Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Martis Creek Lake is an often overlooked small park and day use area with minimal development. The area is part of a larger wildlife management area that includes hiking and bicycling trails.

Nestled between the more popular areas of Lake Tahoe and the town of Truckee, Martis Creek Lake Is a reservoir formed by an Army Corps of Engineers-built dam. Butted up against the base of the mountains just behind the Truckee Airport, the lake is a quiet area where you can swim, paddle, or fish along the calm grassy banks. Below views of the Northstar Ski Resort mountain and slopes, The area is popular for birdwatching, as many species nest and drink from the wetlands at the lake's edge and a variety of animal are present in the area.

While at normal summer levels, the lake typically covers and area of about 70 acres, however at the dam's full capacity, the water can rise to cover over 10 times that. At usual, it's a small shallow body of water that attracts those looking for a quiet escape during the area's tourist season, or child friendly fishing and wading. 

Boating is restricted to non-motorized craft. There are a few covered picnic tables and vault toilets around, but that is the extent of the area's development. There is also no natural shade. The lake is a self-sustaining trout fishery, and all trout caught must be released back into the water.

Martis Creek Lake is open from the last Saturday in April until November 15th annually, and closes for the winter. Day use hours are dawn until dusk.

An equally off-the-beaten-path feature is the adjacent Alpine Meadow Campground that sits along the road into the lake area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round


Open from

April 24 to November 15


An escape from the more crowded areas nearby.


No shade. Closes seasonally.


Vault toilet
Big vistas
Family friendly
Picnic tables
Near lake or river


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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