Support Great Basin Institute in Serving Public Lands in the West

Taylor Creek Visitor Center lookout at Mt. Tallac


The Taylor Creek Visitor Center staff is knowledgeable in area information and can assist with your recreation planning. On-site staff consists of a mix of local volunteers, Forest Service and Great Basin Institute employees. Many have lived and worked in the Tahoe Basin for decades and love to share their insights with visitors.

The visitor center building interior is small, yet offers interpretative displays and exhibits, as well as a gift shop. The visitor center cannot make any campground reservations or sell annual beach parking passes, however staff can call and check availability for campers.

Click on the site map above to enlarge!

2024 OPENING DAY Friday, MAY 31

Hours of operation

May 31 – October 27
8:00am – 4:00pm


The Visitor Center parking has ample space with RV and trailer capacity. Parking is free and is generally accessible from May to mid-November. No overnight parking or camping is permitted.


Bathrooms are also available, during hours of operation.


Visitors are welcomed to make purchases in the gift shop during hours of operation. Available items include outdoor gear and apparel, maps, Lake Tahoe souvenirs and gifts, as well as pre-packaged snack foods. Guide books and Smokey Bear swag are TCVC gift shop staples.


Currently, public wifi is not available and cell phone service is unreliable, especially around the visitor center patio. For best reception, head towards the lakeshore or towards Highway 89. If necessary, visitor center staff can make a phone call on your behalf.


The amphitheater is a picturesque space for outdoor events and programming. During July and August, free evening programs are held here, on topics such as resident wildlife, Tahoe folklore, and astronomy. With more than 30 benches and additional lawn seating, the amphitheater comfortably accommodates 200+ guests and is ADA accessible. This facility may also be used for informal public recreation, such as picnicking or stargazing.

Large groups and organizations may request to reserve the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater as a day or evening event space. Reservation fee is dependent on type of usage and event duration, with a minimum pricing of $100. Certain event activities are not permitted at Taylor Creek.

For more information, or to reserve a date, please contact Erin Gavlock, Visitor Center Administrator, or call 530-543-2674.

Lake of the Sky Amphitheater at Taylor Creek Visitor Center at dusk
Young boy watching fish with hands on glass of the stream chamber at Taylor Creek Visitor Center


First opened in the late 1960s, the Stream Profile Chamber provides a unique, educational experience within the Tahoe Basin. Built adjacent to the creek, water was diverted to fill a pond for wildlife viewing. Visitors walk underground to see a profile of the creek, creating a natural aquarium effect. Animals such as beavers, bullfrogs, rainbow trout and Kokanee salmon can all be viewed at certain times of the year, not to mention a diversity of waterfowl.

Unfortunately, due to vandalism, the Stream Profile Chamber has not been open much in the last five years. The chamber glass has been broken on two occasions, resulting in expensive and difficult repairs. The chamber is set to reopen in 2024.

Bear Canister Rentals

Bear canisters are available for rent from June to October. Visitors pay a usage fee, in addition to a refundable deposit. Bear canisters are mandatory for all overnight back country trips into Desolation Wilderness, per Forest Service mandate. All canisters are 10 liters and suitable for most overnight trips and party sizes. Canisters are first come first served!

2024 Usage Fees

1-3 Days – $5
4-7 Days – $10
7+ Days – $15