Tow away signs approved for Cave Rock Drive |

Tow away signs approved for Cave Rock Drive

Staff Reports

Watching a romantic sunset from the top of the Cave Rock trailhead is popular with Lake Tahoe hikers, but getting a not-so romantic $500 citation and trying to track down a towed vehicle could easily ruin the mood.

Douglas County commissioners last week approved installing tow away signs after being enlisted to help the Cave Rock General Improvement and Tahoe Douglas Fire districts reduce the number of vehicles overflowing from the trailhead onto Cave Rock Drive.

There’s only room for nine vehicles in the legal parking lot at the trailhead.

Tahoe Douglas Fire Marshal Eric Guevin said that most of time that’s plenty, but around sunset, there can be up to three times that number parked along the hairpin road.

The additional vehicles prevent fire apparatus from reaching the 65-70 homes above the trailhead parking.

Guevin said legal parking has been designated and the no parking zone painted, but that firefighters have had to issue warnings and citations to scofflaws.

“We go up a bunch of times and there’s no vehicles, then sunset comes … and people go up to watch the sunset and we have 30 cars parked up there,” Guevin said.

Cave Rock district chairman Ralph Miller said that Cave Rock is one of the top five recommendations on travel websites. He said the web sites recommend visitors ignore the no parking signs because they’re not enforced.

“In the summer, it’s not uncommon to have up to 20 vehicles parked right at the neck of that hairpin turn,” he said. “We support the importance of visiting this not only this very impressive view, but the sacred site. Parking is simply an issue.”

Miller said the district has been posting to tourist websites about the parking limitations at the trailhead and will continue to do so in an effort to educate visitors.

Miller said the district will pay for the signs.