Update: - This article is outdated. Marlette-Hobart Backcountry is now known as Spooner Backcountry. For updated and current information, refer to my article "Spooner Backcountry in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park."
Quick Look at Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
Even though Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park is administered as a single unit of the park system, it encompasses two recreational areas that are quite different from each other - Sand Harbor and the Marlette-Hobart Backcountry. Taken together, they make Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, one of the most unique and diverse among Nevada's 24 state parks.
This backcountry area encompasses the Marlette Lake Water System, which was developed during the Comstock silver boom to supply water to the towns and mines at Virginia City and Gold Hill. Today, Marlette Lake, Hobart Lake, and a system of flumes and pipelines continue to perform their water delivery function for Virginia City, Gold Hill, Silver City, and parts of Carson City.
What to See and Do in the Backcountry
Visitor Information: The Marlette-Hobart Backcountry is loaded with recreational opportunities, including a system of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, picknicking, fishing, a group use area, hike in/bike in camping, cross country skiing in winter, and hunting in accordance with Nevada Department of Wildlife regulations. Pets are permitted in this 13,000 acre unit of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.
There is an entrance fee at the main parking area by Spooner Lake, with a $2 discount for Nevada residents. Spooner Lake is the main trailhead for hiking and biking trips into the backcountry. Fees are subject to change, so check the Nevada State Parks Fee Schedule for the latest information.
Trail System: The main claim to fame for the Marlette-Hobart Backcountry is an extensive trail system that can accommodate hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. One of the most popular hiking trails goes from Spooner Lake to Marlette Lake. On a parallel route is the famous Flume Trail for mountain bikers. This setup separates hikers and bikers, giving each group space to enjoy their sport without conflict. A 13 mile section of the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) runs through this part of the park.
Note that some stretches of the TRT are closed to bikes. For a map and more information about the trail system, refer to the official Marlette-Hobart Backcountry brochure.
Fishing: Fishing is permitted in Marlette Lake, Spooner Lake, and Hobart Reservoir. Different seasons and catch rules apply for each body of water. Refer to the Marlette-Hobart Backcountry website for details. You'll also need a valid Nevada fishing license.
Camping: There are three free developed campgrounds in the Marlette-Hobart Backcountry - Marlette Peak, Hobart, and North Canyon. Camping is not permitted anywhere else within the park. Each campground has a toilet, four or five camp sites, fire rings, and bear resistant food and trash storage boxes. There really are bears, so use the boxes and pack out food and trash when you leave.
Spooner Outdoor Company
Spooner Lake Outdoor Company is a park concessionaire that operates at Spooner Lake. Services offered include summer season mountain bike rentals and shuttles, cross country skiing in winter, and year-round overnight accommodations in backcountry cabins.
How to Get to Marlette-Hobart Backcountry
The main trailhead and parking area is at Spooner Lake, near the corner of highway U.S. 50 and Nevada 28. If you are coming from Reno, follow the directions in my Sand Harbor article, then continue south on Nevada 28 to the parking area at Spooner Lake. If you reach highway 50, you went too far. From Carson City, take U.S. 50 up the hill toward Lake Tahoe. Just past the summit, turn right on Nevada 28 and look for the entrance to the Spooner Lake parking area. You'll see Spooner Lake on the north side of highway 50 just before the intersection.
Links to More Information about the Marlette-Hobart Backcountry
More Nevada State Parks
Lake Tahoe Nevada is only one of Nevada's great state parks. Check out the Map of State Parks page to see where more parks are throughout the Silver State. You can also visit the Nevada State Parks Facebook page to get additional information.