickly got ours going to put the hot dogs on the grill. YUM! After a few marshmallows, we headed to the tent to avoid more rain!
We both woke up pretty early and finished off the rest of the brie/salami/baguette. We quickly packed up all our stuff, and right before heading out we took a short walk up to a viewpoint. The views were spectacular! Don’t miss this spot if you’re traveling to Eagle Point!
Since we both have the Epic Local Pass, it comes with free summer gondola access! The gondola normally costs $50 per person which we had decided not to do in the past. Again, the views were gorgeous over the entire lake. It was also very strange to get to the top and see the ski runs we’re used to seeing with no snow. To be honest, there isn’t much to do at the top for adults – it was very kid friendly though with lots of (expensive) activities. After that, we decided to head home around 1PM to avoid the inevitable traffic back into the bay.
Weekends in Tahoe are some of my favorite whether it’s winter or summer!