Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest in California

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Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest

Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest, near Lake Tahoe, California, offers 6.3 million acres of forestland for some premiere recreational activities, such as hiking, camping, scenic driving and exploring the wilderness areas.

  • Enjoy the many recreational activities in Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest
  • The Carson Ranger District of the forest is near Lake Tahoe
  • The best time to visit is from May through September
  • Visit the Crystal Mine and mine your own crystals
  • Hike to Mount Rose
  • Explore the Mokelumne Wilderness


The Carson Ranger District of the Toiyabe National Forest and Humboldt National Forest lies right to the east of Lake Tahoe, stretching north to Reno and south into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Here you can experience plenty of outdoor recreation, from hiking and camping to marvelous scenic drives and more.

Location & Information

Humboldt National Forest and Toiyabe National Forest can be reached by driving east from Lake Tahoe on California Highway 50. The area can also be accessed from I-80 and Highway 395.

It’s best to visit the Carson Ranger District of the Toiyabe Forest and Humboldt National Forest during May through September. Heavy rains can still be frequent during summer months and you should come prepared.

Contact information:
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Carson Ranger District
1536 Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701-5291
(775) 882-2766


There are numerous recreational opportunities within the Carson Ranger District of Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest. Following are just a few:

  • Visit the Crystal Mine
    You’ll find the Crystal Mine near Lookout Campground, within walking distance. During WW II crystals were mined here for use in two-way radios. You can mine your own crystals when you visit and are allowed to take five pounds of crystals home with you per week.
  • Hiking
    Hiking through the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest around Lake Tahoe is an awesome experience. You can hike to Mount Rose or Hope Valley. On the Tahoe Rim Trail you can move through the forests and across open slopes to incredible vistas. The Spooner Lake Trail is closer to Carson City, and is a 1.8-mile loop around the lake. It’s a great chance to see wildlife and enjoy the aspen groves.
  • Scenic Driving
    Scenic byways are a wonderful way to see the area from the comfort of your car. The Carson Pass Highway is about 58 miles on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where you can see cool meadows and sparkling mountain lakes as well as the rough mountain skyline. Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway shows you glacial valleys, ancient peaks and deep canyons, with impressive views of Giant Sequoia trees.
  • Off-Highway and Over-Snow Vehicle Recreation
    Off-highway driving is great any time of year. Whether you use a four-wheel drive vehicle, motorcycle or an ATV, there are plenty of opportunities to take to the backcountry. An example is the Logan House Creek Trail, a great drive through the forest. This one is for more experienced ATV drivers.
  • Exploring the Wilderness Areas
    The Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest has 23 Wilderness Areas, a few of which are close to Lake Tahoe. Explore the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness just south of Markleeville, California. The scenic beauty is inspiring. The Mokelumne Wilderness is southwest of the same town, and here you can enjoy more scenic wonders. If you love wildflowers, then the Mount Rose Wilderness is the place to come. This wilderness area is southwest of Reno.
  • Camping
    With a number of campgrounds in the Carson Ranger District, you are sure to find one that fits your needs. Camping out in this wilderness area puts you right up close to all your adventures. Most campsites have fees of about $16 to $17 per night and are open from June to September. There is also dispersed camping available.

Fun Facts

Although the forest is a big attraction due to the outstanding recreational fun, animal and bird lovers come here for the wide diversity of wildlife. You may run across mountain lions, bobcats or black bears. For sure you’ll see mule deer, which are common in this region. There are many species of birds that inhabit these mountains.