Lake Tahoe Hiking – Spooner Summit Area: Spooner Lake, Marlettel Lake, Flume Trail – East Shore



Marlette Lake

General Information: The Spooner Summit Area boasts the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park with over 12,000 acres of wilderness area. Many hiking and backpacking opportunities are available within the boundries of the park, from short, easy strolls, such as the Spooner Lake Trail, to all day grinds on the Tahoe Rim Trail. The environment varies from fir and aspen forest to high and dry, wind-swept brush. On this page, we include several hiking possibilities for this area.

Where To Start/End: Drive to Spooner Summit (Highway 50) turning north onto Highway 28 near the top. Less than a mile on the right will be the Nevada State Park. Pay the $5 per vehicle parking fee and park in the lot.

Trail Descriptions:

Spooner Lake Trail: The Spooner Lake Trail is an easy 2.1 mile loop that circumnavigates Spooner Lake. The trail is mostly flat and well maintained making it perfect for a quick family outing. Views of the Lake and nice groves of Aspens make this a scenic stroll.

Marlette Lake: Leaving from the parking area, follow the signs for Marlette Lake or Flume Trail. The trail is actually a dirt road called North Canyon Rd, which is closed to all motor vehicles. You will be sharing the trail with mountain bikes, however, as this is the start to the famous “Flume Trail” mountain bike ride. But, the road is wide enough for the bikers to pass well away from the hikers. The road climbs steadily as it winds its way up North Canyon. Along the way, you will pass fir, pine, and aspen forests whose leaves, in the fall are ablaze in yellow and orange. Continuing up the path, the climbing gets steeper until you top out on a saddle overlooking Marlette Lake. The trail leads down to the lake where you can enjoy the beauty and quiet of a high-mountain lake. Marlette Lake is 10 miles round trip and includes 1150′ of elevation gain, making it an intermediate hike for folks in relatively good condition. However, nothing will stop the hiker from enjoying as much of the trail as he can, and simply turning back before getting too fatigued.

The Flume Trail: The Flume isn’t only for biking, it’s also a great hike. If you have already made the 5 mile trek up North Canyon Road, the extra time spent hiking around the lake and getting onto the Flume Trail is well rewarded with unbeatable Lake Tahoe Views. When you come down to Marlette Lake, head left around the south end of the lake and then north along the western shore. The lake has a small cove near the north end where the trail passes over some rocks then crosses the creek that flows out of Marlette Lake. Once across the creek, continue on the trail for just another mile or so to get the terriffic views. To return, either continue all the way to Tunnel Creek Rd. (a very long hike), or turn around and reverse your hike back to Marlette Lake.

Tahoe Rim Trail: It is possible to access the Tahoe Rim Trail from two trails in the Spooner area. From within the State Park, hike 3 miles up North Canyon Rd. to a trail that splits off to the right (east) and heads steeply uphill towards Snow Valley Peak. This is a rigorous climb that quickly moves above treeline and into wind-swept brush. This path will intersect the Rim Trail near the top of the ridge. From here, you can proceed either north towards Snow Valley Peak and eventually Twin Peaks, or south towards Spooner Summit.

Alternatively, you can pick the trail up on the north side of Highway 50 at Spooner Summit near the elevation marker. Starting here, you can hike for 10 miles along the Carson Range crest, past Snow Valley Peak, Marlettle Peak, and Twin Lakes Peak, finally descending down the Tunnel Creek Rd. or for the super-honed or those backpacking, continuing on all the way to the Mt. Rose Highway.

Environmental Concerns: This can be a very dry area in high summer with a high potential for forest fire. Please be very careful with stoves, cigarettes, etc.

Advisory: This trail is used not only by mountain bikers, but hikers as well. Equestrians are not allowed on the Flume Proper, but may be encountered elsewhere. The Park Service has set speed limits for mountain bikes on the trail, so please adhere to the requirements.