Independence Lake sits about 15 miles north of Truckee in the shadow of the 9,148-foot Mount Lola. The lake is now managed by the Nevada chapter of The Nature Conservancy, which acquired the land around the lake in 2010. The Lahontan cutthroat trout calls these waters home, and Independence Lake is one of only two lakes in the world with a wild population of this fish.
The preserve itself has hiking trails, picnic tables, and allows fishing year round on a day use basis from sunrise to sunset.
In order to preserve the biodiversity of the lake and surrounding area, the preserve has a strict rule against any outside rafts, tubes, kayaks or watercraft being permitted into the lake. However, the preserve owns several kayaks and float tubes that are available to the public for free use during open hours from June to October. Three small motorboats are also available for free use, but they are only allowed in the water on alternating weeks during the June to October period.
Access to the preserve requires the final 5 miles to be driven over a rough dirt road. High-clearance vehicles are strongly recommended for those looking to make the visit.