Trail Water Sources

Before heading out onto the trail, it is important that you bring plenty of water. If you are spending more than one day on the trail, you will need to be prepared to filter your water. In order to filter water, you need to make sure there will be water sources available. Water sources are untreated and vary from year to year and month to month.Galena Falls

Echo Lake to Barker Pass:

  • Desolation Wilderness has plenty of water sources between Echo Lakes and Middle Velma Lake, including: Lake Aloha, Susie Lake, Gilmore Lake and Fontanillis Lake
  • After that, there is a 9 mile dry section until Richardson Lake
  • Small creek 2 miles south of Barker Pass

Barker Pass to Tahoe City:

  • Small stream just north of Barker Pass going north
  • 5 miles dry after Twin Peaks until Ward Creek
  • Truckee River .5 mile from Tahoe City South Trailhead

Tahoe City to Brockway Summit:

  • Dry except for Watson Lake (12 miles north of Tahoe City North Trailhead and 6.5 miles west of Brockway Summit Trailhead)
  • Seasonal stream 1 mile east of Watson Lake

Brockway Summit to Mt. Rose Hwy:

  • Brockway Summit is somewhat dry, especially after August. 
  • There are seasonal streams 2 - 4 miles east of Brockway Summit
  • There are seasonal streams and small lakes in the Mt. Rose Wilderness (Mud Lake, Grey Lake and Snow/Frog Pond)
  • There is a small spring east of Mud Lake on the south side of the trail
  • Galena Falls is a year round water source.

Mt. Rose Summit/Tahoe Meadows Trailhead to Spooner Summit:

  • Ophir Creek (2 creeks) 1 mile south of Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead
  • Twin Lakes (about 8 miles south of Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead, seasonal)
  • There is a year round water pump at Marlette Campground
  • Marlette Lake is 2 miles off the Tahoe Rim Trail. Take North Canyon Rd. from the TRT to access it. There is a seasonal stream that runs beside this road.
  • Near Spooner Summit North Trailhead, you can access Spooner Lake (<1 mile from the TRT)

Spooner Summit to Kingsbury Grade North:

  • Dry for 12 miles
  • Between Kingsbury Grade North and Kingsbury Grade South Trailheads you can find water at the fire station and at several stores along Tramway Drive (if you ask nicely...)

Kingsbury Grade South to Big Meadow Trailhead:

  • Seasonal streams within the second mile from Stagecoach Parking Lot
  • 8 miles to Star Lake
  • There is water off the TRT at Armstrong Pass. If you follow the access trail east from the TRT at Armstrong Pass, there is a stream within the first .3 miles. If that is dry, continue down the trail to Willow Creek.
  • There may be seasonal water in spring/early summer, in Freel Meadows
  • There is usually water in Saxon Creek. Follow the Saxon Creek Trail north from the TRT and you may find water as soon as Tucker Flat (.3 mile).

Big Meadow to Echo Lake:

  • Seasonal stream .5 miles south of the Big Meadow Trailhead
  • Trail passes Round Lake 3 miles from Big Meadow Trailhead.
  • Trail crosses Upper Truckee River in Meiss Meadows
  • Showers Lake
  • Seasonal streams in the next 3 miles from Showers Lake. (Caution - they may be dry...)
  • Seasonal streams between Bryan Meadow and Benwood Meadow. (Caution - they may be dry...)
  • Stream just north of Johnson Pass Rd.
  • Echo Lake