As Lake Tahoe’s popularity as a recreation destination continues to grow, traffic congestion and insufficient parking have become ongoing frustrations for both residents and visitors. Parking is a central issue that affects us all, and the Tahoe Basin has long-needed a holistic and fair approach in determining how parking is managed and provisioned. TTD is working to address these issues with a unified parking management strategy to help improve access to popular recreation destinations and make finding parking safer and easier. Since demand for parking regularly exceeds capacity, TTD is also working on solutions to reduce the number of vehicles in the Tahoe Basin. TTD’s goal is to connect parking and transit to a Basin-wide multi-modal transportation system that is safe, convenient, reliable, and sustainable.
Park Tahoe Program
The Park Tahoe pilot program for the Tahoe East Shore Trail is a new paid parking facility with 90 metered off-highway parking spaces located north of Ponderosa Ranch Road. Park Tahoe hourly paid parking begins Monday, July 27, 2020 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Please pack out your trash, pick up after your dog, and remember bridges can be hot to pup’s paws. Also remember to maintain social distancing!
Please scroll down to view the Frequently Asked Questions.
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Hourly paid parking is enforced 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, 7 days a week. Parking is free from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.; peak times are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the summer. Overnight parking or camping is prohibited in the parking facilities.
We encourage you to Come Early or Come Late and Pay a Lower Rate! Hours and rates are subject to change with advanced notice. The parking facilities are accessible most of the year. Due to water quality improvements associated with the lots, they will not be accessible during winter when heavy snowpack may occur.
We encourage you to Come Early or Come Late and Pay a Lower Rate!
Hourly rates vary with the highest cost per hour being during peak mid-day times and holiday weekends. Weekday rates are less than weekend rates and parking is free before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. daily.
The mid-day hourly rates range from $5 to $6 on holiday weekends (Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day) and Peak Summer (June 15 through August 16).
Weekday hourly rates range from $1 to $4.50. On weekends, the hourly rates range from $1 to $5.
Typically, people who visit the area stay three to four hours. The parking program incentivizes people to use the parking lots in the mornings, evenings, and non-summer periods by offering a lower rate during those times.
Please visit TahoeTransportation.org/Parking-Rates/ for the entire rate structure.
Remember: “Come early. Come late. Pay a Lower Rate.”
Parking pay stations accept CREDIT CARDS ONLY. Park your car and walk to the nearest pay station indicated by the Park Tahoe sign; follow the instructions. (If you do not have a credit card, prepaid credit cards are available for purchase at local grocery stores.)
- Enter license plate number when prompted on the screen (no state required). Plan to take a photo of your license plate number with your cell phone to remember it when at the pay station.
- If you have no license plate, enter the last four digits of the vehicle identification number (VIN).
- If you have a license plate with stacked letters or special symbols, enter only the full-size numbers and letters. Special symbols and spaces should not be entered.
- You can use any pay station in the lots. There is also a pay station located at the start of the trail. Just look for the Park Tahoe sign.
During most summers, you can take transit to the trail with complementary parking available at the old Incline elementary school on Southwood Blvd., just off Tahoe Blvd. (SR 28). People can park and ride the East Shore Express to the Tahoe East Shore Trail trailhead. The East Shore Express also stops Sand Harbor State Park and Hidden Beach.
In the spirit of social distancing, East Shore Express service is suspended for the Summer 2020 season and not operating this year at this park-n-ride location due to COVID-19. TTD plans to have the East Shore Express running again in 2021.
Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transportation (TART) also operates a summer bus service along the north shore of Tahoe to the Tahoe East Shore Trail trailhead. TTD and TART transit services are currently free to ride for all passengers. For more information on TART services, explore their site here.
We recommend arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon to park at the new Park Tahoe paid parking facility, as parking spots fill quickly—especially during the summer and on weekends!
TTD has been working with project partners to expand the parking in this area and has applied for federal design and construction grants. Additionally, there are plans to extend the the Tahoe East Shore Trail south of Sand Harbor to Highway 50 and provide new and expanded parking facilities, transit stops, and a park-and-ride lot as the next eight miles of the Tahoe East Shore Trail are being constructed south of Sand Harbor.
Please note that Sand Harbor has flashing signs on SR 28 and US 50 advising when parking lots are full.
It is best to “Come early. Come late. Pay a lower rate!”
Why were new parking facilities built along SR 28/Tahoe Blvd. near Ponderosa Ranch Road in Incline Village?
Ninety new off-highway parking spots were completed last year near Ponderosa Ranch Road and State Route 28 (SR 28) to provide safer recreational access to the SR 28 Corridor and the Tahoe East Shore Trail. By providing off-highway parking alternatives, transit connections, and a path for pedestrians and bicyclists, motorists can more safely travel along the east shore and reducing congestion allows emergency vehicles easier access along the SR 28 Corridor.
With less vehicles idling due to recreation congestion and highway shoulder parking moving to off-highway parking, the reduced erosion and emissions will improve the environment. Transportation system improvements are critical to protecting Lake Tahoe’s air and water quality because more than 70 percent of the pollutants impacting the lake’s clarity come from the transportation system and built environment.
Parking fees will support annual and long-term operations and maintenance of the parking facilities and the Tahoe East Shore Trail. The revenue is placed in a restricted fund administered by the TTD on behalf of the project partners. The East Shore Corridor Management Team, made up of the operating agencies in the corridor, will review the revenues and make budget recommendations to the TTD Board. The revenue and expense budget information is public information. The public is encouraged to attend the annual budget meeting of the TTD Board.
The Park Tahoe paid parking pilot program is one part of a comprehensive effort to develop a unified parking management strategy for the Lake Tahoe Region. As technology advances and parking facilities expand, plans are in place to add features, such as mobile application access.
The card reader may take several seconds to process the transaction. If you have trouble, there are three other meters available in the parking lots that you may pay at.
During peak times, an onsite parking ambassador will be available to help answer questions and ensure a seamless experience for the remainder of the summer season.
Please contact Washoe 311 or Nevada State Parks at 775-831-0494.
How can I find places to park and connections to transit before visiting the Tahoe East Shore Trail?
Visit TahoeTrail.org for more information about parking at the Tahoe East Shore Trail.