Meiss Country Roadless Area in California

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Meiss Country Roadless Area

The Meiss Country Roadless Area is a great place to come when visiting Lake Tahoe, so you can explore the cliffs, canyons, lakes and meadows by foot or horseback. Read More

  • Explore the popular Meiss Country Roadless Area to see cliffs, lakes and meadows
  • Not far from Lake Tahoe, making it the perfect side trip
  • Hike to Scotts, Round and Meiss Lakes
  • Catch some cutthroat trout in Round Lake
  • Take a swim in Meiss Lake
  • Camp out in Meiss Country


Meiss Country Roadless Area contains wilderness land that offers recreational opportunities for the whole family. Hiking, camping, horseback riding and fishing are just a few of the activities you can enjoy here. Only a short distance from Lake Tahoe, you can come to this roadless area for some unique adventures. The mountains, lakes and flower-filled meadows are only reachable by foot or horseback, meaning you are in for some interesting and scenic backcountry experiences.

Location & Information

This popular roadless area is located south of Lake Tahoe Basin between the Luther Pass on Highway 89 and Carson Pass on Highway 88. You can access the area from Highway 89 or Highway 88.

The Meiss Country Roadless Area is accessible year round.

Contact information:
U.S. Forest Service
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
35 College Drive
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
(530) 543-2600

U.S. Forest Service
North Shore Office
855 Alder Ave.
Incline Village, NV 89450
(775) 831-0914
Website: Meiss Country Roadless Area Forest Service


You can find trailheads for hiking on the northern boundary Luther Pass or south of Carson Pass. The six trails that cross the Meiss Country Roadless Area are:

  • Big Meadow Trail to Scotts Lake – an easy 2.5-mile hike
  • Big Meadow Trail to Round Lake – a moderate 2.7-mile hike
  • Big Meadow Trail to Dardanelles – a moderate 3.5-mile hike
  • Highway 88 to Meiss Lake – a moderate 4-mile hike
  • Highway 88 to Showers Lake – a moderate 5.1-mile hike
  • Pacific Crest Trail from Highway 88 to Highway 50 – a strenuous 13.4-mile hike

Test your angling skill in any of the backcountry lakes in Meiss Country (except fishing isn’t allowed in Meiss Lake). At Round Lake, go for some cutthroat trout. Most of the backcountry lakes support golden and rainbow trout.

Take a dip in either Meiss Lake or Round Lake for a refreshing break from you travels. There’s nothing like a mountain lake to relax you and get you ready for your next adventures.

Dispersed camping is permitted in Meiss Country, and no fees are required. It’s a great place to connect with nature and sleep out under the stars.

Fun Facts

Meiss Country Roadless Area is also known as the Dardanelles Roadless Area, and has over 14,000 acres set aside as a non-motorized recreation area. It’s popularly called Meiss Country after a local family of ranchers who built a cabin here in 1878. You can still visit this historic Meiss Cabin in the Upper Truckee Basin.