North Canyon Creek


Difficulty 1 Beginner
Length 2.1 miles round trip
7050 feet
+150, -150 round trip
Navigation Road and map
Time Several hours
Season Mid-December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Glenbrook
Start Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the east side of Highway 28, 0.7 mile north of Spooner Junction. After passing by the entrance station, keep right and park near the restroom. A fee is charged for parking.


The Spooner Lake area is a perfect place for beginners to start their ski touring career. Two beginner tours, North Canyon Creek and Spooner Lake, give novices a place to practice basic ski techniques on easy to ski terrain. The North Canyon Creek tour, described here, is also the beginning of the intermediate tour to Marlette Lake.

Image of skier on meadow near Spooner Lake
Easy skiing across meadows

The Spooner Lake area was open to the public in winter for the price of parking up until 1985. There were even markers denoting points along the trails (roads) in the area.

In 1985 Nevada State Parks gave a concession to Spooner Lake Cross Country to operate on the Spooner Lake park lands and it became a fee for use area. The concessionaire rented equipment, gave lessons and offered two beautiful Scandinavian style hand-hewn log cabins for rent.

But after 27 years of operation, Spooner Lake Cross Country is closed for the 2012-2013 winter season and there are no current plans to re-open. The cause of the closure was rising costs and uncertainty about snow conditions that the previous year resulted in only being open for 30 days.

As a result, beginning with the 2012-2013 winter season, the park is again open to the public for the price of parking.

Mileage Log

Numbers in parentheses correspond to mileage points on map. A waypoint is provided for each mileage point and the number is the same.

Miles: 0.0 - 0.1
Elevation change: -50 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski northeast for 0.1 mile until you reach a road (2). The point you want is a short distance to the west of the dam on Spooner Lake and on the south side of a narrow clearing that connects the large meadow to the west with Spooner Lake to the east.

Miles: 0.1 - 0.7
Elevation change: +50 feet

Ski north across the narrow clearing, locate a road heading north, and continue skiing north on the road through woods for a total of 0.6 mile until you reach an old cabin (3).

Miles: 0.7 - 0.9
Elevation change: +50 feet

Continue skiing north on the road for 0.2 mile until you reach the place where you cross North Canyon Creek (4). You will find sign at this location that denotes the point at which a previously groomed trail turned south while the trail to Marlette Lake continued north.

Miles: 0.9 - 1.4
Elevation change: -100 feet

Turn south and ski south and then southwest for 0.5 mile through sparse trees until you reach a large meadow (5). In this section you may see some blue diamond markers from the previously groomed trail.

Miles: 1.4 - 1.7
Elevation change: Nil

Ski south across the meadow for 0.3 until you intersect a road (6).

Image of scenery near Spooner Lake
On way back to trailhead

Miles: 1.7 - 2.0
Elevation change: Nil

Ski east on the road for 0.3 mile until you reach the location from which you headed north originally (2).

Miles: 2.0 - 2.1
Elevation change: +50 feet

Retrace the route for 0.1 mile back to the trailhead (1).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour