Trip · 3-day backpacking trip
For · Friends and new backpackers
Vibe · Moderate and fun
Distance · 19 miles and 2,995 feet of elevation gain
Permits · Nope, just apply for a CA campfire permit online
Drive · 3.5 hours from SF
Ideal dates · May to September
Pets · Welcome on trails and campgrounds!
Tahoe National Forest (THN) is 871,400+ acres of breathtaking mountains, wildflower meadows, and crystal clear reservoirs. It's one of the most popular national forests in the country, and you don't need a permit to explore its backcountry. TNF is located northwest of the popular Lake Tahoe, but swap the crowds for climbing the Sierra Buttes, hiking a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, or swimming in the Yuba River. TNF has it all.
Official Forest Service Website
Latest Forest Alerts and Notices
Main image credit: Reddit
Tahoe is one of eight national forests along California's Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Washoe and Maidu Native American tribes were the first to traverse Tahoe National Forest, before the Gold Rush brought thousands of emigrants to CA.
Black bears roam TNF all year, but keep your site clean and store food and scented items properly, and you'll rarely spot them. Learn more.
Don't leave the car without a first aid kit. Stuff happens out in the wild and you always want to be prepared.
They're expensive, but you can lean on these bad boys for river crossings and navigating all kinds of terrain.
Light as a feather and versatile enough to use for running, camping, and other nighttime activities.
It's a heavier, bulkier pillow for ultralight backpackers, but you're guaranteed a good night's sleep.
Add up to 14 degrees of warmth and keep your sleeping bag nice and clean with this mummy liner.
Handmade in Seattle, Washington, this sleeping bag is pricey, but you can count on it lasting for years.
A spacious sleeping bag that will help you stay warm for spring, summer, and fall camping.
Winner of the REI Editor's Choice Award, this bag is warm and light, coming in a little over three pounds.
This pack weighs two pounds, has 7 pockets, and has a built-in seat pad, but it can only carry up to 30 pounds.
If you're an experienced backpacker, this is the lightest full-size, full-featured, frameless pack made.
You won't be saving money, but you'll save space and weight with these camp sandals.
These comfortable, breathable, quick drying undies are designed for surviving long treks.
Made with 60% merino wool, these pricey socks are guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Lightweight, grippy, and breathable shoes made for navigating all kinds of trails and terrain.
These down pants will keep you and your legs warm in the chilliest of nights.
Never dig around your pack to find some hand sanitizer. Instead, hang this one on the outside of your pack.
Whether it's coffee or cocoa, bring a silicone mug like this one into the wild. Your tummy will thank you.
Don't let the backcountry stop you from enjoying a hot, quality drip coffee in the morning.
This lightweight pot is for backpackers who want to enjoy warm and cold soaked meals.
These bamboo utensils are designed for the backcountry, and conveniently comes with a travel pouch.
A popular, pricier backpacking stove that's an ounce heavier, but is reliable in the wildest envrionments.
Add a little magic to your experience by hanging these twinkling lights around your tent every night.
Leave your backpacking pack at camp, and use this sleek, compressible pack for day hikes.
Feel fresh, clean, and renewed after each hike with these thick, durable, aloe-infused wet wipes.
The more you backpack the lighter your shelter becomes, and the lighter it is, the more expensive it can be.
You'll always need to bring your hiking poles to use this tent, but it only weighs a little over two pounds.