You are hereIs there a place to park a car long term in the Lake Tahoe area to do a six week hike?

Is there a place to park a car long term in the Lake Tahoe area to do a six week hike?

By rob044 - Posted on 06 November 2012

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Thanks Alex,We left our car back in 1977 at the trail head (I think it might have been meeks bay)and it was still there when we returned. I thought in todays more restrictive world the situation might be different. Rob044
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Hey Rob,

I think we have different considerations today. I worry more today about dishonest folk messing around, but not too much as most of my cars don't offer any profit: you may have to fix it up to steal it!

Look at parking like this: If the backpacking camping on the trail is restricted, so too will be the parking! I'm talking about highly impacted places like Yosemite. If they tell the backpackers to all camp in designated spots along the trail this is also likely to be associated with restricted parking and even restricted car access at the trailhead...

I've left cars at remote spots like Sonora Pass for months, where the CHP drives through every night, and neither cop nor criminal has molested my car. But, do remember to bang on your car with a stick after a long hiking trip before driving off. No, this is not some weird superspicion to drive out evil spirits, but a practice that drives out all the little mammals that may have established a home in the framework or engine compartment while you were away. Cars offer great protection from preditors to mice, squirrels, and chipmunks, and they quickly set up housekeeping in cars.

Leaving a car at the old South Upper Truckee trailhead kind of freaked out the Summer Cabin resident there, when the trailhead was at the end of their access road (It's now at the end of the paved road.). The resident came out when I arrived late one night at the end of a long Tahoe to Whitney hike and fired up the old clunker.

Because of locals, rangers, and cop's potential interest in my car I always put a note in the corner of the windshield advising of my backpacking trip's departure and return dates. This may also help if I get lost out there... If I am nervous I call up the local Ranger District station and tell them my car's going to be there for the duration of my permit, plus a few days to hitch back.

Happy Trails, let me know about trail conditions and experiences,


Alex Wierbinski
Hi Alex, I just got the go ahead to take a sabbatical from my job for this summer. Instead of driving out I will fly into Reno. I plan to do the whole trip Tahoe to Whitney this summer. Logistics are the hard part. Once I get to Reno I've got to find my way to Meeks Bay, also I have to purchase fuel for jetboil stove before setting out (I imagine that airlines frown upon transporting stove fuel on an airliner!). I'll check into the shuttle services in the area etc. Being solo I thought of staying with the Pacific Crest Trail once it connects with the TYT due to the TYT being tough to navigate in certain areas on the way to Tuolumne Meadows. I'm really excited this is going to happen rather than just being a fantasy! Rob
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Hey Robo44,

I've parked my car at various trailheads around Tahoe for up to forty days at a time. I generally leave a note in the driver's side window explaining that I've hit the trail from date-x to date-y and plan on hitching back on date-y to pick up the auto.

To be extra cautious you can check with the particular office that you pulled your permit from, and notifiy them that you are leaving a car for the duration of your trip.

When you finally get back to the car I suggest opening up the hood and making sure no mice or squirrels have taken up residence in the motor compartment.... They do that every now and then, as I have come to learn.


Alex Wierbinski

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